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At Thomas Barnes we believe that reading is one of the keystones to our children becoming life-long learners. That is why reading remains one of our very top priorities as we welcome our children back into school full-time after the closures of the pandemic. In the younger years we focus on learning to read, before modelling how to read to learn in the later years. Alongside the process of reading and application of skills, we also promote reading for pleasure through reading aloud to the class and other book-centred events, such as World Book Day.


Phonics and Early Reading

Our pupils begin their learning journey in reading with a structured phonics programme based on Letters and Sounds (but incorporating also some of the physical aspects of Jolly Phonics). Pupil progress in phonics is tracked and planning adapted accordingly. They are also provided with a diet of on-sight word recognition, especially of high frequency words, through which they develop the automaticity they need to become fluent readers.

In Key Stage One, book-banded book schemes are used to ensure that the individual reading books given to pupils are well-matched to their reading ability. Positive incentives are used to promote reading regularly at home. Books may be changed daily.

The Reading Dogs are used effectively in English lessons as well as whole class reading sessions to teach the children effectively about reading skills.


Reading at Key Stage Two

In Key Stage Two, guided and whole class reading sessions are used to embed the skills introduced in Key Stage One. The Reading VIPERS are used to consolidate pupil understanding of reading skills, from vocabulary and inference, to prediction, explanations and summarising.

We are just in the process of introducing Accelerated Reader for our KS2 pupils which will more closely align books chosen for independent reading to the child’s reading ability as well as interest level. Online quizzes can be used effectively to ascertain how well the children have understood what they have read as well as using a point system to incentivise reading at home.


Additional support with reading

We recognise that learning to read can be a challenge for some of our learners. We strive to ensure that any learners needing additional support are picked up quickly and interventions introduced to help them to make the accelerated progress they need to be back on track. Due to the impact that Covid-19 has had on some of our learners, we have focussed some of our small group tuition sessions on improving reading fluency and skills, as well as providing additional teaching assistant hours to hear individual readers daily. Precision teaching is also used effectively to support some of our learners in rapid word recognition.