At Thornhill Primary School, we are passionate about reading and we feel that reading is at the centre of our curriculum. We believe in the importance of developing children’s phonics skills as early readers, moving onto comprehension skills when children are ready. We understand the importance to develop children’s love of books and reading. 

Our Reading Curriculum

Reading Intent Statement

Phonics and Early Reading

Please click below to read our Early Reading Policy at Thornhill:

Thornhill Phonics and Early Reading Policy

Our School Leadership Prioritises Reading

The headteacher, along with other leaders, prioritises reading at Thornhill. The headteacher meets regularly with the Early Reading Lead, to discuss priorities in training, analyse data and look at ways forward. She often visits phonics lessons to check consistency across school. The headteacher gives the Reading Leaders and staff the time and opportunity for training. 

Love of Reading is Promoted

The love of reading is promoted widely across school. Staff are passionate about reading, which inspires children. Carefully selected texts are read daily to children by the teacher. This gives the teacher chance to emphasise their story voice and illustrate their excitement at new stories. Teachers choose their books using CLPE for guidance (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) to ensure that the texts are of high quality and age appropriate. Reading corners have been developed to promote a love of reading. Each year group have a carefully selected range of texts, which are inclusive and diverse because we understand that children need to see themselves in the books they read, as well as seeing beyond what they know in order to learn about the experiences of others. This selection includes non-fiction, fiction and poetry.  Each class are encouraged to choose the text they listen to therefore improving their vocabulary, fluency and excitement around reading. In addition to this, recommended books are displayed in the book area, to encourage children to want to read them. Each half term teachers choose a reading champion, who have displayed an outstanding effort in reading. In our reading diaries, parents are given ideas on how to support children at home with reading. This includes the phonics sounds/spellings and comprehension questions.

This is a sample of the carefully selected texts that teachers read aloud to their class:

Thornhill Foundation Sample Book List

Thornhill KS1 Sample Book List

Thornhill LKS2 Sample Book List

Thornhill UKS2 Sample Book List

We are continuously adding to this selection as we find new and exciting texts.

Content and Sequence Supports Progress

At Thornhill, all staff are highly trained in delivering the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds programme.

The programme has a strong focus on teaching children to know and remember more. Children are taught daily, from Reception upwards. The Little Wandle Letters and Sound programme follows a pattern of:

Review/ Revisit- Previously taught sounds and words are continuously reviewed and revisited at the beginning of every Phonics lesson. 

Teach and Practice – Children are taught a new sound following the same sequence daily.

Practice Thoroughly- Children have the opportunity to practise reading the sound in words, including multi-syllabic words. 

Apply- Children apply reading their new sounds in closely matched, phonically decodable books. 

Assess- Children are regularly assessed by teacher or Reading Leaders. Teachers assess throughout the lesson to check that children understand. Catch up sessions are in place for children, who do not make enough progress during the lesson to ensure they do not get left behind.

Children are also assessed in KS2 and if necessary, also take part in regular phonics sessions, which also follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds programme.

Please click on the programme overview below to see how we want children to progress through the Little Wandle Letters and Sound programme and what we expect them to know by the end of Foundation and Year 1.

Programme Overview

Pupils Falling Behind Catch Up Quickly  (If falling behind every 3 weeks)

Children who are falling behind are quickly identified during phonics sessions. Children are assessed every half term (6 weeks), but they can be assessed sooner than this, if necessary. A support plan is put in place for these children and shares these with the teachers and teaching assistants. These support plans include four layers of provision to be put in place for children.     

  1. The daily phonics lesson is taught robustly. 
  2. The child has extra phonics sessions in the afternoon. This is delivered by a trained adult.
  3. Parents are directed to the Little Wandle parents’ videos.
  4. Adults listen to these children read every day. 

Phonics from the Beginning of Reception

Phonics is taught from the very beginning of Foundation Stage. We believe that a strong start in Reception has a big impact on children’s progress and confidence in reading. By the end of the Foundation Stage, we want children to be able to read all of the Phase 2 and Phase 3 sounds in words. Children are identified from the beginning if they are falling behind.  

Phonically Decodable Books

From Foundation Stage, books are sent home with children. Their focus is language acquisition and listening to stories being read to them. As children begin Little Wandle Letters and Sounds, they are sent home with sound cards to practise their sounds (need to check if teachers are sending key rings home). Following this, they will take a perfectly matched phonically decodable book home with them. This continues, until children have moved securely off the programme. This is to encourage parents to read with their children, which will encourage their fluency and vocabulary. Books are changed weekly, so children have time to practise these reading skills. At school, adults regularly listen to children who struggle with their fluency.

Staff are Early Reading Experts

All staff at Thornhill, from nursery to KS2, have been trained in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds phonics. The Reading Leaders attend regular training sessions to ensure that they are aware of any updates. This is then relayed back to staff in school. All staff have access to online CPD, where they have access to all the training modules. The Reading Leaders direct staff to training videos and staff are given time to watch them.

Reading Curriculum

  • When children have securely moved off the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds programme, they will be assessed and placed on the colour banding system and they will work on their comprehension during reading lessons. Comprehension skills are facilitated through using a mixture of ‘Cracking Comprehension’ and ‘Reading Comprehension Express’. During these lessons, children are taught how to retrieve information from the text, discuss the meaning of new vocabulary, answer inference questions, predict what will happen next and sequence events. These skills are then applied during individual reading sessions.
  • Reading fluency is something we are keen for our children to have during their reading. We teach and assess fluency as part of our ongoing Little Wandle assessments alongside Y1 Spring 2 and Y1 Summer 1 and 2 assessment. If children are not fluent, interventions are put in place. 


Parental Involvement

Involving families is an important part of our reading culture. Results of international reading studies have shown that children who are supported in their reading at home are more likely to enjoy reading and tend to achieve more highly at school. We want our children to read at home through choice. For this to happen, we engage with families to extend the culture of reading that the school has developed. Strategies include:Termly Reading Workshops for parents

  • We offer advice on our school website, along with input from individual class teachers on dojo and parent evenings.
  • Parents and teachers communicate regularly in reading diaries. These reading diaries provide ways in which parents can support reading. 
  • All pupils regularly take homea phonics book that is matched to their ability and a book for pleasure. When children move off the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds programme, they are assessed and placed on a colour banded system. 

10 Tips on Hearing Your Child Read

Reading for Pleasure

Research shows that reading for pleasure has a positive impact on children’s attainment in reading assessments. Children who read for pleasure have enhanced levels of text comprehension, an increased knowledge of grammar and show improvement in their writing. They also have more positive attitudes towards reading than peers. The advantages of reading for pleasure go beyond academic achievement:

‘Other benefits include an increased breadth of vocabulary, pleasure in reading in later life, a better understanding of other cultures, better general knowledge and even ‘a greater insight into human nature’.

Reading for Pleasure: A research overview, National Literacy Trust, 2006

At Thornhill Primary School we promote reading for pleasure. We do this in the following ways:

  • Every teacher is an advocate for reading. They often recommend their own favourite books to children.
  • Reading is at the centre of the curriculum.
  • We plan time for children to read independently, read aloud and be read to during the school day.
  • We have signed many of our children up to be members of the local library.
  • When COVID allows, we aim to visit the local library.
  • We arrange visits from authors and poets.
  • We celebrate World Book Day every year with new exciting themes each year.
  • Children are given the opportunity to read with children in other classes.
  • Class teachers read carefully selected texts to their children daily. This gives children the opportunity to listen to new vocabulary and get lost in stories.                     

Link to National Curriculum:





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