Shenton Primary School

Empowering and nurturing young minds to achieve excellence



The school follows the National Curriculum for Literacy - Reading & Writing.

At Shenton Primary School Reading, is prioritised because we recognise that it is an essential skill which underpins a child’s ability to access the wider curriculum and allows them to broaden their vocabulary and develop vivid imaginations. “The best primary schools in England teach virtually every child to read, regardless of the social and economic circumstances of their neighbourhoods, the ethnicity of their pupils, the language spoken at home and most special educational needs or disabilities.” Reading by Six, Ofsted (2010).

This is the aspiration we have for each of our children to enable them to enter the world of work as articulate and literate individuals with a strong love of Reading. It is an essential skill needed to be successful in society.


Below you will find some information about how you can help your child with Reading.



Reading is one of the most important skills your child needs. Once they have learned to read, they can learn for themselves.

There are 3 main stages of learning to read:

Learning about Reading

Learning to read (decode) the words accurately.

Learning to read for meaning.



When your child is born they are learning everything from you, their families. Would your child see you read at home? What would they see you read?

Some parents start sharing books with their child from the day they are born. These books are often made of fabric or plastic. Children learn how to hold a book, how to turn the pages and that a book/story has a sequence to it. They also learn to use the pictures to help them understand what is happening.


At this stage you may be given some sight words on flash cards. These are words that are not decodable. Your child needs to be able to say the word without hesitation to develop a sight vocabulary. We would like you to practise them with your child. Here are the first 45 sight words that Reception children need to learn and the next set of words for KS1 children.

Your child will bring home a reading book. Most of the words the children will be able to sound out using their phonic skills and knowledge of sight words.

If your child reaches a difficult word you have 2 choices. You can tell them the word, or you can ask them to 'Look at the letters, make the sounds and blend them together'. This is exactly what teachers say when reading with your child at school.

We will not ask you to teach your child 'sounds' or phonemes. This will be taught daily at school. If you have any questions about this please talk to us.


Once your child has reached Gold / Silver bands, your child should be reading quite fluently. Now is the time to really help your child learn from what they read, the best way to do this is to ask questions. Use the 5 W's to help you:





The hardest question to ask is Why....?



1.Choose a book that you think your child will enjoy.

2.Read the second page together.

3.Count each word your child is not sure of, or doesn't know.

4.If there is more than 1 word per sentence that your child does not know, then you should choose an easier book. This will help to ensure they are learning from their reading as well as meeting some new words.



The school uses 'Reading Recovery' levels and PM Books as the core of our reading scheme. Each stage of the reading scheme has a coloured band. Other scheme books such as Collins Big Cats and Project X are also used to add variety to the colour bands. Your child will have a reading  book, at their level, to take home through this stage. Please listen to your child read every day during this stage. 


Children in the early stages of learning to read are also given a decodable reading book which helps them to apply the phonic sounds they have been learning when reading words and sentences.

The Teaching of Phonics

At Shenton, in the Foundation Stage and Year 1, we have daily phonics lessons using the DFE validated programme ALS Phonics: Letters and Sounds. The programme aims to provide a solid and continuous approach to the teaching of a systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme in Nursery, Reception and KS1.

Teachers ensure that pupils learn new grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and revise and consolidate those learnt earlier. The understanding that the letter(s) on the page represent the sounds in spoken words underpin pupils' reading and spelling of all words. This includes common words containing unusual GPCs. The term ‘common exception words’ is used throughout the programmes of study for such words.

Alongside this knowledge of GPCs, pupils develop the skill of blending the sounds into words for reading and establish the habit of applying this skill whenever they encounter new words. This is supported by practising their reading with decodable books consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and skill. At the same time they will need to hear, share and discuss a wide range of high-quality books to develop a love of reading and broaden their vocabulary.


Shared Reading

Shared Reading is taught using a big book in the Early Years and Year 1. Lessons takes place for 20 mins three times a week in Nursery and Reception and three times a week within a fortnightly cycle in Year 1. The children have the opportunity to practise decoding words, sight words and simple comprehension skills.

In Year 2-6 Shared Reading is part of the Literacy cycle. Whole class shared reading takes place once a week for 30 mins where there is the direct teaching of comprehension strategies through the class literacy text. These comprehension strategies include visualising, asking questions, summarising, linking sentences, using working memory, using inference and using grammar knowledge. Shared reading allows the teacher to model the comprehension strategies that good readers use when they are reading. Children then have opportunities to apply these skills with shorter pieces of text. See Long Term Plan, which outlines the comprehension strategies taught in each year group and the text being used.

Guided Reading

Guided Reading takes place daily at Shenton. This small group, structured session gives the children the opportunity to apply the skills taught in Shared Reading with a book that is at their reading level. The children work with an adult to read an unfamiliar text that has been chosen to reinforce, challenge and further develop their independent reading strategies. Careful questioning ensures children are reading for meaning and are able to understand the text. Guided reading records are kept for each group and are based on age related expectation targets.

Children are assessed using PM Bench Marking Kits, to ensure that they are reading the correct colour band book. This enables both pace of reading and sufficient challenge to help progress children’s reading fluency and comprehension skills.

Children in the early stages of learning to read also have a guided reading session using decodable books so they can apply the phonic knowledge they have been learning in class when reading words and sentences.

Reading Trackers

The Leicester City Reading Standard Descriptions include age related objectives that children are expected to meet by the end of the academic year. Teachers use the tracker sheets when assessing children's reading ability to record what a pupil can do and what they need to do to improve. The trackers demonstrate the progress a child makes across the year.