English- Reading

''Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” Frederick Douglass

We aim to develop the children, staff and parents as reading experts to ensure ever child at Connor Downs Academy develops a love of reading, right from the start. Children learn to read skilfully and with good understanding.  We recognise that reading is an essential skill for everyone. Learning to read and reading to learn, are foundations for future educational success- this makes it a fundamental, core skill. Research tells us that reading for enjoyment is a more powerful factor for children’s educational success than their families socio-economic status (OECD 2002).  As a result, every teacher has an obligation to ensure pupils are competent readers and are helped to fall in love with this worthy, lifelong companion.  We strive to create a reading culture in school, where reading is prioritised and at the heart of everything we do. 


We work to ensure all children can read easily, fluently and with good understanding.  From Reception class, children study a systematic phonics scheme entitled, ‘Little Wandle’ each day.  Children learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these into words, then they learn to read the same sound with alternative graphemes. We develop children’s confidence in reading a wide variety of genres by providing phonic books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words. We believe that reading at home plays a vital role and as when children re-read texts, their fluency, motivation and enthusiasm increases. Parents are encouraged to support children by recording successes daily in the reading records.  



As children become skilled decoders, their reading journey moves into ‘reading to learn’, where they build their fluency to read with confidence.  They will acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of ’linguistic conventions’ for reading as well as be being able to appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.  After completing the Little Wandle programme, from Year 2, pupils are supported to continue to build their fluency through selecting books suitable for them which they are motivated to read. We use a programme called, ‘Accelerated Reader’ which helps to ensure children are reading books at an appropriate level. Children visit the school library to choose from a variety of books including non-fiction, graphic novels and stories from different cultures and about diverse characters.  They are then encouraged to complete a ‘quiz’ after reading their book, which provides them with an opportunity to check their understanding of the book.


We want to support children to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.  Reading is happening all the time in our school.  Children are learning in specific reading lessons and are practising and using their reading constantly across all subjects too.  All teachers read, entertain and delight their classes with whole class reading daily, including sustained 'class stories', non-fiction texts and poetry. Throughout the school year, the importance of reading is enhanced through World Book Day, author and poet visits, and sponsored reading events. Reading for pleasure has a high priority – our library is well-stocked and every classroom has its own reading area from which children are encouraged to borrow books. 


At Connor Downs Academy we intend:

  •          for every child to be a reader
  •          for early readers to have the skills to decode words, so they can read fluently as quickly as         possible
  •          for children to understand what they have read
  •          for children to respond with curiosity about what they and others have read
  •          for children to become enthusiastic and motivated to read for pleasure
  •          to develop children’s confidence in reading a wide variety of genres and text types
  •          to develop children’s knowledge of a wide range of authors and illustrators

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