Reading – Deep Dive Questions

Below is a list of questions OFSTED may ask your literacy or reading lead, as well as pupils and class teachers. This list has been formulated based on what I think they might ask in line with the new framework and what other teachers have reported from their inspections under the new framework. There may be repetition among them as there is a lot of overlap and some may be rewording of others.

NB: It is not set in stone that they will ask these specific questions. This is all guesswork, but it is a guideline for you to help you prepare for a deep dive into reading.

General questions for subject leaders:

  • How do you make sure early reading is a priority?
  • How often do teachers read to children? And for how long?
  • How do you make sure that when teachers are reading it is engaging for children? How do you support teachers in doing this?
  • How do you pick the books that children read? Are they linked to topics? Age-appropriate?
  • How do you help parents to foster a love of reading at home?
  • How do you ensure children are fluent and accurate readers? What about in key stage 2?
  • How do you ensure children’s books that you use help children to practise the sounds they have learnt?
  • How do you improve children’s reading fluency?
  • What books do children take home? Do they pick or do you pick? If you pick, how do you choose them?
  • How often do children change these books? Do they get to change them independently?
  • Do parents get involved with children reading these books at home? How do you know?
  • What is your action plan for developing reading this year? What are you trying to improve upon?
  • How do you make sure children have a love for reading? In class and at home?
  • What do you do to engage children in reading?
  • With older children, how do you know they are reading at home?
  • If parents can’t read themselves, how are you supporting them to help their child read at home?
  • How are the lowest 20% supported with reading?
  • How is reading taught in key stage 2?
  • What whole school reading policies do you have? Is sending reading books home a whole school thing? Is there reading homework? How often?

Questions around phonics:

  • Phonics check – if your results are good, how are you achieving that? If they need improvement, what do you plan on doing to make results better?
  • What is your termly plan for what you want children to know with phonics leading up to the screening check? What about afterwards in Year 2? Year 3?
  • How much time do children spend learning phonics?
  • When do you start teaching phonics? Why then?
  • How many sounds will your children know by the end of the term? Do you have an outline/plan for this?
  • Think about where we are in the year now – Where are the children up to? Which children are not at this point? Why? What are you doing to remedy this? Can you show me what they know? (read with children here potentially).
  • What images and movements do you use to convey the sounds, digraphs etc?
  • How do you know which children are not on track? How do you assess? How regularly?
  • What support is in place for these children to catch up?
  • How do you ensure children build strong phonics knowledge?
  • Are your KS2 teachers phonics trained? How are they supported to use phonics in their teaching?


  • What is your favourite book you’ve read at school this year?
  • What books have you taken home? How often do you take them home?
  • Does your teacher read aloud to you? When? How much?
  • Do your parents read with you? Do you parents know you have reading books that you take home?
  • Do you enjoy story time?
  • Do you read in other subjects?

Hope this of use.


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