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Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure is at the top of our reading agenda at King Athelstan and we have worked hard to create a positive reading environment.

‘Research finds that reading for pleasure can result in increased empathy, improved relationships with others, reduced symptoms of depression and dementia, and improved wellbeing.’   - The Reading Agency

How do we promote reading at King Athelstan?

  • Reading Corners: each class has a reading corner which is full to the brim with classical and contemporary children’s literature
  • The Bucket List (reading spine): each year group has an extensive list of books that the children are encouraged to read by the end of the year – for each book read the children receive a sticker to collect on their ‘Bucket List Bingo Chart’  CLICK HERE to find out more. 
  • Home Reading Scheme: our home reading scheme is an eclectic mix of fiction and non-fiction published by many different programmes, to ensure variety
  • Free Reading Time: at different points of the day the children are encouraged to read for pleasure
  • Story Time: teachers read stories to children all the way from Nursery to Year 6 - you are never too old to enjoy a good story!
  • World Book Day: this is always a special day in the King Athelstan calendar; we plan a carousel of activities all linked to a story and the children get to experience 4 creative lessons with different teachers and children in their key stage throughout the day as well as dressing up as a book character or in their pyjamas ready for a bedtime story!  
  • Library: we are very excited about our new library which is currently under construction and will be a quiet space for children to develop their love of reading

As parents and carers you can support the love of reading at home by listening to your child read and reading to them daily. Bed time stories and reading at home, not only increase academic ability, but also help to strengthen family relationships and foster a lifelong love of books.

Click here to see our: 

Importance of daily reading - visual table

Reading Bucket List 

The Book Trust have some amazing resources to help you with reading at home. Click the Book Trust picture below for some tips and advice: 

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Sign up free to Oxford Owl for eBooks online by clicking the picture below: 

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Phonics Programme download 38

If you walked into a phonics lesson at King Athelstan you would see a buzz of excitement and activity as the children learn to read and write through systematic synthetic phonics. Phonics is a way of matching the small units of sound in spoken English to the letters or groups of letters which represent that sound in writing.

As a school we follow the Ruth Miskin, Read Write Inc. (RWI) 40

RWI uses ‘Fred talk’ as a teaching strategy which helps children read unfamiliar words by pronouncing each sound in the word one at a time. Children can start blending sounds into words as soon as they know a small group of letters well. Sound blending is essential in reading. Children use ‘sound buttons’ to help them identify each unit of sound in a word:                                                       

                                       download 41

RWI links every sound to a picture and a phrase to help the children remember it. For example: the letters      a and y, once joined together, make the sound ‘ay’ and the phase we use to remember it is:

‘May I play?’ download 43

As a school we have created our own phrases for some of the alternative spellings taught in KS1 and have added Makaton actions to the sounds learnt in reception to support those children who learn through kinaesthetic activity. Reception children take home 'Pocket Rocket' stories each week with the sounds that they have been learning and KS1 children receive phonics homework to help recap sounds learnt each week.

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Click here for our: 

Phonics Progression

Handwriting and Phonic Phrases


Sound Mats

We use sound mats to help build children's confidence and to develop independence during reading and writing lessons. 

Click here to see our: 

EYFS - Set 1 and 2 Sound Mat

Year 1 - Set 2 and 3 Sound Mat

KS1 - Alternative Spellings and Tricky Words Mat

KS2 Sound Mat


Pure sounds

Using pure sounds is imperative when children are learning to blend for reading and segment for spelling. This video will help you with articulating the phonemes (units of sound). Click the picture below:  

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As part of the RWI programme, children also learn to read and spell common exception (high frequency) words. These are words with spelling rules they have not yet learnt, for example: the, was, could, there, friend. We call these ‘red words’ as they must be sight read (memorised), rather than sounded out. 

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Click here to see our:

RWI Parent and Carer Guide

EYFS Parent Carer Workshop

KS1 Parent and Carer Workshop

RWI is taught explicitly from Reception to Year 2 to support the early stages of reading and spelling. As soon as children have completed the RWI phonics programme, they move on to learning alternative spelling rules and reading more complex texts.    

We expect all children to read at home daily with an adult and record this in their reading record. Every time children read, they get a ‘dot’ on a special reward card. When they collect 20 dots they will receive a certificate and when they collect 40 dots they can choose a special prize!

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Click here to find out more about our school reading scheme: 

Reading Scheme Progression 


Guided Reading 


Once children have developed their decoding skills, they can move onto our guided reading programme.

If you walked into a reading lesson at King Athelstan you would see teachers engrossing children in amazingly illustrated picture books, timeless classics, modern masterpieces, performance poetry and non-fiction texts, bringing year group topics to life. During reading lessons children develop their inference, deduction and retrieval skills and understanding of new and exciting vocabulary.

As mentioned before, the ‘love of reading’ is vital to the wellbeing of our children, so we have designed our reading curriculum to be engaging, comprehensive and most of all, fun. We are very proud of the fact that when studying a book, we have enough copies of the paperback for one each, so that the children experience the joy of holding a real text when reading.

We use different teaching techniques such as: guided reading, shared reading and independent reading to develop children’s comprehension and fluency skills, with a real focus on paired talk and partner work to support vocabulary development.


Click here to see our: 

Reading Skills Progression

School calendar

  • Y5 Summer Disco
    21 June 2024, 7-8.30pm
  • Bring in empty, clean jam jars, cans and toilet roll inners for the Summer Fair
    21 June 2024
  • Y6 Junior Roadwatch
    24 June 2024
  • Y3 Country Dancing Festival
    25 June 2024
  • EYFS Sports Day
    26 June 2024
  • Sports Day Y1 - Y6
    27 June 2024
  • Y3 trip to Science Museum
    28 June 2024
  • INSET Day - moved to Friday 5th July
    28 June 2024

Latest news

Clubs for Summer 2024
27 March 2024