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Reading at Darrington

At Darrington CE Primary School, we all agree that reading is a fundamental life skill, a means of opening our children’s eyes to the world, to learning and to enjoyment. At Darrington, we have an immersive approach to reading so that it is a fundamental part of the fabric of the school. We understand the importance of developing a love of reading alongside developing the skill of reading so that children are equipped to read for pleasure throughout their lives.

The Library

Due to the limited space in school, there are 2 Key Stage libraries. They have both fiction and non-fiction books and have books for pupils from age 3 to beyond age 11. Pupils are taught to use the library from an early age. Our staff have an extensive knowledge of fiction and non-fiction.

New texts are displayed and available in the library each week, along with similar texts and texts by the same author.

Shared areas and corridors

Books and language form a core part of our shared areas which have book and artefact displays linked to topics. Books are displayed on easels, open at the page to draw in the reader. Topic language is also displayed to support the development of vocabulary. Book displays are changed every time the topic changes.


Like our shared areas, classrooms will also have book displays linked to the curriculum. These too will be displayed on easels, open at the page. These displays will also have artefacts and labels displaying key topic vocabulary.

Every classroom will have a reading area that is inviting and comfortable. The reading area should be a pleasant place to choose to curl up with a book. All reading areas will be well stocked, but not over stocked, with books suitable for the year group. Books will be displayed, where possible, cover facing. This is so that children may be drawn in and select books with ease. Books will be organised into genres. For example, adventure, mystery, traditional tales. In this way, children will develop an understanding of their favourite type of book and will be able to select from that genre with ease.

Reading across the curriculum

The school has built an extensive range of books linked to all topics taught. This will enable staff to use books as a source of inspiration for learning. It also ensures that pupils make the link with reading for a purpose.

Curriculum books and year group texts are shared with parents on the class pages of the school website. These texts form year group book lists that we encourage our pupils and families to read.

Home School Reading

Every child at Darrington CE Primary School will have a home school reading book accompanied by a home school reading record. Reading books will be taken home each night and brought back to school every day in their school book bag. If a child forgets their book bag, the class teacher or teaching assistant will telephone the parent to request that the book bag be brought into school.

It is crucial that home school reading books are pitched correctly to meet the needs of the child. The home school reading book should be one book band lower than the band being taught within school. For example, if a child is reading Grey band in school as part of the reading lesson, they should be reading Brown at home to consolidate their skills. The home school book should have a 95% readability level for the child. It is crucial that teachers and teaching assistants regularly listen to the home school book of each child to ensure that the pitch of the book remains correct. There is no expectation that each child will read each book within a colour band. Children should be moved up through the bands as they become ready. It is perfectly suitable for a child to skip bands, should they demonstrate that they can read and discuss the content of a book. It is normal that, as a result of effective teaching of reading, children will progress swiftly through the book banding system.

Children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 should be heard to read their home school book at least once per week by the teacher and this will be recorded in their record. Children who are not yet reading at the expected level for their age will be heard more frequently. Children in Key Stage 2 who are not yet fluent readers with a reading age that is age appropriate will be heard a minimum of twice per week by a teacher. Children who are fluent readers at an age appropriate level in Key Stage 2 will be heard to read once per fortnight by an adult.

Children must not be taken out of core lessons to read. Hearing readers should take place during SODA time, and at an appropriate time during other activities such as story time.

It is an expectation that every child reads ‘4 times in their own time’ and this is recorded by an adult. This may be at home with a parent. For those children who do not read at home with a parent, the school provides a daily lunchtime reading club in each phase to facilitate reading ‘in their own time’. It is an expectation that pupils who have not read 4 times at home have the opportunity to attend reading club in the library area to ensure they do not fall behind. Teachers are expected to ensure that this happens for identified pupils. Children’s commitment to reading will be celebrated in school.

Every Key Stage has a collection of book banded home school readers. Each selection is different to avoid repetition of texts. Pupils may also choose to take home books from the book corner in their classroom under the supervision of a member of staff. The home school books are maintained and managed by a designated Teaching Assistant from each Key Stage.

Guided Reading

Until the stage at which a child can decode text fluently, the skills for doing this are taught through Guided reading sessions. This is taught alongside comprehension and forms part of the teaching of reading across the week. The frequency of Guided reading sessions will vary across the school linked to the proportions of pupils who are not yet fluent but will be no more than 2 sessions per week. It is expected that most pupils will have a level of fluency that means they no longer require regular guided reading sessions by the time they leave Year 2. Small groups of pupils may need guided reading intervention sessions during the afternoon in KS2 to aid fluency and support them to catch up.

Whole Class Teaching of Reading

The core programme for teaching reading is whole class shared reading taught through the use of quality texts where possible linked to the wider curriculum. Teaching is based on the reading domains and the use of quality question stems to ensure children gain a deep understanding of text and can retrieve or infer evidence from the text to support their answers. Shared reading is taught from the Early Years upwards with increasing frequency across the week and is taught every day in KS2. The shared reading sessions are a minimum of 40 minutes long and follow a prescribed teaching sequence always beginning with text orientation and annotation. Pupils are taught and modelled a domain and are then given an opportunity to independently work on that domain as part of the cycle. Work demonstrating the sequence is recorded in pupils Reading Exercise Books at least 3 times per week. Teacher, peer or self-assessment is used to review work and suggest improvements in line with the guidance policy.

Assessing Reading

Reading is assessed formatively each week through individual, guided and shared reading. Teachers and Teaching Assistants maintain records relating to reading assessments in their files. This includes annotating planning. Pupils summatively complete phonic assessments to ensure reading is matched to ability. Pupils complete a PIRA test each term from which teachers undertake gap analysis to inform their planning. Reading assessments are recorded on OTrack at each KPI point in order to track pupils reading progress and attainment.