“The more you read, the more you will know,
the more you learn, the more you will grow.”
-Dr Seuss


Our School Leadership Prioritises Reading

The Executive Head, Head of School, along with other leaders, prioritises reading at Kilnhurst St Thomas'. The Head of School meets regularly with the Reading Lead, to discuss priorities in training, analyse data and look at ways forward. The SLT regularly "drop in" phonics lessons to check consistency across school. The Head of School gives the Reading Leader 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. Core texts are read to children in Reciprocal Reading by the teacher. This gives the teacher chance to emphasise their story voice and illustrate their excitement at new stories.

The teacher chooses their books using Cornerstones Recommended Reads for guidance- - to ensure that the texts are of high quality and age appropriate.

Reading corners in each classroom have been developed to promote a love of reading. The children have access to their own book corner in class as well as the school library that they visit once a week to choose a book. A new library is currently being created to promote the love of reading even further. 


Each class teacher has their favourite five books each half term that are displayed on the classroom door. These books are end of the day story books that are read to the class. By displaying the books for all to see, it promotes excitement,  discussion and encourages others to read those books.

We encourage the love of reading at home through bronze, silver  and gold badge awards - which the children wear with pride. The badges acknowledge when a child has read 50, 100 and 200 times at home. In our Home/ School  reading diaries, parents are given ideas on how to support children at home with reading through targeted bookmarks. This includes the advise on phonics sounds and comprehension questions as well as what to do next. Every class has their own take home bed time book, where children can choose a story to share with an adult at bed time. 

We use volunteers to promote the love of reading, these include parent volunteers as well as making links with the local community and inviting the Rotherham Titans Rugby Club players and Rotherham librarians to listen to children 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 Kilnhurst St Thomas' Primary Academy we promote reading for pleasure. We do this in the following ways:

  • Every teacher is an advocate for reading and often recommend their own favourite books to children.
  • Reading and books are at the centre of the curriculum.
  • Each class studies at least one book as part of their English Lessons. This is taken from Cornerstones, so is an age appropriate text that is rich in vocabulary and content.
  • We plan time in for all children to read independently, read aloud and be read to during the school day.
  • We arrange visits to the local library, where the children have the opportunity to become members.
  • We arrange visits from authors and poets.
  • We celebrate World Book Day every year with new exciting themes each year.
  • We pair children up with ‘buddies’ in different classes, which gives them the opportunity to read with other children and share their love of reading.
  • Class teachers read a ‘core text’ to their children. This gives children the opportunity to listen to new vocabulary and get lost in stories.   


Content and Sequence Supports Progress

At St Thomas' highly trained in delivering the Read, Write, Inc Phonic programme.

The programme has a strong focus on teaching children to know and remember more. Children are taught daily, in groups, from Reception upwards. The groups children are in ensure that all children are taught at their appropriate level, which results in good progress being made.

The RWI programme supports the teach simply model:

  • Review/ Revisit - Previously taught sounds and words are continuously reviewed and revisited at the beginning of every RWI Phonics lesson. 
  • Teach Simply – 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 alien words and in closely matched, phonically decodable books. 
  • Assess - Children are regularly assessed by the Reading Leader. Teachers assess throughout the lesson to check that children understand. ‘Spotlight children’ (children who are not making as much progress as the rest) are sat in the focus of the teacher, to ensure they don’t get left behind. 

Although our intention is for children to ‘keep up’, not ‘catch up’, if the Reading Leader identifies that any children are falling behind, plans are immediately put in place to support catch up. If needed, children are also assessed in KS2. Children in Foundation Stage- to Y4 have RWI Phonics lessons, if needed, and Y5 and Y6 who are working below ARE are using Fresh Start. 

Please click on the PDFs below to see how we want children to progress through the RWI programme and what we expect them to know by the end of Foundation, Year 1 and Year 2. 

RWI -Termly Progression Grid

RWI Progress Expectations for Reception and Year 1 Children

RWI Progression Chart. What to teach and when


Pupils Falling Behind Catch Up Quickly

The Reading Leader quickly identifies children who are falling behind and discusses them with the class teacher. Children are assessed every half term, but they can be assessed sooner than this, if the Reading Leader and Reading Teacher thinks this is necessary. The Reading Leader puts together a support plan for these children and shares these with the teachers and teaching assistants. These support plans include five layers of provision to be put in place for children. 

  1. The daily phonics lesson is taught robustly. 
  2. The child has 1:1 daily phonics tutoring. This is delivered by a trained phonics tutor.
  3. Virtual classroom links (extra phonics lessons) can be sent home to parents for extra practice.
  4. Children can be given extra time on an ipad to watch the virtual links in school. 
  5. Teachers can have an extra 5 minute phonics lesson in an afternoon. 
Phonics from the Beginning of Reception

Phonics is taught from the very beginning of Foundation Stage 2. If children are ready, some of the sounds are taught from the Summer term of Foundation Stage 1. 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 Set 1 and Set 2 sounds in words. Children are identified from an the beginning if they are falling behind. 

Phonically Decodable Books

From Foundation Stage 1, library books are sent home with children. Their focus is language acquisition and listening to stories being read to them. As children begin Read, Write, Inc, children are sent home with sound cards to practise their sounds. When they are secure with their understanding of sounds, children will be given virtual links for games to practise their oral blending. Following this, children will be sent home with sound blending books. When children move into the Ditty group, they will take a perfectly matched phonically decodable book home with them. This continues, until children have moved securely off the programme. As well as a phonically, decodable book, children will take a library book home with them. This is to encourage parents to read to their children and develop their vocabulary. Books are changed regularly, so children have time to practise their phonics sounds, as well as building their fluency. If children struggle with their fluency, there are extra fluency links that can be sent home to support children, as well as classroom interventions. 

Staff are Early Reading Experts

All staff at St Thomas' , from nursery to KS2, have been trained in RWI phonics. The Reading Leader attends half termly training sessions to ensure that she is aware of any updates. This is then relayed back to staff in school. All staff have access to the virtual classroom, where they have a large range of training videos for each aspect of phonics. The Reading Leader directs staff to training videos and staff are given time to watch them. In addition to this, the Reading Leader holds training sessions regularly for reading staff. St Thomas'  partake in a RWI Development Day, where a RWI expert visits the lessons and offers bespoke training. 

Y2 and KS2 Reading Curriculum
  • When children have securely moved off the RWI programme, they will be benchmarked on the colour banding system from Turquoise and beyond and they will begin their comprehension lessons. Comprehension skills are taught using a mixture of ‘Cracking Comprehension’ and ‘Headstart’. 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 with the class teacher and teaching assistant.
  • In Reciprocal Reading, units of lessons are organised around motivating books and texts. The texts might be from a specific book, a play or poem, or a specific genre such as journalistic writing. A good-quality text provides opportunities for children to meet objectives drawn from across the National Curriculum for English. At St Thomas', whole class teaching and individual reading opportunities provide opportunities for learning and reinforcing.  Whole class texts are chosen from Cornerstones and are recommended high quality texts that are age appropriate.
  • 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 assessments. 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:

  • Parents, grandparents and adult volunteers from the local community often come in to school and listen to children read.
  • We offer advice and printable materials on our school website, along with input from individual class teachers on dojo and parent evenings. 
  • Children are rewarded for reading regularly.   
  • Our school target is for children to read at least three times a week. If this is done, children receive dojo points. 
  • Parents and teachers communicate regularly in reading diaries. Reading bookmarks have been especially designed for our school and provide ways in which parents can support reading. 
  • All pupils regularly take home a RWI phonics book that is matched to their ability and a book for pleasure. When children move off the RWI programme, they are assessed using the benchmarking kit on a colour banded system. 

10 Tips on Hearing Your Child Read

RWI - Listening to your child read at home

RWI - Reading stories to your child information