Drake Primary School and Little Pirates Child Care

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Reading at Drake

Reading is a crucial part of a child's education. Reading opens doors to new worlds, new ideas, opposing opinions, experiences of others, life in an unknown country or era and a wealth of information and facts to support learning. At Drake, reading is part of our everyday practice in every classroom. As soon as children start in Reception, they are exposed to stories and rhymes and take home a school library book to share with their family. The children very quickly start to learn their phonics enabling them to read words, then sentences and later books.


In every class at school, the children have opportunities to

  • Choose books that they would like to read or listen to
  • Read daily
  • Listen to teachers read throughout the week
  • Read to an adult regularly
  • Learn about a class text or author
  • Make connections between their reading and their learning across the curriculum as well as to their own lives and experiences. 



Every child is taught a range of strategies to support their development to become a confident, independent reader. In Foundation and Key Stage 1, children continue to develop their phonic knowledge to decode more complex words through the Read Write Inc phonics scheme. This involves participation in daily phonics sessions, grouped by existing phonic knowledge, to learn or revise Set 2 and then Set 3 sounds (including alternative graphemes) using Fred talk to orally blend and segment words as a class and with partner practice. The children also learn to read common exception words in these sessions. Learners then use their phonics skills to read levelled Read Write Inc reading books in class and at home.



Once the children have learnt how to read, they can then learn to comprehend and understand the text they are reading. Texts are engaging and provide them with the opportunity to practise their phonic sounds. Children are encouraged to use these strategies independently to understand, enjoy and learn from a range of texts. Through this, they will become fluent, expressive readers with the stamina to enjoy challenging texts. In KS2, we offer a range of reading opportunities such as quiet reading time, whole class story time, whole class guided reading and book talk. These provide children with the opportunity to apply their reading and comprehension skills to a variety of texts. Book discussion is widely encouraged in class, which supports children to empathise with characters, share opinions and debate topics.

Whole Class Reading is taught three times a week in Key Stage 2 and is built around the teacher reading high-quality and challenging texts, which are dissected by the class through high-level questioning and discussion. Each session includes a range of activities that enable pupils to develop their fluency, automaticity , vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Teachers nurture a love of books by placing reading at the centre of the curriculum, introducing new texts with enthusiasm and enjoyment, promoting a sense of wonder and expectation as the text is explored. All teachers use quality texts in all aspects of their teaching across the curriculum and provide opportunities that extend and enrich the children’s learning. It is these tools and opportunities that we believe give our children the necessary skills to become thoughtful and confident readers for life, which helps them in everything they do.

We know that reading at home is an essential part of children becoming excellent readers and because of this, children have a wide range of banded fiction and non-fiction books for home reading using Collins Big Cats. This choice ensures children continue to be enthusiastic and independent readers. Children are encouraged to read regularly at home from Foundation Stage to Year 6. Children’s individual reading records are an important source of communication between home and school and it is vital that these are filled in to indicate how often the child has read. We aim to increase the reading miles of every child within our educational setting. Currently, reading records are checked weekly and the number of children reading seven times a week recorded for Celebration Assembly at the end of the week.


Reading Diary


At school, the children are encouraged to record their reading in their reading diary. We know that this progresses as they get older. Teachers and learning support assistants will also record when they specifically listen to the children read on a 1:1 or small group basis rather than in a whole class reading time or phonics lesson.


In addition, we ask that parents record home reading in the reading diary so that Teachers can ensure and monitor regular reading and so that parents are part of this vital aspect of the children's education. Parents record the book and/or pages read with a short comment or initial. There is a section in the diary to record challenge words to practise and learn.


We start a new double page spread of the reading diary each week. This ensures that there is sufficient room for each reading activity to be recorded weekly.

Library areas


Drake offers a range of different places for children to read and access books. We have an Early Years and Key Stage 1 library with a wide range of fiction, non fiction and poetry picture books. The children enjoy looking through different books, sharing and listening to stories and choosing books to take home. Another selection of books is available for older children nearer to the Key Stage 2 classrooms. In addition, each classroom has a selection of books and their own bookshelves with age appropriate texts.

Reading Cafes 

In Autumn term 2022, we invited parents in school for Reading Cafes.  There were various activities in each Café, including: learning a model text in the ‘Talk for Writing’ structure; making puppets to support speech development and story retelling; adults and children able to access high quality texts; making tin foil people to support the text of Iron Man; and comprehension activities to support Year 6 SATS.

Please take a look at the wonderful photos.

Reading Buddy! Literacy Trust