Reading at Sticklepath

Reading is a key part of a child's education

In Reception and KS1, the first steps towards reading are taken; decoding text in order to make sense of it independently. An important part of this process is their daily phonics lesson based on the Letters and Sounds Approach - how to read and write words by breaking them down into their individual sounds (not letters). 


During phonics, children will rehearse reading words that contain the sound that they are currently learning and will also learn to read ‘tricky words’ - words that cannot be read phonetically e.g. said, the. 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 or 2:1 with a teaching assistant or volunteer helper. The number of times a week that this takes place depends on the needs of the individual child.


This will be recorded in the child’s reading diary and also logged in class. The children’s reading learning journey begins with books that have very few words in them, and are in the lilac book band. Children are carefully assessed at each book band, ensuring that their decoding and comprehension skills are strong enough for them to move to the next coloured band. If they still have progress to make within the same coloured band, they will remain there until they are ready to move on. This ensures that each child is reading a book from which they can learn the most, in every reading session. The book bands start at lilac level (pre‐reading) and finishes at navy. After this then they are regarded as ‘free readers.’

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. 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.  

Children are encouraged to read at home as much as possible! Those children who read daily usually do make much quicker progress than those who do not. In KS1 there are baskets of banded books in each classroom which the children may take home. Across the whole school every child is encouraged to take home two books from the school library. Even when a child is a fluent decoder, it is still important for them to read aloud to a parent and discuss the text, checking their understanding and making links with the world around them. In this way, each child makes as much progress as possible and becomes the best reader that they can be.