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Thornton Dale C of E Primary School

Proud to be part Elevate MAT

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01751 474 345

Castle Close, Thornton Dale, Pickering. YO18 7TW

Mrs Nikkie Beniams

Be Kind, be brave, believe

We promote a love of reading right from the start of school, immersing children in high quality texts that inspire and engage the children. Children in Early Years are exposed to a wide variety of texts that are handpicked to suit the children's interests and natural curiosity. 

Storytelling is of high value in Early Years and staff share picture books, songs and poems with the children daily. Storytelling is also promoted through a wide variety of open-ended resources in the classroom. Children use material, loose parts and other found objects to represent familiar stories and stories that they have created themselves.

In Key Stage One and Key Stage 2, this love of reading continues and is modelled by the staff also. The skill of reading is also developed through these year groups through Whole Class Reading.

The intent behind our approach to Whole Reading is to:

  • promote a love for reading
  • expand pupils' vocabulary and deepen their understanding of the texts they are reading by doing this close the ‘word gap’ by expanding pupils' vocabulary and deepen their understanding of the texts they are reading
  • ensure that every child learns to read to a high standard of fluency and understanding, regardless of their background, needs or prior attainment
  • Close the ‘word gap’ by expanding pupils' vocabulary and deepen their understanding of the texts they are reading 
  • provide children with a wide ‘reading diet’ so that they become well rounded reader 

Reading is implemented through a holistic approach, whereby children are reading across the curriculum.  Children read every day, with the opportunity to read individually, in pairs and in small groups as part of a whole class session For three days of the week, teachers focus on the class novel/core text. Within these sessions children will be retrieving, inferring, predicting, summarising and developing their understanding on vocabulary. For the remaining two days, teachers will expose children to a wide reading diet through selecting different genres. This sequence of learning enables the children to build on their prior knowledge as the theme of the rounded reader days will often be linked to the core text/learning mission. For pleasure, throughout the week there are also many opportunities for teachers to model reading sections of the book to the children which gives the children opportunity to understand what is being read as well listen to excellent use of expression and intonation. Children then have opportunity to read individually, in pairs and in small groups, completing challenges linked to each section.

When teaching reading for pleasure in KS1 we have storytelling time for 20 minutes at least 4 x a week. Being exposed to storytelling allows children to be confident with vocabulary acquisition and understand the technical structure of stories. Similarly within KS2 we have daily reading aloud for 15 minutes. This is where the teacher will read a complementary text to their class and develop a real love for reading. In addition to this we also have DEAR (drop everything and read). This is where for 30 minutes every week children will either bring a book in from home or choose a book from the library and read with a peer or independently in our lovely reading areas.

The impact of our approach to Reading is that children are excited to read and frequently recommend and talk about their favourite authors and texts. Impact is measured through outcomes, nationally reported at Early Years, End of KS1 and End of KS2 data. 

 Along with this, impact is measured through the school’s assessment systems, which include: 

  • Classroom Monitor judgements 
  • Termly PIRA assessments


All teachers have the highest expectation that children will become proficient readers by the end of Key Stage 1 through our systematic, consistent implementation of our chosen phonic programme.  

The intent behind our phonics approach is to: 

  • Deliver a high-quality systematic synthetic phonics programme of proven effectiveness is followed with rigour and fidelity so that children are taught consistently to use phonics as the route to reading unknown words. 
  • Ensure pace of the phonics programme is maintained so that children become fluent, independent readers by the end of year 1.  
  • Ensure children’s reading books show a cumulative progression in phonics knowledge that match the grapheme-phoneme correspondences they know to support decoding skills.  

Phonics is implemented through our chosen phonic programme. The programme begins as children enter Reception; with the expectation that they will be fluent readers having secured word recognition skills by the end of key stage one.  

  • We ensure the teaching of phonics is systematic and consistent across school. The lessons are always taught at a fast pace to ensure children are highly engaged for the sessions. 
  • Teaching extends beyond ‘dedicated time’ and is applied and reinforced when appropriate throughout day. Teaching of the programme is not necessarily limited to former NLS ’20 minutes’ and is evident across all curriculum areas and in EYFS/KS1 provision.  
  • Children’s decodable reading books are carefully matched to their phonic knowledge and which do not require use of alternative strategies. These books are organised in the given sequence in our chosen SSP programme i.e. reading books build letter-sound correspondences cumulatively, therefore children’s reading books are fully decodable at child’s current level to aid fluency.  
  • Parents are helped to know how best to support children in learning sounds through our phonics workshops throughout the year. 
  • Reading at home is strongly promoted; through our reading raffle incentive. Teachers ensure that children understand how to work appropriately with decodable books and with shared texts.

Phonics is taught in a whole class approach. Any gaps in knowledge are addressed through 5-minute boxes (additional to whole class phonics sessions) from the start of the year in order for children to ‘keep up’ with their peers. Therefore, the children then move through the phase groups as one group together, Regular progress meetings are held with all reading teachers in KS1 to monitor  children making slowest progress.  Children in danger of falling behind, or who are working under expected levels (lower 20%), are swiftly identified and enough additional support provided to enable them to keep up. 

Each phonics session consists of

Revisiting previously learnt sounds.

Teaching the children a new sound, with the teacher modelling its correct pronunciation and formation.

Practise reading or writing the sound in a word.

Apply the newly learnt sound in context i.e reading or writing a short sentence which includes a word with the sound in.

Assess We then assess the children discretely through phonics games, 1:1 reading or upcoming 'revisit' sessions.

The impact of our consistent and systematic teaching of our phonics programme is that children become fluent readers by the age of KS1