Reading at Thornton


Reading at Thornton

We absolutely love reading at Thornton. We are crazy about books. You will see this throughout the school: in our displays, in our informal book talk, reading for pleasure whenever there’s a spare moment, as well as right across the curriculum in all our teaching. Our school is stocked with a fantastic range of texts. From old and gold classic texts that have been loved for years, to new and bold books that have been published in the last few years. We appreciate books that celebrate the diversity of life at Thornton and in the wider world. There is something for everyone, be it picture books, poetry, graphic novels, all sorts of non-fiction, magazines and of course novels of every kind. We like to say that if you think you don’t enjoy reading, you probably haven’t met the right book yet. So keep exploring because the books are out there!

Reading is taught daily and focuses on three key areas: phonic skills to decode words; reading aloud with fluency and expression; and reading comprehension (understanding what we read). Teaching is personalised to ensure our children receive the support to be successful and are inspired to want to read. In our shared reading sessions, all children participate in discussions around a high- quality text, building on and challenging each other’s ideas. In guided reading sessions, children work in small groups to meet personalised targets and develop ideas further. Many children will also have one-to-one reading to help bridge any gaps in their learning and get back on target. Children have a guided reading book which adults help them choose to ensure it is at a level they will be able to mostly read independently. In addition, children borrow books from their class libraries, the school library, from teachers’ own recommendation piles and from each other. We also enjoy using Epic! Online library for a wider range of books and Reading Plus which is software targeted at developing fluency and comprehension.

Adults regularly read aloud to children. This takes place in lessons across the curriculum, during collective worship and in daily read aloud time. We know that by reading aloud to our children, they hear a wide range of language and ideas that they would not yet be able to access independently. This feeds into their writing, vocabulary development and general understanding and their enjoyment. Children and adults form a community of readers, informally recommending books to each other and sharing the love of reading. We love to borrow books from each other and we love to enjoy books together.


Teaching of Phonics and Early Reading

Although we are a junior school, many of our children need are not readers when they join us. We follow the FFT Success for All phonics programme to support early reading development. This is a systematic synthetic phonics programme for teaching children the grapheme-phoneme correspondence essential for decoding English. We focus on phonics teaching so all children can become fluent readers.

Success for All Phonics is:

  • a coherent and progressive phonics teaching programme
  • structured into six phases to teach the grapheme-phoneme correspondence for reading, writing and spelling
  • used at our feeder school, Sladefield, so we can provide continuity in our children’s learning
  • validated by the Department for Education as a suitable scheme to be used in schools


Phonics is taught in daily intervention lessons in Year Three. Other pupils who require phonics support in Years Four, Five and Six receive targeted interventions. The FFT Success for All Phonics sessions provides opportunity for children to revisit their previous phonics learning, be taught new skills, practise together and apply what they have learned. The spelling of common exception words with more unusual alphabetic code are taught throughout the phases of the programme.