What do I need to know? – GovernorHelp analyses the updated DfE Reading Framework – PART 3


In the final part of this three part article, GovernorHelp concludes its analysis of the DfE Reading framework and suggests key questions school governors should ask about the framework their school is using and their approach to reading.

Supporting Pupils’ Reading in Key Stage 3

Transition from Primary to Secondary School: The transition from primary to secondary school is an important step in pupils’ reading development. It is a period of vulnerability and challenge, especially for struggling readers. The most important task, especially at transition, is to identify the pupils whose reading is poor and who, as a result, have negative attitudes towards school. Every key stage 3 teacher must know who these pupils are and take action to support their reading during their lessons.

Understanding How Poor Readers Struggle: The framework helps secondary teachers understand how poor readers struggle and shows how they should be identified and supported immediately. It also helps secondary teachers understand the complexity of teaching pupils to read, including implications for subject-specific reading.

Teaching Fluent Word Reading: To teach fluent word reading successfully, secondary teachers need to understand how both good word reading (decoding) and good language comprehension are fundamental to becoming a reader. The framework provides sections designed to help teachers understand the principles and practice of teaching pupils to read.

Understanding What a Skilled Reader Can Do: For fluent adult readers, reading happens unconsciously. The more pupils read, the greater their knowledge and understanding of the world, the more words they know, and the more they understand how texts work.


The Reading Framework provides a comprehensive guide to teaching and promoting reading in schools. It is an important resource for school governors, as it offers a detailed understanding of the strategies, methodologies, and principles that underpin effective reading instruction and the promotion of a reading culture within a school.

GovernorHelp thinks that as school governors, understanding this framework is crucial. It provides the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions and provide effective oversight of the school’s reading initiatives. It also enables governors to ask pertinent questions of the school leadership team, ensuring that the school’s approach aligns with the best practices outlined in the framework.

The Reading Framework emphasises the importance of reading for pleasure, the development of language comprehension and word reading skills, the need for targeted support for struggling readers, and the role of reading across the curriculum. It also highlights the importance of leadership in promoting a reading culture and the need for ongoing assessments to track progress.

Understanding these key points can help governors ensure that their schools are providing all pupils with the opportunity to become confident, keen readers who can access the full curriculum and develop a lifelong love of reading. This is not only crucial for academic success but also for personal development, as reading broadens horizons, fosters empathy, and equips pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate the world.

The Reading Framework is not just a guide for teaching reading – it is a roadmap to fostering a love of reading and learning in pupils, and as such, it is an essential tool for all school governors. By understanding and applying the principles of the Reading Framework, governors can play a pivotal role in shaping a school culture that values and promotes reading, ultimately contributing to the academic success and personal growth of all pupils.

Key Questions for School Governors

Reading Culture: How are we promoting a culture of reading for pleasure within our school, and what strategies are we using to motivate pupils to read widely and often?

Phonics Instruction: How is systematic synthetic phonics being taught in Reception and Key Stage 1, and how are we ensuring fidelity to the programme?

Support for Struggling Readers: How are we identifying and supporting pupils who are struggling with reading? What additional support mechanisms are in place for these pupils?

Reading Across the Curriculum: How are we integrating reading into all subject areas, and how are we ensuring that pupils are developing the necessary reading skills to access the full curriculum?

Book Selection and Organisation: How are we selecting and organising books to support pupils’ reading development and promote a love of reading?

Teaching Reading in English Lessons: How are we teaching reading in English lessons, and how are we combining explicit instruction, teacher modelling, and discussion to support pupils’ reading development?

National Assessments: How are we using national assessments to track pupils’ reading progress, and how are we using this data to inform our teaching practices?

Leadership and Management of Reading: How are we, as school leaders, promoting a reading culture within our school, and how are we building a team of expert teachers to support pupils’ reading development?

Support in Key Stage 3: How are we supporting pupils’ reading in Key Stage 3, particularly those who are struggling with reading?

Parental Engagement: How are we engaging parents and families in supporting their children’s reading development, and what resources are we providing to help them support their children at home?

Read the full report

You can view the full DfE Reading Framework here

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