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Reading at Sticklepath

Reading is a key part of a child's education

At heart of our Sticklepath Academy is our amazing library, from which reading flows out to all corners of the school. The library is a fantastic place to read, discover and share the love of books. We are committed to making a visit to the library a wonderful experience with our full time librarian on hand to offer advice and support when choosing one of nearly 6000 books that are displayed on the shelves. All the classes visit the library with their teachers each week to listen to stories, research information and exchange books. At lunchtimes, the library is run by our incredible Year 6 librarians, who read to and with the younger children.  The library is just one element of our approach to developing readers for pleasure.


Nurturing, developing and celebrating the love of reading is a passion at Sticklepath Academy. Every year, during March, Mrs Oke, our inspirational drama and reading for pleasure lead, organises a stunning week of book themed activities that coincide with World Book Day. Quizzes, dressing up, cake making, songs and dance are just some of the ingredients that contribute to a week of fun and joy in which everyone in the school community can get involved. But growing a love of reading is much more than our library and incredible book weeks. It is the passion and enthusiasm of all our staff for books, for language, for knowledge, for challenge, for adventure, for imagination and more alongside the carefully crafted reading curriculum that develops our children as engaged, enthusiastic and skilled readers.

From the earliest ages at Sticklepath Academy, the children know the importance of being a reader.  Our wonderful teacher led Nursery has developed a way of planning we call “Language Led Learning” which puts developing vocabulary and oracy at the very core of the curriculum.

In Reception, we build on the oracy, vocabulary and blending skills developed in the Nursery. Our daily phonics lessons are structured and sequenced to ensure all learners achieve. Children learn that letters make sounds and they learn to blend sounds together to read words. When they are secure in this, they learn that some words cannot be sounded out and these are called tricky words. In a very short space of time, our children become readers! Children take home two books each week. One from the library that they would like an adult to read to them and one they are going to read to you. The books the children read are precisely matched to the phonics they have been learning in class and are vital for building fluency and confidence.

 When children start school in Reception, they will start learning to read by sharing a book 1:1 with an adult. Once they are able to follow text they will then usually read in a guided reading group with several other children. This gives them the opportunity to develop early comprehension skills alongside their new decoding knowledge. This guided reading format continues throughout the whole school. Each child will take part in a guided session each week, led by a teacher or a teaching assistant. In addition to this, some children will read 1:1 with a teaching assistant or additional reading specialists. The number of times a week that this takes place depends on the needs of the individual child.

Pupils continue to follow our Sticklepath School Phonics Programme through Reception to the end of Year 2 with books continuing to match the taught content.  As each child progresses through the school, so the books that they read will become increasingly challenging, until they are able to decode the huge majority of words that they will meet.  Children then move onto a colour banded scheme as they become proficient readers, usually during year 2. The book banding scheme continues through to the age related expectation at Year 4 on which they become “free readers.”

At this stage the focus is almost totally on fully comprehending the text; this might be individual words, phrases, chapters or even comparing two complete texts. In order to really stretch these independent decoders, reading is taught through guided reading as part of a group. Discussions are initially led by the teacher, although children increasingly adopt this role as they become older.

It is our expectation that children will read at home as much as possible! Those children who read daily usually do make much quicker progress than those who do not.

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