Althorpe & Keadby Primary School

  1. Our Curriculum - A School of Adventures
  2. English
  3. Reading


Reading at Althorpe and Keadby  Primary

The importance of reading

At Althorpe and Keadby Primary School we believe reading is the key to effective learning and one of the most important things children will achieve in our school.  Everything else they do in school depends on it.  Children learn how to appreciate books, to read independently and to take immense pleasure in reading.  We teach children that reading is an essential life skill, we want the love of reading to remain with our children for life. 

We want our children to develop a love of books and have access to high-quality literature that will not only support their learning across the curriculum but also extend beyond the classroom environment and enrich their lives.


Reading for enrichment and enjoyment

We love to talk about reading.  By having quality books and a wide range of choice, we entice our children to read.  We prioritise reading within our budget, every year we allocate money to top up books across the school and take much joy in purchasing some of the many new books that are published.  

We have a range of additional activities that enhance our day to day activities and promote the enjoyment of reading.  These include:

Non-Fiction Book and a Biscuit - Every other Friday, children in Year 2 - Year 6 share quality non-fiction books and biscuits with their friends.

Book and reading competitions – We hold competitions throughout the year to encourage even more reading. These include our termly Duck Race for where children can win book vouchers for The Rabbit Hole for reading at home. 

Authors in school and visits to reading events – We are fortunate to have accessed sessions with real authors to develop this love of reading and these always lead to quality writing as an outcome. Our most recent visits have included from Jenny McLachlan who kick started our No limits festival writing. 

World Book Day and National Poetry Day – We celebrate days like this each year with activities in school to promote reading.

The Rabbit Hole –  The Rabbit Hole is a friendly Independent Bookshop in our local area who support school throughout the year. This can include bookstalls, voucher donations, linking us to new and exciting authors and offering advice and support on texts we can study in school. 

Library Visits - Every three weeks, the North Lincolnshire Library Van visits school. We have ensured that every child on roll in school has a library card and has access to the library.  In addition to this, members of the library service visit school for storytelling sessions and classes have the opportunity to visit either Central Library or Ashby Library. 


Teaching Reading in Early Years

In the early year’s classrooms, we start by encouraging ‘book talk’.  Teachers read daily to the children so the children get to know and love all sorts of stories, poetry and information books.  The children learn to handle books, they talk about what’s happening and they begin to recognise a few key words.  The children will also have books which have no words and we use these to encourage discussions about the pictures, what is happening, the characters and setting and the story as a whole.

EYFS will read the same text for a week so that the story becomes familiar and then it is placed in the book corner so children can re-read it. However, they also have daily story times and access to story telling within provision so that they are being exposed to a wide range of texts. 

From 2 years old, children in the EYFS are exposed to ready for phonics sessions. These support children in the listening, processing and auditory memory skills that they need to be successful in phonics sessions as they move up the school.

In Nursery these ready for phonics sessions continue and when children are developmentally ready, they are exposed to letter names and games. They practice oral blending games and look at initial sounds.

Once children start Reception children begin Read Write Inc phonics sessions, this begins as a whole class '1 letter per day session and children will be challenged to blend words that include the letters they know within the two weeks of starting reception. Reception is when children will begin to bring a reading book home with them every night. Children in Reception and Year 1 will be heard read daily and all support staff in school are deployed to help ensure this happens every day for every child. Reception is also when daily reading of their reading book or word cards at home is expected. Please speak to your child's teacher if you need guidance on support on how to do this or look out for information on our next 'read with your child' events.  

Teaching Reading in Key Stage 1

At Althorpe and Keadby we believe that the best way to become a confident reader is to read regularly. As such, we endeavor to ensure that every child in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are heard read by an adult 1 to 1 daily and we arrange our timetable, deploy all our support staff and leadership team daily to ensure this can happen. Every child has 2 reading books in their take home bag, A 'love of reading book' which is a book above their reading ability which is designed for the adult read to their child. The second is a 'reading practice book' these are matched carefully to their ability and phonics sounds they are learning. We encourage children to read a book three times to support their fluency. We call this the three read approach. In Year 1 children will bring home reading books, ditties or word blending books daily and it is expected that this is practiced at home. We believe children need to read regularly throughout the day to become confident readers. 

To support our emerging readers, children in Year 1 (and 2 where required) will have a phonics session every day in their Read, Write Inc group. These groups are based on assessment of your child so they are learning the exact letter sounds that they need to to progress to their next stage of reading. 

Alongside our daily 1:1 reading, texts read in English lessons and story time we have a focused reading session 3 times a week in year 1. We use the RWI storybooks and the children are grouped as they are during phonics lessons. This means the text is tailored to the sounds they are currently learning. The sessions encourage the speedy reading of both green and red words and the repetition of these ensure children have a secure knowledge of them. Children take it in turns to read the pages of the text to each other whilst tracking the text. On day 3 the children answer comprehension questions by locating the answers in the text.

In the Autumn term Year 2 phase from the RWI storybooks to follow the same reading lesson format as Key Stage 2.

Comprehension skills

The teaching of phonics runs alongside the teaching of comprehension skills and word recognition.  Through reading, we help children develop all the other vital reading skills and hopefully give them a real love of reading.  Our teachers love to read to the children, they do this every day.  The children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books.  We read a huge range of books including fairy tales, recipes, limericks, jokes, comics, scary stories, suspense, traditional tales, fact files, topic books, letters, and many more.  Our children learn more words this way and reading this range helps children to write in different ways. 

Shared reading is where the teacher works with the children (often, whole class) to model fluent, expressive reading, the use of effective reading strategies and to encourage response to texts.  It can be a vehicle for both teaching children to read (decode) and for teaching children about reading, including comprehension.  Shared reading enables children to access and enjoy rich, authentic texts which are slightly beyond their independent reading level. 

All children upto  Year 1 and also any children who we identify as needing extra support read on a daily basis to an adult, in these sessions children are heard read a variety of texts matched to their ability to do more comprehension and decoding practice.

Teaching reading in Year 2 and Key Stage 2

As children progress through Year 2 and into Key Stage 2 the majority have the skills to decode age appropriate texts fluently.

We continue to encourage the children to use their phonics learning of blending and segmenting as they come across unfamiliar words and they are given stage-appropriate books (colour banded) and a school library book to read both in school with an adult and at home. Once children can read fluently our focus is on developing children’s comprehension skills and continuing to grow their love of reading.


Reading Lessons

Reading skills are taught in a separate allocated 45 minute (30 minutes in Year 2) reading lesson straight after break. These sessions have one of two focuses.

On Monday and Friday children work on a novel study of their class text, which is read to them for 15 minutes at the end of everyday. In the novel study sessions children use their comprehension skills to understand themes and ideas across a longer text. This ensures that children have access to and study a text in its entirety from start to finish and build the skill of following a text through.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, pupils access a text type a day all linked by a theme. This could be a text type being studied in writing lessons; texts that link a historical period; a theme explored in different genres etc.  During this lesson children use their fluency and reading skills to tackle new purposeful texts presented top them for the first time, and apply comprehension skills including identifying intent, purpose and specific vocabulary while enhancing their curriculum knowledge. 

Through these sessions children are exposed to extracts from a wide variety of text types. Including, classical writing, picture books, fiction, non-fiction (including looking at famous people and places), poetry and even song lyrics.

The more variety of writing styles that a child is exposed to, the more they can see and use in their own writing as that develops throughout the school years. This ensures that our children meet the best of literature and have their knowledge deepened at all points.

What is sent home?

When children join our school they will get a library book for parents to read to their child and a wordless book to take home in their book bag.  Reading research and DFE guidance shows that by re-reading familiar stories, as many times as they can, helps children to be good readers and gain good comprehension skills. We will change their books weekly.

In Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 the children will have 3 books a week – a book with the current phonic sound they are learning (RWInc book) , an Oxford Reading Tree or Collins Big Cat  book to share which will help practise red (tricky) words/ comprehension skills/character names and another book from the library (fiction or non-fiction) to share for extra enjoyment.  

In Year 3 upwards children will have either a reading scheme book (Oxford Reading tree or Collins Big Cat) or another fiction/non-fiction book suited to their interests and reading ability and a library book. These are also changed as the children finish them – there will be opportunities to do so weekly. KS2 children who are still in a phonics group will also have a phonics reading book related to their phonics level (RWI). In addition to this, each child will take home a group reading book which they will be reading in class.

Other reading opportunities

We devote time within our school day to reading.  These opportunities include:

Library and book areas in school - we have several designated areas in school that children are given the opportunity to go to read and every classroom has a welcoming reading area and attractive book displays.  The books in these areas are regularly changed and/or restocked.  Our classrooms are a language rich environment and we promote the written word.

Library Visit - Every 3 weeks, the library van visits the school and children are encouraged to sign up to the library service and use this resource to widen their knowledge of books, authors and therefore writing styles as well as to further their love of reading.

Reading Buddies – each year we train a group of older children as reading buddies.  They support children in school with their reading and particularly like to share books with younger children.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – we are very fortunate that North Lincolnshire Council support this scheme.  All children in North Lincolnshire from birth to five years old who live in North Lincolnshire are eligible to register; we support parents to ensure that all our parents do register.  Each month a new, carefully selected book is delivered to each child’s home and addressed to the child.  It is completely free to parents.  By the time the children reach their 5th birthday they will have received 60 books, creating their own personal library.  Our children love receiving their new book each month, and these books help start a lifelong love of books and reading.  Whilst the children are younger our parents share these books with their child, reading to them.  As their reading ability improves, they often like to go back and read for themselves the books they got when they were younger.









Widening our children’s vocabulary

We provide our children with a language rich environment.  We aim to expose our children to a wide range of vocabulary so that they are able to decipher new words and then use them when speaking and writing both informally and formally.  We want our children to know and apply subject specific vocabulary to all areas of the wider curriculum. 

Ambitious vocabulary is taught within reading/writing lessons and other curriculum lessons, with new vocabulary embedded daily and it is applied in various situations.  

Additional support for those children that need it

Teachers and teaching assistants ensure all children are provided with the help they need to get off to a good start in reading.  We identify children that need additional support and make sure this is put into place swiftly.  Our SENDCo is on hand to advise teaching teams as needed and support their work in identifying any factors making progress difficult and finding solutions, including intervention programmes. We want children to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them.   

Teachers and Teaching Assistants in Key Stage 2 are all trained in phonics, so this teaching and support does not end when the children finish Year 2.  We know some of our children will need to continue to be taught phonics throughout the juniors.  There are extra reading sessions for target children.  There can be many different reasons that children find reading difficult and our SENDCo can help find the reasons, through testing and specialist agencies being involved.

We have a range of strategies to support our children with their reading.  Some of this include:

Toe by Toe – Toe by Toe is a highly structured, multi-sensory reading tool to support children with reading skills. It supports children who have difficulty in decoding or reading fluently as well those children showing signs of dyslexic difficulties. It recommends that the minimum age for a child to start Toe by Toe is 7+ years of age.

Lexia – Lexia is a computer reading programme that provides phonics instructions and addresses the development of oral language, reading, spelling, and writing skills for children who are learning to read.  Lexia also supports our phonics strategy. 

Speech and Language support – We work with our Speech and Language Therapists to deliver support for children, and follow any strategies and programmes they have identified in children’s plans.  Children’s speech can affect their reading.  

1:1 Reading – If children need extra practice reading (decoding, reading fluency or are just listened to regularly) they become a daily reader with the teacher or teaching assistant. 


How parents and carers can help

Parents and carers are of course partners in their child’s reading journey. We’ll make sure parents are well communicated with about what is happening with reading in school.  We always let you know how well your child is doing and how you can support your child. 

A child cannot read too much! We ask our parents to read regularly with and to their child, building this into your daily routine and encouraging children to look after, respect and love reading and books.  Parents will be invited to come and read with their children in school. 

You can help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to blend the sounds together to make a whole word.  Help your child to focus on the sounds, rather than the letter name.  Sometimes your child might bring home a book that they already know well, children and adults alike love to re-read books – ask them to tell you the story, ask them questions about the story and the characters and what might happen next. 

We will support you with how we teach reading.  We will send out support leaflets and you will be invited to workshops on phonics, reading, SATs testing, etc – please read them and join us to learn more about how to help your child be an amazing reader. 

Great rhymers make great readers!  We ask that you share and learn nursery rhymes with your children.  The importance of nursery rhymes cannot be overstated or underestimated. Songs and rhymes are a cornerstone of language development.  When you read nursery rhymes together, you are telling them a story, they are learning new words, how to pronounce words, learning all about rhyming and developing their social skills.  According to Reading Magic, “experts in literacy development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.”  They are such a fun and positive way to learn how to read.

Suggested questions to ask children when they are reading

Try to ask a range of questions about your child’s chosen book as well as the text within.  Where possible, encourage them to tell you in their own words what they have just read to help you assess their understanding.  Here are some possible questions to ask children when discussing the text with them:

  •   Where can we find the blurb?
  •   Is there a contents page?
  •   What made you choose this book?
  •   What do you think this book is going to be about?
  •   What genre do you think this book is?
  •   Why do you think the text is organised like this?
  •   Who are the key characters in the book?
  •   Give me three adjectives to describe one of the characters 
  •   Find a word in paragraph 2 which shows…..
  •   Can you think of a word that rhymes with ……?
  •   What sound does “…..” start with? Can you think of any other words which   start with the same sound?
  •   Can the word ______ have more than one meaning?
  •   What other word could the author have used instead of ____ which has the same meaning?
  •   What did ……. do?
  •   What does ……. mean?
  •   What happened in the beginning of the book?
  •   Has there been any surprises or twists in the storyline so far?
  •   When and where did the story take place?
  •   Which word tells you that…..?
  •   Give me the main events of the story so far
  •   Summarise what you have just read to me
  •   What do you think is going to happen next?
  •   How do you think the book will end?
  •   What is your favourite part of the story and why?
  •   Tell me the funniest part so far
  •   If you were to make a film based on the book, which character would you most like to play? Which character would you cast me as? Why?
  •   If you were to make a film based on the book, which actor would you choose to be the main character?
  •   If you were to make a film based on the book, what type of music would you use for it and why?
  •   Who would you like to meet in the story?  Would you be friends with them?
  •   How did the character change throughout the book?
  •   How did the character’s feelings change?
  •   How did ______ react when……?
  •   What do you think the character was thinking when….
  •   What would be a suitable caption for this image?
  •   Why is this word underlined/in bold/in italics?
  •   How does the author make you want to continue reading?
  •   Why does the writer use ________?
  •   Can you find any interesting adjectives/verbs/examples of alliteration?
  •   Why is this word in “inverted commas”?
  •   If you could ask the author three questions, what would they be?
  •   If you could ask the main character three questions, what would they be?
  •   If you could be friends with one of the characters, which one would you choose?
  •   In the text it states “…….”, but what else can we understand from this? 
  • What is the author secretly trying to tell us without making it obvious?