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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Approach to the teaching of reading at Leyburn Primary School

As a staff, we know that our own awareness of children's literature is key to the development of reading across the school and so, in 2019-20, we started a Teachers' Reading Group which meets regularly throughout the year. 


Early Years Foundation Stage

Children benefit hugely by exposure to books from an early age.  With this in mind, the children have access to a wide variety of books in the Foundation Stage and we regularly read stories during the session. We teach phonics based on DfES Letters & Sounds programme which is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills and consists of six phases.  Children are taught this as soon as they enter Nursery and it progresses  into Year 2.

Letters & Sounds is delivered to small groups on a daily basis by a teacher or teaching assistant trained to deliver phonics effectively.  This is the starting point for teaching early reading.  Phase 1 begins in the Lower Foundation Stage and is taught across the six areas of learning with activities which encourage general sound discrimination, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting. 

In the Upper Foundation Stage the phase 1 skills are built upon during phases 2, 3 and 4.  The children  move on from oral blending and segmentation to blending and segmenting with letters.  This enables children to read some words and to spell them.  Other strategies are also used alongside phonics such as recognition of ‘non-decodable words’, also known as high frequency words or ‘tricky words’, syllable division, reading for sense and using picture clues.


Key Stage 1

The daily phonics lessons continue throughout Years 1 and 2 using a range of approaches building on prior learning. This gives children the skills to decode, segment and blend to use in their reading and writing.  The children are also taught sight vocabulary and high frequency words as part of phonics teaching.

We use a variety of phonically decodable texts such as Oxford Reading Tree Songbirds , Collins Big Cat  , Dandelion Readers and Alphakids to offer a broad and varied choice of books which appeal to all children.  All our classrooms have access to book corners or libraries. The children bring a book home which is carefully matched to the level at which they are reading.  Parents and carers are encouraged to listen to their child read and complete the reading record. This doesn’t always have to be a school book!




Reading in Key Stage 2

Reading is a vital skill and should be well established by this time. However, there are some children who may need further support and these children will continue to receive phonics sessions where necessary, including planned sessions with IDL, Catch Up Literacy as well as appropriately targeted books from PhonicBooks. In addition to this, some children in KS2 have access to Reading Plus to support speed, fluency and comprehension.

Children are given every opportunity to demonstrate their ability as readers through a range of activities in a literacy rich environment.

Children are regularly read stories and our long and medium term planning makes use of these as a basis for other work. 

  • Individual reading to class teachers, teaching assistants, students and volunteer helpers.  Parents and carers  are welcomed into the school to support the children in this valuable way.
  • Shared reading
  • Independent and group reading
  • Guided reading
  • Reading at home
  • Using computers and Ipads for research projects
  • Wider curriculum based reading/research
  • Visits from the library service and authors to talk about books and reading
  • Reading in a variety of contexts – individually, to an adult, to an older or younger pupil, as a member of a group, to the class, in assemblies and in school performances.


We believe in the value of books and the pleasure they can give. By ensuring a sound foundation in phonics, focussing on decoding and improving reading fluency we work hard to give children the skill to read. By using a wide range of texts, we aim to then give them the will read and to inspire their interest and enthusiasm in books and reading. 



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