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Reading Principles

Reading Principles


At The Duston School, we know that reading is the key to success for all children. When a child reads fluently, for enjoyment and purpose, a whole world of opportunities will open for them and their vocabulary, sentence structures and knowledge of the world expands. We aim to teach children to read fluently and with understanding and to promote a love of reading.

The school aims to:

  • Provide children with the skills and strategies necessary to develop into competent and fluent readers
  • Encourage the enjoyment of books so that children develop a life-long love of reading
  • Develop reading for purpose so that children can find the information they need to enhance their learning/interest
  • Develop a critical appreciation of the work of authors, poets and illustrators in order to emulate these skills in their own writing
  • Ensure that children are immersed in a range of rhymes, fiction and non-fiction texts that are diverse and reflect the word around them


Explicit Vocabulary Teaching and Language Development

Research (Education Endowment Foundation) shows that the explicit development of language is key to children reaching their potential in reading which is why it is a fundamental element of the TDS Teaching and Learning Principles.

SHAPE posters are displayed in all teaching spaces and children are encouraged to speak in full sentences, clearly and at an appropriate volume to their peers and adults. Opportunities are given for children to perform to an audience and there is the expectation that all should speak clearly and audibly. Talk is championed as both a learning tool but also as a way in which children learn to navigate formal/informal interactions. Children have opportunities to work together in pairs or small groups on problem-solving activities.

The explicit teaching of vocabulary is taught across the curriculum at TDS and talk tasks are planned in to all lessons so that children can vocalise their learning and practice new words in the correct context. New vocabulary is also displayed in classrooms for children and the teacher to refer to. 

The Word Aware 2: Teaching Vocabulary in the Early Years Programme is used daily in EYFS to ensure that children have a firm grasp of key vocabulary and can use it in the correct context. Opportunities are provided through continuous provision for children to apply their learning. Assessment is used to identify any children needing additional language intervention and the Nuffield Early Language Programme is used to support.

Reading for Pleasure

Teachers are enthusiastic about what they are reading and promote a love of reading with all. Children are read to, at least, once each day using a range of high quality, diverse books from The Duston School Primary Phase reading spine or books chosen to enhance the curriculum or children’s cultural capital.

There are reading displays throughout the school, including each classroom where reading is celebrated.

Once children are reading fluently and with understanding, reading for pleasure is encouraged as children choose their reading books within a range which include a breadth of genres.   

Word Reading

Phonics is taught daily in EYFS and Year 1 using the Read, Write Inc Phonics Programme and follow-up activities are planned for children to apply their skills independently. Children are provided with a decodable reading book so that they can apply and practice their phonics learning at school and at home.

Assessments take place regularly using WRI materials and previous Phonics Screening Check materials. Data is used to inform next steps in learning and intervention and further challenge for individuals or groups. Reading interventions continue for children not yet reaching age related expectations.


The main teaching of comprehension happens during our reading for pleasure sessions when books, plots and characters are discussed in depth.

Explicit comprehension lessons are taught using quality extracts which are chosen to enhance the curriculum, provide cultural capital or for enjoyment. Comprehension Ninja and Developing Reading Comprehension Skills: Classic Literature, Classic Poetry, Contemporary Literature and Non-fiction resources are often used within comprehension sessions.

Staff in KS2 use the data from Star Test and Accelerated Reader to identify next steps in children’s learning, further challenge or interventions needed. A reading age is also identified which is used to calculate progress. 

Celebrating Reading

Reading is celebrated throughout the school and is visible in shared areas and in all classrooms. Displays are of a high quality and showcase a range of books that are diverse and extend children’s cultural capital.

Progress and achievement in reading is celebrating through the ‘Star of the Lesson’ and the weekly Achievement Assemblies.

Parents and volunteers are invited into school to support children with their reading.

World Book Day is celebrated with book based activities and challenges for children to complete. The Bookfair is booked to coincide with World Book Days and profit made is used to purchase further books for the children to enjoy.


Children can talk knowledgeably about the books that they have read and that have been read to them giving their opinions, with reasons, about characters and plots and which books they prefer to read. They have a positive attitude towards reading and are open to trying out different genres of books when reading for pleasure. Children can read for purpose and use reading to help them with their learning across the curriculum.