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Thorpe Lea Primary School

'A dedicated community working together, nurturing a safe, happy school where all children can achieve their potential'

Reading at Thorpe Lea Primary School

Reading at Thorpe Lea Primary School


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 the Age of 6)


We aim to ensure that all children have the chance to follow an enriching curriculum by getting them reading early: learning to read → reading to learn

Competence in reading is the key to independent learning and has a direct effect on progress in all other areas of the curriculum. We want our children to be ‘readers’, not just children who can read. Meek (1983) believes that, ‘Readers are made when they discover the activity is worth it.’


The teaching of reading must be carefully planned to meet the needs of all of our children taking into account low literacy baselines and inconsistent home support. We recognise the importance of taking a consistent whole school approach to the teaching of reading to close any gaps and to target the highest possible number of children to attain:

  • End of FS Secure 40-60 months
  • End of Y1 (Reading by the age of 6) Reading Recovery book level 16+ (Orange bookband)
  • End of KS1 – L2+
  • End of KS2 – L4+


There are three key areas that we consider crucial for reading success: 1. Reading Mileage 2. Skilled adults 3. Appropriate level texts (Aiming for 90% and above accuracy)


Reading Mileage

According to Arlington et al 2008, ‘Some researchers suggest beginning readers need to read 600-1000 words a week to become competent readers’.

At Thorpe Lea, every attempt is made to ensure that our children gain ‘reading mileage.’ This means ensuring that the children have opportunities to read wherever possible, both within Reading lessons and across the curriculum.

Throughout the school, all children are encouraged to choose books which they would like to read and are given the skills needed to choose books which are appropriate.

Opportunities for extending reading mileage at Thorpe Lea are:

- Individual Reading ( 1:1 reading with an adult in school)

- Shared Reading

- Guided Reading

- Reading across the creative curriculum

- Independent reading

- Home reading


Children should also listen to stories read aloud on a regular basis.


Appropriate Level Texts

At Thorpe Lea we understand the importance of children enjoying the reading process and how this can be impeded if the children are faced with texts which are inaccessible. Therefore, staff ensure that the texts that the children are reading are sufficiently accessible, so that at least 90% of the words are decodable. In addition, it is important to check that the children are understanding the text – reading is a ‘message getting activity’ (Clay) not simply a decoding activity.


Accuracy rate 95-100%. The reader is reading a text which is EASY. A high level of success will be experienced. Texts that children read independently of adult support should be of this level.


Accuracy rate 90-94%. The reader is reading a text which is INSTRUCTIONAL. At this level, children will require adult support in order to decode at a rate which does not impede comprehension. This level of text could be (is) appropriate for guided reading or reading with an adult.


Accuracy rate 50-89%. The reader is reading a text which is HARD. The rate of reading will be too slow for the children to comprehend what they have read. A child found to be reading a text of this level should be encouraged to change their book. This might be to a book at a lower level or an easier book at the same level. The adult also might decide to read the book to the child first, share-read the book or ‘introduce’ the story and characters first – this might shift the book from hard to instructional level and enable the child to carry one with texts at this level.


Reading books and guided reading books up to NC level 3c are levelled according to book bands. Within each book band there is a range of books from different reading schemes. The book band chart shows progression and is linked to NC levels. Once children are finding ‘lime’ books easy with good understanding, they become a ‘free reader’, choosing books from their class book corner and school library. Teachers monitor ‘free readers’ to ensure that the books they are choosing are suitably challenging and age appropriate.



Regular, ongoing and accurate assessment is essential to inform planning and ensure that all children make progress.

Teachers use individual reading record sheets for each child in the class. The record sheets have appropriate objectives taken from Assessing Pupils Progress (APP) for each sublevel from level 1c-5a. Teachers use these to accurately determine the level of the children in their class across 7 assessment foci.

There are also sheets related to pink/red bookbands (for children in reception and year 1 who are working towards level 1) and P5-P8 (for children from year 2 upwards who are still working towards level 1). Teachers and TAs record relevant comments/observations during individual reading, guided reading, shared reading or class story time.

We have assessment week 6 times a year / collect data


Parental Involvement

We acknowledge that it is the job of school staff to teach a child how to read and to develop as a reader. However, we know that the best readers will also be reading within the home environment. Parents are encouraged to listen to their children read at home and able readers are expected to read independently at home to build reading mileage. Children take a ‘reading book’ home every day.


Parents are asked to comment/sign their children’s reading record book every time their child reads at home. In upper Key Stage 2, pupils take more responsibility for logging when they have read and write a comment about what they have read.