Expect More


Everybody knows that learning to read is a fundamental skill for life. It is a skill that we want all children to love and enjoy.  From the moment children join us in Nursery we want them to love books and to have a fun pleasurable experience sharing books with others.  We want children to understand how books work.  As a result, we have created wonderful book packs with quality text and props for children to share with an adult.  Each pack has a guidance card on how the book can be shared and how the props can be used.  These packs are changed weekly and are incredibly popular.  We have recently expanded our offer to include a selection of quality texts with a mathematical focus.

In Reception, children at Barnes are taught the sounds made by individual, pairs and clusters of letters. They read graded books with strongly patterned language and picture cues. In reception class and in Year 1, children have regular phonics sessions that assist them to recognise letters, understand the sound they make and blend these sounds together to create words. Letter-sound correspondence is taught through a highly structured synthetic phonic approach. Alongside this they learn to instantly recognise by sight the most common words in the English language. Many of these words are not phonically regular and it is important that they develop automation in their sight vocabulary. They see a word and instantly recognise it, without trying to sound it out. This automatic sight recognition of  common words is crucial, as they appear so regularly in all the texts they encounter.

Guidance on reading for parents

More common words

Third sheet of common words

Recommended booklist for EYFS

To teach beginning readers about letter-sound correspondence we use a government publication called Letters and Sounds’, alongside a commercial scheme called ‘Jolly Phonics’. The aim of this scheme is to equip children with the phonic knowledge and skills they need to become fluent readers by the age of seven. It is a six phased scheme which is taught in Nursery through to Year Two.

YR Phonics overview 20-21 – Parents Reference

Nursery – Phase 1

Reception – Phases 2, 3 and starting 4

Year 1 – Phase 4 and 5

Year 2 – Phase 6

Jolly phonics mnemonics are used when introducing the children to individual letter sounds.

Our graded reading scheme – which incorporates a range of books from different highly evaluated series introduces children to new words gradually.  We use a selection of schemes including Oxford Reading Tree, Big Cat Phonics, Rigby Star and Project X. These books are levelled into colour bands so that children can progress through the books in levels of difficulty. Reading deliberately patterned, simple, repetitive grammatical structures helps children to achieve early success. This success creates confidence – an essentail prerequistite for ongoing, successful learning. We use another commercial scheme graded reading book scheme ‘Read, Write Inc’ to support children who are finding reading more challenging.

Learning to decode text accurately is just the start of the reading  journey.  Reading is all about establishing meaning and appreciating the purpose and intentions of the writer. Teachers focus on developing seven aspects of learning:

AspectReading strategiesKey phrase
1Use a range of strategies, including accurate decoding of text, to read for meaningDecode accuratelyRead with basic understanding (recall)
2Understand, describe, select or retrieve information, events or ideas from texts and use quotation and reference to text Seek, find and understandLiteral response to text. Refer to examples in the text
3Deduce, infer or interpret information, events or ideas from textsInference and deduction. Read between the lines; interpret information; put yourself in the character’s shoesUse evidence from the text to support views
4Identify and comment on the structure and organisation of texts, including grammatical and presentational features at text levelWhy is the text presented and organised as it is?Comment on structure. Comment on presentational features
5Explain and comment on the writers’ use of language, including grammatical and literary features at word and sentence levelWhy did the writer use that word/phrase/image/sentence construction/ punctuation? Awareness of the impact of the language used on the reader; literary awareness
6Identify and comment on the writers’ purposes and viewpoints, and the overall effectWhat are the ‘big messages about life’ here?What are the writer’s attitudes, values and view on the world?What is the writer’s purpose?
7Relate texts to their cultural and historical contexts and literary traditionsWhat style of writing is this? Which literary genre does it sit in?How does this text relate to the world of literature?Can you put the text in context: socially/historically/culturally?

To help develop children develop these skills adults should pose questions for them when they are reading. The links below are to a range of generic question prompts that adults can use to formulate questions to pose when their child is reading.

Reading questions

What are the books that children at Barnes study in their English units of learning? Click here to find the titles that will be studied in different classes.

Reading journals – All pupils have a reading journal. For young children this serves as a dialogue between the class teacher and parents about:

  • the book the child has read
  • what page they have got up to
  • how they read
  • how well matched the book was to the child’s ability level
  • any words they found hard

For more fluent readers in Year 2 and for all readers from Year 3 onwards, the reading journal becomes something else: a record of a child’s personal response, in writing, to the books they are reading. Please click on the link below for a list of the types of responses pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6 can make to what they read.

In Year 3 we set the following reading journal reading challenges

Key stage 2 recommended reading lists:

Reading list pre-2019

Readling list 2019-20

Some further ideas regarding what to write in a reading journal:

What to write in a  reading journal