A book is a device to ignite the imagination.
At Thomas’s Academy phonics is taught from nursery using the Read Write Inc. Scheme.
Read Write Inc. provides a structured and systematic approach to teaching literacy. It is used by more than a quarter of the UK’s primary schools and is designed to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers.
More detail about our phonics approach can be found here.
We use a wide variety of reading schemes to provide children with a range of books at their level at the early stages of their reading development. Every child will bring a book home every day in their book bag and the expectation is that they will read every evening with an adult or a sibling. Our main schemes are the Oxford Reading Tree, Tree Tops, Collins Big Cat and Project X. Once the class teacher is happy with a pupil's reading and comprehension of books within a stage they are progressed on to the next stage. When a pupil completes the stage, the class teacher moves the pupil on to being a ‘Super Reader.’ At this point pupils are able to read a book from the Super Reader Author collections held in school. Once this is complete, the child will move to be a ‘Free Reader’ where they can choose their own book from our extensive library.
Children from Year 3 onward work in ability groups every day for 30 minutes to work through a carousel of activities including group reading, listening activities, free reading, comprehension tasks etc. Each group session will focus on a particular learning focus, based on previous assessment. The impact of this approach is that all pupils get an opportunity to read to the teacher every week as part of a high-quality, well-planned activity. This approach is also used to assess pupil progress in reading and to highlight any pupils who require extra 1:1 support. Those children in these classes working within the phonic phases will receive additional support through the ‘Read Write Inc.’ approach until they are ready to transition to Guided Reading activities.
We encourage parents to read regularly with children at home. Every child brings a reading book home every day, and a record book is provided for parents to share their comments about the reading they are doing at home. We also have a large group of Volunteer Readers who work alongside our team of Teaching Assistants to read 1:1 with pupils. This is specifically focused on the younger children in the school and on supporting those pupils further up the school who require extra help with their reading.
Reading For Pleasure
We also believe in the importance of reading for pleasure and we allow children time to explore the School Library and/or their classroom libraries. Teachers will also read to their class regularly, choosing books from our school ‘Literature Spine’ (see below). The list exposes the children to inspirational authors, a range of genres and key texts that we would want them to have encountered by the time they leave primary education.
Thomas’s Academy Literature Spine
||Book, author, (possible English unit)
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen (Well known stories / patterned language).
The Gingerbread Man (Traditional Tales)
Where’s Spot, by Eric Hill
Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell
Mog and Meg, by Helen Nicoll
Each Peach Pear Plum, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (Well known stores / nursery rhymes)
Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell (Stories with familiar settings).
Billy’s Beetle, by Mick Inkpen
Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister
Not Now Bernard, by David McKee
The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson (Fantasy)
Dogger, by Shirley Hughes (Stories with Familiar Settings)
Can’t You Sleep Little Bear?, by Martin Waddell
The Cat that Scratched, by Jonathan Long
The Mousehole Cat, by Antonia Barber
The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark, by Jill Tomlinson (extended stories / recounts)
Fantastic Mr Fox, by Roald Dahl (information texts)
The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch – Ronda and David Armitage
The Minpins, by Roald Dahl
Flat Stanley, by Jeff Brown (information texts)
The Ice Palace, by Robert Swindells
The Hodgeheg, by Dick King Smith
Diary of a Killer Cat, by Anne Fine
The Firework-Makers Daughter, by Philip Pullman (Persuasion)
I was a Rat!, by Philip Pullman (Fantasy)
Varjak Paw, by SF Said (Fantasy)
Grandpa Chatterji, by Jamila Gavin
Bill’s New Frock, by Anne Fine (Issues and dilemmas)
Butterfly Lion, by Michael Morpurgo
The BFG, by Roald Dahl
Usborne Book of Greek Heroes (Myths and Legends)
The Highwayman, by Alfred Noyes
Wolf Brother, by Michelle Paver (Stories from other cultures)
One Thousand and One Arabian Nights by Geraldine McCaughrean
War Horse, by Michael Morpurgo
Beowulf, by Michael Morpurgo (Myths and Legends)
Boy, by Roald Dahl (autobiographies and biographies)
Anne Frank Diary
Why the Whales came, by Michael Morpurgo
Skellig, by David Almond
Goodnight Mr Tom, Michelle Magorian (Discussion)
The Midnight Fox, by Betsy Byers (Narrative)
Zoo by Anthony Browne
Journey to the River Sea, by Eva Ibbotson