Reading Policy

Lord Blyton Reading Policy

The Teaching of Reading at Lord Blyton Primary School


‘Reading is a window to the world’

At Lord Blyton Primary School we aim to make all of our pupils fluent and comprehensive readers by the time they leave us to embark on their secondary school journeys.   We aim to ensure a balanced mix of approaches to reading so that our pupils achieve the skills required, a positive attitude, confidence as well as interest and a life-long love of literature. We firmly believe in developing a culture that encourages a desire and love for reading. We encourage reading in all areas of the curriculum covering a mixture of genres. We carefully select books that are current and rich in vocabulary as well as embracing the classics that we believe all children should experience at least once in their lifetimes. We link texts to our creative curriculum but they could also tie in with our children’s likes and interests.   Our aim is for all children in Key Stage One to have completed their phonic journey by the end of Year Two. Any children identified to need further support will have interventions going forward, to secure their phonic knowledge as soon as possible.

Key Stage Two reading will focus on fluency and comprehension in more detail.


Reading for Pleasure

Whenever possible we encourage reading for pleasure. We expose children to texts which continually develop their breadth of vocabulary. We explore words, phrases and sentences daily to unpick how and why they have been used. Reading lessons focus on enjoyment of a text as well as developing the comprehension of what the children are reading by asking carefully thought out questions.

Children are able to visit the school library during their allocated session or whenever an adult is available to supervise them.  We also have books and various reading materials (comics, poetry etc.) in every classroom which children can read at the end of lessons if time or during wet playtimes.  Children are also encouraged to read outside especially during summer months.

All teachers read to their classes as often as time permits, using books from recommended reading lists (e.g. end of day, during milk time).

Along with teaching of reading and reading for pleasure, we also provide as many opportunities as possible to enrich our children’s reading experiences – e.g. Book fairs, competitions, World Book Day, parent workshops, author visits, having librarians in all KS2 classes, reading incentives such as certificates and book tokens, Blyton Book Swap, Early years Blyton Bookworm club, projects involving outside agencies such as National Literacy Trust, Puffin, visits to libraries in the local authority ensuring that our children have active library memberships etc. Books are given as gifts from ‘Santa’ in KS1 and children are often given books as prizes for projects – this is to promote further reading and research about science/history/geography. 

Organisation of reading materials

The organisation of the classroom is essential to promoting interest, independence and enthusiasm as well as the necessary skills, concepts and knowledge to progress.

Early Reading

Classrooms contain a listening area where auditory skills can be developed, stories can be enjoyed either through shared or independent reading, along with listening games also being part of the learning. We encourage a multi-sensory approach to learning and interaction between reading, talk and writing. We provide opportunities to see, read and write core vocabulary as well as familiar nouns, labels, captions and pupil names. We have resources to support letter sound awareness.  Opportunities are provided to engage in play writing and reading through relevant literature linked to topics or role play areas. Children can explore and enjoy poetry and rhymes, through a variety of different ways such as ICT, games, PE, music, art. Computer programmes are available to support visual and spatial awareness, core vocabulary recognition and phonic awareness. We have enthusiastic staff to share books with the children, making curriculum links through literature.

We have access to a well-stocked library with a wide range of high-quality texts. Library sessions are timetabled to visit and enjoy the library. There are a range of books for the children to select themselves; both in the classroom and in the school library. We have home school reading records to share with parents to comment on the child’s learning reading carefully selected home school reading books matched to the children’s level in the Sounds Write programme. The teaching of reading is enhanced through interactive ICT resources as well as texts with particular emphasis given to rime and onset, alliteration, phonological awareness, visual discrimination, sequence and prediction skills.  Guided reading sessions use the school’s reading scheme. We keep meaningful records that help build up a picture of the child as a reader, identify their strengths, weaknesses and determine the appropriate teaching strategy for individuals.

As the children enter Nursery and Reception they choose either a pebble or peg and vote for the story which they would like to hear shared at the end of the day.  These texts are chosen from the class library of recommended texts.  

We have strong parent links enhanced through home-school records, the use of story sacks and organized reading events throughout the year. Guided reading is introduced in the Spring term of Reception class. Role-play is changed on a half-termly basis to enthuse and inspire children to be creative in their use of language, providing varied opportunities to read and write through play.

In nursery our children are taught the different levels and aspects of phonological awareness.  The Sounds Write phonics programme does not officially begin till Reception, but our Nursery teacher has been fully trained in Sounds Write and uses their strategies whenever possible and if appropriate.

Every child in Reception and KS1 has access to a daily dedicated 30-minute session to teach phonics using the Sounds Write programme.  This builds up to an hour a day by the end of Reception. If any of our pupils require further phonic intervention in KS1 or KS2 then they have access to guided groups or 1:1 support outside of English sessions.  

Reading in Nursery

Phonological awareness activities are arranged under the following aspects. 

Aspect 1: General sound discrimination – environmental sounds

Aspect 2: General sound discrimination – instrumental sounds

Aspect 3: General sound discrimination – body percussion 

Aspect 4: Rhythm and rhyme 

Aspect 5: Alliteration 

Aspect 6: Voice sounds

Aspect 7: Oral blending and segmenting of compound words

Aspect 8: Recognition and production of syllables

Aspect 9: Oral blending and segmenting

While there is considerable overlap between these aspects, the overarching aim is for children to experience regular, planned opportunities to listen carefully and talk extensively about what they hear, see and do. The boundaries between each strand are flexible and not fixed: practitioners should plan to integrate the activities according to the developing abilities and interests of the children in the setting. Each aspect is divided into three strands. 

■ Tuning into sounds (auditory discrimination) 

■ Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing) 

■ Talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension). 

Activities within the nine aspects are designed to help children: 

1. listen attentively; 

2. enlarge their vocabulary; 

3. speak confidently to adults and other children; 

4. discriminate phonemes; 

5. reproduce audibly the phonemes they hear, in order, all through the word; 

6. use sound-talk to segment words into phonemes. 

The ways in which practitioners and teachers interact and talk with children are critical to developing children’s speaking and listening. This needs to be kept in mind throughout all phase one activities.  

We also use and adapt some of the following from The Phonological Awareness Package complied by Jane Sheils & Yvonne Sawyers   

The Levels of Phonological Awareness

Level 1: Knowledge of Rhyme 

Level 2: Word Awareness

Level 3: Recognition and production of rhyme 

Level 4: Recognition and production of syllables 

Level 5: Recognition and production of initial sounds

Level 6: Recognition and production of final sounds 

Level 7: Blending 

Level 8: Phonemic Segmentation 

Level 9: Phonemic Manipulation

(Dianna Riggs 2000) 

Sounds Write Phonics Programme

At Lord Blyton Primary School, we use the Sounds Write Phonics programme from Reception to teach our children to read, spell and write. Sounds Write is effective in teaching pupils to read, spell and write, because it starts from what all children know from a very early age – the sounds of their own language. From there, it takes them in carefully sequenced, incremental steps and teaches them how each of the 44 or so sounds in the English language can be spelt. The words used in the teaching process and the conceptual knowledge of how the alphabet code works are introduced from simple to complex, in accordance with the fundamental principles of psychological learning theory.

For example, at the start, simple, mutually implied (one sound, one spelling) CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant) only are introduced. Pupils quickly learn to read and spell words such as ‘mam’, ‘dog’, ‘jam’ and ‘sit’. When all the single-letter sound-spelling correspondences have been introduced and established, Sounds Write initiates the concept that the sounds can be spelt with the two letter spellings. As the programme progresses, the complexity of one-syllable words is carefully increased through a variety of VCC, CVCC, CCVC, CCVCC and CCCVC words, such as, for example, ‘elf’, ‘hand’, ‘swim’, ‘trust’ and ‘scrub’. After this, pupils’ understanding of the concept ‘two letters – one sound’ is further developed through the introduction of the most common consonant two -letter spellings in words like ‘shop, ‘chimp’ and ‘thin’, for example. Finally, two, three and four letter spellings of the vowels are introduced and pupils are taught how to read and spell polysyllabic words, starting with simpler words (such as ‘bedbug’) and gradually moving to the more complex (such as ‘mathematical’).

All of this is taught within a well-structured, incremental and coherent framework based on the knowledge – both conceptual and factual – on which the alphabet principle and thus the writing system is based and the key skills needed to enable learners to use the principle effectively. Our approach teaches the conceptual understanding needed to become an effective reader: that letters are spellings of sounds: visual language is a representation of spoken language, that a spelling can contain one, two, three, or four letters – examples are: s a t, f i s h, n igh t and w eigh t, that there is more than one way to spelling most sounds: the sound ‘ae’, spelt as in ‘name’, can be represented as in ‘table, in ‘rain’, in ‘eight’, in ‘play’, and so on. That many spellings can represent more than one sound:  E can be the sound ‘e’ in ‘head’, ‘a-e’ in ‘break’, or ‘ee’ in ‘seat’ within this conceptual framework. We teach the factual knowledge required to become an effective reader and speller: that approximately 176 spellings represent the 44 or so sounds in English, starting with the most simple one-to-one correspondences.

Reading and spelling also requires expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabet code and pupils need to be able to: segment, or separate sounds in words blend, or push sounds together to form words manipulate sounds: take sounds out and put sounds into words.  Sounds Write provides opportunities for practising these skills on an everyday basis until pupils achieve the automaticity required for fluent reading and spelling. 

Teachers also track progress in phonics using Sounds Write tracking sheets.

Whole School Home Readers

Children are given a home reading book and reading diary at the beginning of each academic year, following on from their levelled book from the previous school year. The level of text is reviewed frequently by the class teacher to ensure enough challenge is provided for every child, whilst also making sure that the child is able to manage the book.  Home readers are usually changed daily or whenever the children bring their books back. Texts are recorded in a file and in their home reading records. At times comprehension sheets are sent home with the books when available.  Children are given scheme books that are levelled. Once children reach a satisfactory ability level, they can alternate between scheme books and choosing a text from the classroom texts.  Parents are supported to help with their child’s reading with workshops and Vipers information sent home.

If children do not return books frequently a reminder is sent home and these children are listened to read in school as often as time allows.

Sounds Write reading material including Dandelion Readers is used across EYFS –Y2 (and for those children needing phonic intervention in KS2). Books and reading materials are taught exclusively to correlate with the specific Sounds Write stages (Initial Code and Extended Code).  We also use Oxford Reading Tree books only if the book matches the children’s phonic reading ability. As the children become more proficient readers they can also read books which they choose themselves from the class reading shelves, along with their school library books.

Guided Reading 

Guided Reading takes place in addition to English lessons throughout the school. In Key Stage 1 and Lower KS2 teachers work with a focused group to improve the quality of reading and comprehension ensuring that each group is given at least one teacher or teaching assistant directed session per week.  Upper Key Stage Two also have guided reading sessions with those children who require extra support.

Groups who are working independently are given tasks appropriate to their level. Tasks may include activities relating to texts already read or preparation for texts to be studied.

Reading Sessions focus on key skills for reading: Literal skills (answers can be directly lifted from the text)  Deductive skills (the text does not directly give the answer but we can work things out from the information given)  Inferential skills (the text does not directly tell us the answer but we can work things out by considering the hints and clues in the text in light of our own knowledge and experiences)  Evaluative skills (giving personal opinions, often about whole texts, or successes of author in creating mood, character etc…)

Reading in Key Stage 2

As the children progress we aim to build on the reading experiences already acquired.  The aim is to develop independence, fluency and self-reliance.  A greater variety of texts are made available to allow for more depth, choice and enjoyment.

More varied texts are available to support the widening interest shown as children progress; newspapers, magazines, multicultural texts, plays, non-fiction, poetry, CDs, dictionaries, thesaurus etc.  The library is timetabled to allow for extension skills such as skimming, scanning, reference and research.

We will aim to expand the skills gained earlier in the school by keeping a teaching focus on reading, drawing attention to the structure of a variety of texts, helping pupils to adapt their style of reading to suit the purpose (skim, scan, read critically)

The higher order reading skills must be taught and should not be confined to the Literacy lesson alone.  The opportunity to read texts from different media, to research, investigate, to sift, select and take notes from text, to question, challenge and look for bias in texts, to scan and skim for project information and use this purposefully can be found in many different subject areas.

As soon as children can read we aim to support them in their need to become independent, helping them to develop fluency, expressiveness and critical awareness.  It is important that older children still share books either as a whole class or during 1:1 reading with an adult or during guided reading sessions where appropriate. Children are actively encouraged to talk about the books that they are reading and share their enthusiasm with their peers. A range of high -quality texts are used to deliver this having full texts in addition to the use of extracts/video clips from sources such as the Literacy Shed.

We as staff promote a love for reading by leading by example. We keep up to date with the latest books released and recommended reads for children in our key stage. We regularly share our experiences and enjoyment of texts that we have read.    

The Structure of a Whole Class Reading Sequence of Lessons (This will be planned over a number of weeks during English sessions).

Key Stage Two teach reading as a whole class using class sets of novels (see Whole School Text Overview). Key Stage One also use texts as a starting point for their planned activities to meet learning objectives during English sessions.

KS2 pupils are guided through ways of developing reading strategies and responding to the text. The children read their own copy of the text, over a number of weeks.  Reading for purpose and pleasure is the key message. EYFS and KS1 generally read one copy of the text together sitting on the carpet.

Our reading and writing curriculum overlap greatly.

Book Introduction

Set a purpose for the reading with reference to National Curriculum learning objectives. Talk about genre/text type. Look at the book cover and make predictions. Read and analyse the blurb.  Make connections to prior reading or previous session (if applicable). Skim over text to gain overview before reading.

Reading the Text

Strategy check. Discuss strategies making explicit reference to strategies children will use to help them decode and comprehend what they are reading. Encourage children to explain to each other how they will read new/unfamiliar words. Beginner readers will be prompted to use comprehension skills; skimming, scanning, re-reading; checking for organisational features, etc. Also highlight any difficult vocabulary or choice of words by the author. Older children will require their literal, deductive inferential and evaluative skills developed.

Either teacher or children read aloud, discussing vocab, meaning, content as they progress.

Returning to the text

Whole group consideration of the text, reviewing the use of particular strategies, revisiting questions asked at the start of the session and encouraging the children to identify issues to be discussed or clarified.

Responding to the text

Allow children time to respond to the text orally, develop and justify their opinions and explore personal preferences. Teachers use VIPERS resources from Literacy Shed or make their own resources to supplement reading where appropriate to focus on a specific element of reading (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explaining, Retrieval, Sequence or Summarise). We then respond to the text in writing (e.g. setting/characters descriptions/comparisons, dialogue, poetry, letters, reports, recounts, explanation etc) or we do some explicit vocabulary teaching using words from the text.  We also answer comprehension questions about the text. We teach the features of each specific genre of writing and we show understanding of the text with the content.  We also teach GPS objectives for each year group relating to the class text, finding examples in the written text then producing relevant examples in exercise books. If appropriate children will also respond to the text using drama.

When working with fluent readers, the sessions will not necessarily involve listening to all children read individually. It will become more of a discussion of issues, responses, ideas and opinions that lead and extend pupils through careful questioning, structured activities and reference to the text. 

Teachers in Key Stage 2 will also use the more traditional guided reading groupings/1:1 reading plus other reading interventions when necessary with children who need additional support.

Throughout the whole school we have also identified those pupils who would benefit from additional English support and they follow interventions such as Launchpad for Literacy, Colourful Semantics and Talk Boost in Nursery, Blast in Nursery and Reception, Project X, Lexia, Reading Eggs, One to One reading and phonic support and Listening Skills.

Impact of our Reading Curriculum

With a systematic teaching of phonics in place the aim is for all children to become free readers by the end of Key Stage One, leaving Key Stage Two to develop fluency and comprehension in more detail.

We carry out reading assessments continually in an informal manner and termly where scores from reading tests equate to a level.  The school’s assessment system (Early Learning Goals, Sounds Write Phonics tracking and LCP tests from Year One inputted into Itrack) is used as a planning and diagnostic tool to allow pupils to reach targets in their reading and learning which allows them to make good progress.

The aims of setting carefully selected targets is to ensure pupils have an understanding, independence in learning, critical awareness and appreciation of varied reading texts.

Our assessments ensure children are quickly identified and extra support provided.  All children in Year One do the statutory phonics screening check. Those in Years 2 and 6 partake in the reading SATs. These results are then measured against national averages.

Our biggest hope in terms of impact however, goes far beyond assessment results.  We firmly believe that our reading curriculum develops the love of reading in all children. It gives them the opportunity to become immersed in another world and experience the magic of story-telling.  We hope the impact of our reading curriculum is evident from the moment you walk through the door.