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Reading

In our school reading has a high profile and there are daily reading opportunities for the children to develop their curiosity and love for reading. “I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” J.K. Rowling” In our Ofsted report it stated ‘Reading is a vital part of our school and the  curriculum captures pupils’ interest and creates an appetite for reading’

How do we promote a love for reading?

The love of reading is promoted in a variety of ways.

  • Whole school reading weeks. (These are usually themed. Last year the focus was on bedtime stories and all the children came to school in their pyjamas. The teachers put on a pantomime with characters from their favourite books).
  • Class library sessions
  • Reading buddies (This is proven to increase engagement for reading).
  • Author focus for each half term (This is communicated with parents each half term to encourage children to visit their local library’s to find books written by popular children's authors).
  • Classroom reading areas (Children select books from our school library so they are regularly rotated and children gain ownership over the books in their classroom).
  • Story boxes in story times. (Texts are carefully selected to expose children to rich vocabulary and a love of early literature)
  • Story telling chairs to promote children to tell their own stories.
  • Philosophy for children is often driven by a book. (This is where children discuss the ‘big ideas’ in books and debate topical issues about the world).

Teaching reading fluency

Early years

Our approach to teaching reading is phonics first. We follow the `Letters and Sounds’ program using the kinaesthetic method as developed in ‘Jolly Phonics.’ The children initially learn the most common 44 sound/symbol relationships, with the emphasis on teaching and learning ‘pure’ sounds (e.g. to say ‘t’ and not ‘tuh’).  Most children learn sounds rapidly and are taught to blend ‘all through the word’ in order to read phonetic text. All books used in Year R and through majority of Year 1 contain fully decodable text to enable children to practise blending words regularly. Children in the early stages of reading also learn the tricky words which need to be learnt by sight. Children will have opportunities to read daily and in the summer term are introduced to guided reading where they read and discuss books in small group.

Key Stage 1

When children enter year 1, they revisit the digraphs they have learnt from early years and learn to read real and monster words with these digraphs. e.g. train is a real word and yain is a monster word. They then learn alternative ways to spell the sounds they have learnt. E.g. /ay/ is another way to spell the ai sound. Children continue to read daily in phonics sessions and in guided groups. They will continue to progress through the colours as their phonic knowledge increases. The books they read are fully decodable so they should not encounter words with sounds they have not learnt yet. They learn alternative ways to pronounce digraphs, e.g. head and team. Some more able readers will progress to trickier books which are not fully decodable.  In year 2 the children begin reading in guided groups. In the spring term most children will do ‘whole class’ reading activities. As children develop fluency and confidence they are taught to use a wider range of strategies as they read. Children recognise many common exception words by sight, they learn to word build using further phonic knowledge, to use context and grammatical cues to predict text, to self-correct, to scan and to read ahead. They read words with more than 3 syllables containing suffixes, e.g. excitement. In our ofsted report it was found ‘Pupils achieve well and almost all leave our school as capable readers’.

Please see the phonics book below to help with the terminology we use with the children.

Phonics Vocabulary book

How often do our children read?

Children read daily in phonics sessions and guided/whole class reading sessions. Teachers will communicate a more detailed target twice each half term via MME to see if they are ready for the next colour. These coloured books will then be made available via the online reading library.

How do we teach reading comprehension?

The children are introduced to characters which represent the reading domains: predicting, inferring, retrieving, vocabulary, sequencing and summarising information. These skills will be taught in reading sessions and children will have the opportunity to practise these skills in guided reading sessions and when reading independently.

Please see the comprehension sheet below to find out more information about the reading domains and how we use the different dogs.

Reading comprehension dogs 

How do we challenge our more able readers?

More advanced readers will be expected to draw on their knowledge of a range of books to discuss links between different authors These children have opportunities to make choices about their reading material and to discuss personal preferences. They will progress to chapter books by the end of key Stage 1.

How do we support our less able readers?

Children who find reading trickier, are carefully tracked by class teachers and our school leadership team. Parents are informed of concerns quickly and supported with tips to help at home. Intervention is put into place quickly if children fall behind. This may be an additional read with the teaching assistant/ teacher or an intervention may be put into place depending on the child’s need. This may include precision teaching of specific words/ sounds, paired reading or supporting with comprehension text through language support. If these interventions are not supporting the child, we use ‘Bearing Away’ which is a great programme to help children blend. We have had great success with this with many children over the years.  In our Ofsted report it was found 'staff spot any children who start to slip behind and help them to catch up quickly'. 

How to support your child at home with their reading

To support your child's reading at home, they now have access to an online reading library of books which can be accessed on all technical devices. These ebooks are an exact colour match to the books we use in school. This means the words in these ebooks, will contain the sounds and tricky words they are working on in class. This will enable children to consolidate their learning from school at home. Please see the reading letter on our COVID home page with more information about how our exciting online library works. Teachers will also send home lists of tricky words each half term for you to help your child to read by sight. Please see ideas for tricky word activities later down the page. 

Reading colour system

In year R, our children will begin by reading picture books which are lilac colour books. We recommend discussing what is happening in the story and how they think the characters are feeling, building up their comprehension skills and love of reading. When teachers feel they are ready, they will progress to simple decoding books. These are Pink 1 books on our colour sequence. This is done on a 1: 1 basis based on the child’s confidence, comprehension and sound recognition. Throughout the year, when the teacher feels they are ready, they will continue to progress through the colours. Remember children progress at different times and rates so please try not to compare your child against their peers. By the end of year R an expected child should reach red 2/ yellow, in year 1 an expected child should reach green/ orange and in year 2 an expected child should reach gold.

Please see the reading colour sequence sheet to show the progression.

Reading colour sequence 

Please also see more specific targets you can work on with your child as they progress through the colours.

Colour sequence targets 

Other resources to help

What books could I read with my child?

Please find below suggested book lists for each year group. If your child reads a good book we would love to hear about it! You may want to tick off the books you read. How many can you find in your library? How many are on the Internet as story books?

Year R

Year 1 

Year 2 

How can I help my child to read tricky words?

There are lots of fun ways to help your children to read and spell the tricky words and common exception words. You might want to try different ways to see what they enjoy doing at home. 

Tricky word activities