The aim of the Project READ website is to support collaboration between schools in our joint endeavour to improve reading outcomes for Derbyshire pupils. A huge 'Thank you!' to all who have contributed case studies. Use the case studies as a starting point to reflect on practice in your school with colleagues. Explore the 'Useful Links' tab for research, resources and continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities. The password to view the video clips is projectread

'Making sense of what we read' in Year 1 and Year 5 at Calow Primary School

About our school

Calow Primary School has approximately 200 pupils on roll from 3 - 11. Over the past 2 years we have been developing our approach to reading and moved to a whole class shared approach with a strong focus on Active Reading Strategies, Vocabulary and timely assessment for learning (AfL) to ensure the best progress for our learners. 


Calow Primary School has made the most of Project READ opportunities to develop the explicit teaching of comprehension strategies so learners strive to make sense of what they read. For more details, see our leadership case study in the Comprehension tab.


These clips were filmed during one morning session. 


The first three film clips show highlights from a Year 1 lesson.

Clip 1: Introduction-Year 1  A challenging text enables Year 1 learners to practise active reading skills with the teacher. Today, they practise 'I stopped reading when I stopped understanding.' 

Clip 2: Independent learners-Year 1 These learners are working independently to read a description of an animal and draw an accurate picture, using details from the text.

Clip 3: A new word-Year 1 In the whole class session, the children identify that they do not understand the phrase 'endangered animal'. Bryony encourages the class to work together to make sense of the word. In a group activity, Bryony makes the most of an opportunity to use the word again. To learn a new word, we need to hear it multiple times in multiple contexts and 'have a go' at using it. The learner who joins in when Bryony prompts for 'endangered' has started the process of becoming familiar with its sound, how to use it and what it means. He will need to hear it and use it lots more times to 'know' it well - but he's on the way!

The next two clips show highlights from the beginning of a Year 5 lesson.

Clip 4: Developing metacognition-Year 5 At the beginning of this session, Year 5 learners offer strategies they can use to help them clarify meaning. Their contributions show they are able to talk about how to be active readers.

Clip 5: Highlighting words-Year 5 After reading the poem together and independently, Bryony gives the learners time to highlight words they need to clarify. They collect them together. The learners are becoming active readers, aware that they need to work hard to make sense of this challenging poem.


As the clips demonstrate, our learners are developing independent strategies to monitor their comprehension. 

Next steps

We will continue to embed the teaching of comprehension strategies throughout the curriculum and throughout school, alongside the explicit and systematic teaching of vocabulary.


Bryony Franklin, English Co-ordinator, Calow Primary School

Additional information

Would you like to take part in an English leadership project in your school? Project Comprehension EYFS-Year 6 and Project Vocabulary EYFS - Year 6 are collaborative CPD opportunities available to primary school clusters in Derbyshire. They build on the robust foundations of Project READ. They will enable schools not involved in the original project to participate in similar, collaborative school improvement projects. Participating schools work in partnership with Derbyshire's Teaching, Learning and Assessment Consultants and with Specialist Leaders of Education from Derbyshire's Teaching Schools. Contact for more information.

1.Introduction-Y1. Password for all clips: projectread
2.Independent learners-Y1
3.A new word-Y1
4.Developing metacognition-Y5
5.Highlighting words-Y5
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