Aiming High Learning for Life


At Putnoe Primary, we recognise the fundamental role reading plays in children’s lives and strive to help children become fluent and confident readers. We also recognise the impact reading ability and enjoyment has on a child’s future academic achievement, wellbeing, and success in future life. The reading and writing of Standard English, alongside proficient language development, is the key to unlocking the rest of the curriculum. Children that cannot read fluently are at risk of not fully accessing the wider curriculum. It is our aim that all children develop a love for reading, language and books.

We have planned our reading so that children experience a diverse range of stories and books, to help them better understand the world around them. We explicitly teach vocabulary and try to use conversations and texts to introduce children to new words. We have an attractive and resourceful school library, which has a wide range of books to foster the love of reading for all. We use phonics as the main approach to the teaching of early reading, so that children can decode unfamiliar and unknown words confidently; this then leads to children who are able to read fluently and better comprehend the texts they read. We use a banded colour system to set reading books for early readers, so that they are able to access the books confidently with the reading skills they have at any particular point. We encourage reading at home each day both with an adult or independently; we reward children that take part in reading and have facilities for those children that are unable to read at home. We strive for parents and teachers to work together to help children develop the essential skills of reading – decoding, fluency, expression and comprehension.  Throughout the year, we carefully plan author visits and studies, so that children are inspired to read and write for a purpose.

Reception and Key Stage 1

We teach early reading with a mainly phonetical approach, using the ‘Monster Phonics’ scheme. Children begin by learning the sounds for single letters, and then move on to 2 letter sounds (digraphs) and 3 letter sounds (trigraphs) when they have mastered the single letter sounds. Children have a daily phonics lesson in reception, Year 1 and Year 2.

Alongside phonics lesson, which teach decoding and encoding, children also access a wide range of stories, songs and poems. Classes have a daily storytime so that they can hear high-quality vocabulary, language and pick up the rhythm of storytelling. We encourage children to talk about their reading, as this helps to embed newly learned vocabulary and develops comprehension of texts.

Key Stage 2

Every Key Stage 2 class has a daily reading lesson, which lasts at least 30 minutes. Our intention is that children access full novels, and we therefore have a class novel for each term allocated to each year group. This has been chosen due to the interesting storyline, links to other curriculum area and we have also focussed on the vocabulary used by the author. During these lessons, we also use extracts from quality texts to teach specific elements of reading, for example vocabulary or inference. The children record their learning in their reading journal during most reading lessons.

Children in Key Stage 2 visit the school library once per week, where they work with the librarian and other staff to chose books and create book reviews -this encourages an evaluative approach to reading.

Reading for children with Special Educational Needs

We recognise the wide range of learning challenges that some children may experience, and the impact this has on them accessing the both the reading curriculum and the wider curriculum. Therefore, we ensure children are given appropriate phonics instruction relevant to their needs. We give specific targets for individuals, that become the focus of their learning; these are reviewed and altered regularly and as necessary. The routines we use in lessons are similar each day, so that children find familiarity in the way the lesson is delivered. We also provide opportunity for over-learning and repetition of key stories and vocabulary.

Ways you can support your child with reading at home

We ask that children read at least 5 times per week at home, and that information about this is recorded in their reading log. Children return their books to school on a regular basis so they can change them for a book of their choice. Encourage children to use their phonic knowledge to decode unfamiliar words, identify repeated language and tell them what new, unknown words mean.

Children love to be read to. If you can find time before-hand, read the book aloud to yourself, so you can think about how you will read it to your child. On the first reading:

  • Make reading feel like a treat. Make it a special, quiet time and cuddle up so that you can both see the book
  • Show curiosity about what you’re going to read. ‘This book looks interesting. It's about an angry child. I wonder….’
  • Read through the whole story the first time without stopping too much. Let the story weave its own magic. Read with enjoyment. If you’re not enjoying it, your child won’t
  • Read favourite stories over and over again

On later readings:

  • Let your child pause, think about and comment on pictures
  • If you think your child didn’t understand something, try to explain
  • Chat about the story and the pictures ‘I wonder why she did that.’
  • Link stories with what your child knows about ‘Ah. Do you remember when…?’
  • Link stories to your own family experiences ‘This reminds me of when…’
  • Encourage your child to join in with the bits they know

The 'Words for Life' website has some useful tips about how you can share stories with your child.  Click here to read these.