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Thornton Dale C of E Primary School

Be kind, be brave, believe.

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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 intention of our approach to Whole Class 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
  • provide children with a wide ‘reading diet’ so that they become well rounded readers

Whole Class Reading is implemented every day across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. 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.

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


At Thornton Dale, phonics is implemented through the Letters and Sounds programme in Early Years and Key Stage 1. All staff  are DFE trained and are experts in teaching systematic, synthetic phonics. We ensure the teaching of phonics is practical so the children are absorbed and enthusiastic with their learning. The lessons are always taught at a fast pace to ensure children are highly engaged for the sessions. We engage parents with phonics by hosting workshops in the autumn and spring terms which supports the children when completing personalised phonic activities at home. The children move through the phase groups as one group together so all children ‘Keep Up’ with their peers. We do not have the children working in ability groups, gaps in phonic 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 particular the 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. Children’s decodable reading books are carefully matched to their phonic knowledge and which do not require use of alternative strategies.’ (National Curriculum) These books are organised in the given sequence 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. 

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.