Rich texts are at the heart of our teaching and adults in school are role models.

The intent behind our approach to reading is:

  • Promote a life long passion and love for reading;
  • The opportunity for all children regardless of their back ground and prior attainment to read to a high standard of fluency and comprehension;
  • To broaden their experience by exposing them to a variety of different genres that are integrated throughout all aspects of the wider curriculum;
  • To offer the chance for pupils to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.


Our Approach to developing a love for reading across the whole school:

Everybody Every Night

Our expectation is that children read every day with an adult at home; we call this ‘Everybody Every Night’. Children have their reading diaries signed by an adult and receive a variety of incentives to maintain this - such as weekly raffle tickets, prizes within their classroom and each term receiving a personalised bookmark award that is celebrated as a school. This begins with our very youngest children in Nursery, who are encouraged to share a bedtime story every night at home.


School Library

The school library is packed with high quality books. It is an exciting space that each class is timetabled to visit at least once a week with their teacher. The library is run by two members of staff and ten pupils who are trained as librarians. The librarians open up the library every lunch time for children to be able to change their books. The library is operated using the online Reading Cloud; where all children have their own log-ins to receive personal recommendations about new book releases, recent recommendations based on children’s interests and curricular topics. The Reading Cloud provides up to date data on the most popular books in our school and across the other schools across the United Kingdom who use the system. This enables the books within the library to be kept up to date and relevant for the pupils and offer new opportunities for children to try new authors or genres.


Thirsk Library

Every child who starts with us in Nursery is signed up to Thirsk Library. The Early Years Team and Thirsk Library work in partnership to run termly Pop-up Library events in school, where children from Reception, Nursery and KS1 can borrow books to take home. As the children then reach KS2 we encourage them to visit the library to borrow books outside of school time. The Nursery class also visit Thirsk Library every half term for an extra special story time.


Helpful Huddle

Nursery has trained volunteers who staff their reading area every day between 9.30 – 10.45 am. This ensures that in this very busy environment there is always an adult available to share stories with the children. The Helpful Huddle also support the Phase One Phonic provision related to reading which is threaded throughout the reading area. The group of volunteers are our parents who have received training in relation to this.


Reading Team

Throughout the school there is a team of skilled Teaching Assistants that form the Reading Team. The Reading Team hear readers throughout the school day ensuring that all pupils that need to make rapid progress in their reading are heard read. Notes are recorded in pupil’s home reading records. To maintain development of the reading they meet every week with the reading lead or phonics lead for training and to highlight any issues.


100 books to read in KS1 and KS2

KS1 and KS2 have an additional challenge of reading 100 books. These books were chosen by a group of ten children with the help of an exceptional local book shop that recommend titles based on the children’s ideas and passions of the pupil voice.


Reading Assemblies

Each week we come together as a school to celebrate any reading achievements. To promote the love of reading staff take it in turns to share with the children their favourite author or book. During each assembly we talk about our feature author and put examples of their work on our ‘Author of the week display’.


Book Reviews

Our children are encouraged to review texts that have been used in the classroom. This begins in Early Years, where pupil voice is collected and shared in floor books with the class. These reviews are used by staff to inform which texts are chosen for future study. Children are encouraged to write book reviews either on the Reading Cloud or on paper to encourage other children to read.


High quality texts for Power Literacy

To ensure that the texts we use for Power Literacy are challenging we use the Lexile analyser as a guide. The Lexile predicts and assess how difficult a text will be for a reader to comprehend. The two main criteria it tests are word frequency and sentence strength. The score is then linked to both the reading books in school and Year group expected standard.


Pupil voice

Pupil voice is important for the development of reading at our school. We speak to the children and send out questionnaires, with this information we update our action plans to ensure reading is at the heart of all our children and staff.


Our Phonics Approach

Letter and Sounds

Letters and Sounds is a systematic programme which aims to build children's speaking and listening skills, as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. We have chosen it because of the robust nature in which the programme is designed and delivered. In particular, the programme supports linking sounds and letters in the order in which they occur in words, naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet in relation to the frequency they appear in our written and spoken language. The programme is also grounded in speech sound development, ensuring that children are being taught what is developmentally appropriate. In Letters and Sounds there are six overlapping phases, these begin in Nursery with the aim that children are fluent and confident readers by the end of Year 2. We deliver Letters and Sounds through the McKie Mastery teaching model. This means that children are grouped and taught to their next steps. Our teaching does not focus on what the children already know, it targets what they need to know next! As a result, our children make accelerated reading progress.


Reading Books

A part of our Phonic Approach is ensuring that children are reading books that they can use their phonic skill to decode. Reading books that are sent home match children’s individual phonic assessment so that they can build fluency when reading; this also allows for deeper comprehension skills to be instilled. Our detailed ‘Phonic Scheme Following DfE Letters and Sounds, delivered through McKie Mastery teaching’ maps out what colour band should be given and when. For example, Week 5 reads, “Pupils have now been taught all graphemes needed to read PINK 3 books (hbfl ff ll ss)”