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Reading is our highest academic priority at Belsay School and our aspiration is that children will
become lifelong readers who are enthusiastic, engaged and who love to read. Reading allows access
to all other areas of the curriculum and information gathering and therefore directly influences
lifelong learning, opportunities and achievement.

Our primary aim is to ensure children are reading fluently by the age of 7 and where this is not the case, we make every effort to ensure they catch up quickly so that all children can access a broad, balanced and ambitious curriculum which has been designed to aid them to remember more.

The government has directed schools to ensure that children ‘read fast and read fluently,’ with
emphasis placed on phonics (sounds that letters and groups of letters make) and being able to use
their phonic knowledge to read texts fluently on first sight. As such, schools are required to have
fidelity to one systematic synthetic phonics programme and at Belsay, we use Read Write Inc. RWI
takes a rigorous approach to phonics teaching and has a variety of books which link with writing
development and we find these capture the children’s interest and ensure enjoyment of reading

Once children complete the scheme, they will move to ‘Big Cat’ readers which are high quality texts
with wide ranging appeal. We will ensure that pupils are accurately matched to a book band based
on their fluency level. It is an important part of early reading that children re-read extensively and
become very confident with a text.

Children will bring home a weekly reading book as follows:

  • Reception and KS1- Read Write Inc banded book and a sharing book.
  • Y3-6- Collins Big Cat banded book and a library book.

All children in Reception to Year 2 will have a reading book that is at an appropriate level for them to
read independently on first sight to an adult at home using their phonics skills. Please do not worry
if your child is able to read this book without any help from you and it seems too easy; the aim here
is for children to read with success so they can develop fluency and confidence. Please aim to listen
to them read each day and praise their effort and celebrate their success.

Children who complete the phonics programme in Year 2 will then move to a Collins Big Cat banded
book which will match their reading fluency level. Ideally children in Y2 should also be heard reading
every day and we would encourage you to talk to your child about the book once they have read it.

As our aspiration is that children will become lifelong readers who love to read, it is essential that we
encourage them to read for pleasure. This desire to read will also help with the skill of reading. To
help foster a love of reading, the children will bring home a book to share with their family. These
‘sharing books’ offer a wealth of opportunity for talking about the pictures and enjoying the story
together. The children will be able to change their sharing book as often as they would like; some
children may choose to change it every day and others may prefer to keep it for a week or longer for
repeated reading. We cannot over emphasise the importance of reading aloud to your child and
enjoying books together and would urge you to prioritise this as a family.

Please continue to record progress or general comments in your child’s reading record or diary. We
will also record when we have read together in school. This will allow a fuller understanding of
reading both at home and at school.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions and if you are interested in any
further information, please look at The Reading Framework- Teaching the foundations of literacy.