Reading introduction



Reading At Burnside


Competence in reading is a life-long skill and the key to independent learning. Therefore, the teaching of reading is given a high priority by all Burnside school staff.

At Burnside, we have a thematic approach to the teaching of primary English that places children’s literature at its core. 

As a whole-school approach, it provides complete coverage of all National Curriculum expectations for writing composition, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, as well as coverage of spelling, phonics and reading comprehension. Each unit of teaching leads to the purposeful application of key literacy skills within a wide range of different types of written outcomes.

Lessons also include explicit grammar objectives so that the grammar skills for writing are seen in context and can be applied within writing. These can be taught ‘discretely’ yet creatively, and are embedded firmly within the context of the book being studied. Spelling investigations and activities are also integrated within lessons, so that patterns and rules can be explored and then used purposefully within writing.

Built into each unit of teaching are a variety of shorter and longer writing opportunities that are purposeful and link to particular points in a book. Collectively, the sequences also enable our children to build a literary repertoire and develop their knowledge of significant authors; helping to prepare our Year 6 pupils for critical reading at Key Stage 3.

We use a variety of methods to teach children to read. We teach phonics so that children can tackle new words by blending the sounds. In phonics sessions, the 44 main sounds of English are taught. We also teach some whole words as sight words so that each child builds up a sight vocabulary of common words to be used as a start to reading fluently.

We provide attractive, interesting books that the children will enjoy sharing with you. The key reading schemes used in school at the moment are Dandelion Launchers, Big Cat Phonics and Oxford Reading Tree.

As the children progress with reading they will be offered a wider selection of texts using books for reference and pleasure. We have a wide selection of books for children to access once they complete the reading schemes and become confident, free readers. All pupils have regular structured access to both our fiction and non-fiction texts. Teachers read with all children regularly and have a written record of progress in their reading diary.

Alongside the levelled books children are given, they are encouraged to select a book of their choice from our school Lending Library. Children have regular opportunities to change these books.

At the start of each new academic year every child is given a Home School Diary and/or Reading Diary through which parents are asked to share in their child’s learning process by keeping in close contact with teachers on a regular basis. Children take their reading book home each night. Reading Challenges are set during the year to help foster the reading habit.

We have a number of parent and community volunteers who support some children regularly on a 1:1 basis. We have a ‘Reading Buddies’ system in place, in which children from Year 5 and Year 6 listen to children read from Year 1 and Year 2.

All children have the opportunity to listen to their teacher read a class story at the end of each day, to promote their passion for literature.

Success in reading has a direct effect on progress in all areas of the curriculum and is fundamental in developing children’s self-esteem, confidence and motivation. It is for this reason we place a heavy emphasis on reading and enjoyment of books from the earliest stage of your child’s education.