Reading at Burton Agnes CE Primary School

From the moment children begin their time at Burton Agnes we place a strong emphasis on the development of reading.  By placing great importance on reading we aim for the children to: -

  • Have a love of reading that will be lifelong.
  • Have the motivation to read for study and for pleasure
  • Have excellent phonic knowledge and skills
  • Have knowledge of an extensive and rich vocabulary
  • Have an excellent comprehension of texts, understanding what they are reading.
  • Develop their knowledge through having read a range of rich and varied texts.


Reading in the Early Years Foundation Stage

In Nursery we provide opportunities so that the children are able to listen to and join in with a range of familiar stories.  We encourage them to have an awareness of the way in which stories are structured, answering questions and anticipating what might happen next.  We teach the children to recognise their own name and other familiar logos in print.  By the end of nursery, the children will begin to hear and say the initial sounds in words, following phase 1 of our phonics scheme, Lilttle Wandle.  We also have a ‘tiddlers’ group which children come to from birth.  Here children are read stories, sung songs and story sacks are shared with parents to encourage a love of reading from a very early age.

To achieve this, the children take part in focused activities that concentrate on developing the children’s speaking and listening skills, building on learning from previous activities. We share books and read regularly to the children, helping them to build up a collection of known stories and rhymes. The children are exposed to a word rich environment and they are encouraged to use rich vocabulary in their conversations. The children have access to the school library and are encouraged to read at home with their parents.

The development of reading is monitored via ongoing assessment that links to ‘development matters’ a government benchmarking tool.  Children are given specific challenges such as using story trays and small world toys to retell stories. Children are encouraged to use stories through their play.

In Reception the key to our successful reading outcomes is to provide the children with a rigorous approach to phonics from the moment they start school.  Burton Agnes follows the Little Wandle scheme and children take part in at least one daily focused adult led phonics session.  These groups are differentiated but flexible, so that children can be challenged or supported when necessary.  Any children who are at risk of falling behind are worked closely with.  At the beginning of the school year parents are invited to take part in a phonics meeting to help them understand how we teach reading and gain their support. We stress to parents that the home school partnership does have a positive impact on the how well children read. 

In school children read daily in some way, be it with their reading book, through structured activities or through play. Any children who we feel are falling behind will get additional opportunities to have a focused read. We have a variety of reading books that develop different reading skills. We use the Collins Big Cat reading scheme to support the children with decoding words using their phonics work.  We also use a range of other books to develop other reading skills.  We do not change books daily.  The children are encouraged to read their book three times.

  • The first read will focus on decoding using their phonic knowledge and skills
  • The second read will look at developing the children’s fluency
  • The third read will look at working on expression, recognising and following the rules of punctuation and understanding and comprehending the text as well as looking at vocabulary.

It may not always be necessary to read the whole book on the second and third read, depending on the reader.

By the end of the academic year the children will begin to take part in group reading activities led by adults in preparation for transition to Year 1.

Emphasis will also be given to children listening to quality stories.  Class texts are read to provide children opportunities to explore and hear rich vocabulary.  Opportunities to further access rich vocabulary come from story trays or topic trays around the classroom that the children can access during their challenge time.

Children are ‘taught’ vocabulary and are deliberately introduced to words that may challenge them but in the long term will help them with their understanding of what they read. This strategy to include the teaching of vocabulary as part of our reading programme will continue through the child’s time with us at Burton Agnes, adding to their vocabulary bank, year on year.

The children’s progress in reading is monitored via ongoing assessment that links to ‘development matters’.  Children are challenged were appropriate and supported if necessary.

Reading in Key Stage 1

In Year 1 we continue to build on the work that has taken place in early years aiming to ensure that by the end of the year children are able to decode text using Grapheme phoneme correspondence from phases 2, 3 and 5 of little Wandle letters and sounds.  This is the thinking about sounds and knowing which letters make those sounds.

Teachers and teaching assistants follow the same rigorous and consistent approach to the teaching of phonics that has been introduced in Early Years with daily activities taking place.

Children are heard read to an adult on an individual basis up to three times per week following, where required, the same approach as in early years where the children read their book up to three times to develop their decoding skills, fluency, understanding, punctuation and expression.

The children also begin to take part in guided reading sessions. Here the children read in small groups with the class teacher and the teaching of reading is furthered through this activity.  Children read challenging texts as they are supported by an adult to help read them. 

The children are also encouraged to read for pleasure and visit the school library.  The children are also read to. 

At the end of Year 1 the children take part in the government phonic screening check.  This is done in a fun way with the class teacher and the outcomes are shared with you in your child’s annual report.  Any children who do not reach the required level receive extra intervention, although the chances are they will have been identified for support already.

Children read and enjoy books at differing levels and paces.  We do not make children read all books in all levels if they are reading confidently, with understanding and are decoding well.  Nor will we rush children through books if they have not grasped what they are reading and how they are reading.

With our Year 2 readers, we are continuing to work on the development of phonics.  We are aiming for accurate and speedy word reading skills, matching sounds to letters without any hesitation. We also expect all common exception words to be read fluently.

Children continue to be heard read on an individual basis although more time is devoted in year two to guided reading with the whole class sharing the same text.  Children also carry out additional activities to develop their comprehension skills. 

The children continue to be encouraged to read for pleasure.  They are able to read to the class and be the story teller, which encourages the further development of fluency and expression. Children continue to visit the library and be read to by adults.

At the end of year 2 the children have a formal assessment known as SAT’s.  This is delivered as a fun and enjoyable activity without the need for pressure.  The outcomes of this are shared with parents in the annual report in July.

Reading in Key Stage 2

As the children move in to Key Stage 2 we want to develop the children’s skills to become fluent readers, reading quickly, accurately and with appropriate expression. We aim to make the children skilled in reading comprehension by teaching them through guided book talk sessions about prediction, questioning, clarifying words or phrases, summarising, inference and drawing on prior knowledge and experiences. These sessions take place up to three times a week and are delivered through a whole class text.  These books are often linked to other areas of the curriculum.

Reading to children and discussing books is still important for this age group and teachers continue to read to the class.  We expose children to a wide range of texts, with an appropriate level of challenge. 

We want to continue to develop the children’s love of reading by exposing them to a range of genre by a range of authors from a range of cultures, encouraging them to read books that they might not normally read. 

Focusing on vocabulary awareness and development is high priority not only in the books that the children read but through learning about other areas of the curriculum.  Children should be able to apply knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes to read new words and understand the meaning of them.

Children are encouraged to continue to read at home and take responsibility to recording their reading in a diary.  This is recognised in school through incentive charts. As children progress through KS2 they write book reports and recommend texts to their friends.

Where required children are given extra support with their reading if we feel they are falling behind through a variety of activities.  It may also be necessary that children may still need phonic support as they work through KS2.  Our skilled teachers and teaching assistants work closely together to ensure these gaps in the child’s phonic knowledge are reduced.

Throughout key stage the reading attainment and progress of pupils is carefully monitored so they we can continually support all of our readers be it with support or challenge.  At the end of year 6 children take part in a formal reading assessment known as SAT’s.  The outcomes of these are shared with parents in the annual end of year report.


Should you require any further information about reading at Burton Agnes, please speak with your child’s class teacher.