Normanton Altofts Junior School

Reading at Altofts Junior School



At Altofts Junior School, it is our vision for our children to develop a lifelong love of reading through our quality text-driven English curriculum and through our dedicated time given to reading for pleasure, immersing the children in quality tests that reflect our rich and varied literary heritage.  We also endeavour to provide our children with the necessary skills to ensure that they can read with confidence and with a secure understanding whilst also aiming to ensure that reading is a transferable skill and that children are capable readers across the wider curriculum.


In order to achieve our Intent, we ensure that Altofts Junior School has a culture of reading at its heart:

We have daily Guided Reading sessions which focus on one quality text per week, which are increasingly challenging throughout each year group.  Throughout the year, we ensure that there is a balance between fiction, non-fiction, classic texts, poetry and Shakespeare; the texts are mapped out half termly using a colour coded system to ensure this balance.

During Guided Reading sessions we focus the learning on The Reading Vipers, with a consistent approach across school in how this are taught during the week (Vocabulary, Retrieval, Inference then one other).  As these sessions are ‘guided’, there is also an opportunity for the children to apply the taught skills independently at the end of the week in a session called Extended Read.

We assess reading as part of our assessment calendar and complete QLAs for each year group in order to identify the reading domains in which further teaching is required.  These are then used to inform planning.

We focus on reading for pleasure through a timetabled daily reading session called DEAL (Drop Everything and Listen).  This is around 15-20 minutes a day whereby the children listen to and discuss a quality text read by the class teacher.  This ensures that children have reading aloud modelled to them.

Our writing curriculum is heavily text driven.  A quality text is used, which also may link to other curriculum areas such as Science or History, as the basis for the writing the children produce.

Some other curriculum areas, such as PHSE, have a text that serves as a driver for the lessons and texts are also shared during PHSE- focussed assemblies led by SLT.

We ensure that we listen to children read on a regular basis.  We use The Suffolk Reading test at the beginning of each academic year to establish the children’s reading ages and identify the lowest 20% of readers in each year group. We aim to listen to all children read individually on a regular basis (at least once a half term) and aim to listen to the lowest 20% of readers three times a week (both teachers and TAs).  The tests are repeated midway through the year and again at the end of the year to check progress. We have class reading logs to record when children have been listened to read and when they have changed their books which are monitored half-termly.

Upon entry in Year 3, we complete assessments to identify children who need support with phonics.  We use targeted interventions using Read, Write, Inc to address gaps in knowledge.

We aim to promote reading through numerous displays around school which aim to celebrate and inspire a love of reading.

We encourage reading at home and the classes are given a set percentage, for the number of children in each class reading three times a week, to achieve.  The classes that meet the targets are then invited to ‘purchase’ a book from the school vending machine.

We involve parents in our reading journey through encouraging them to read with their children at home, sending home reading newsletters and by asking for support in sponsored events to raise funds to enable us to purchase quality books for the children.


Children at Altofts Junior School will leave at the end of Year Six having made good progress in their reading from their starting points at the beginning of Year Three.  They will have a love of reading for pleasure and will read a wide variety of texts with increased confidence, fluency and understanding.

As we develop reading at Altofts Junior School, we apply this to a 6 point strategy. Do new initiatives and school policies reflect how we support staff, the teaching of the curriculum, engaging parents, the reading environment, targeting resources and celebration. 

Below are a list of key documents which outline the teaching of Reading at Altofts Junior. 

 Reading Policy 2022.docxDownload
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 AJS Approach to Guided Reading.docxDownload
 AJS Approach to reading.docxDownload
 DEAL texts 2020 -2021.docxDownload
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Ten top tips for reading stories to your child

1 Make reading to your child feel like a treat.
Introduce each new book with excitement.

2 Make it a special quiet time and cuddle up so both of you can
see the book.

3 Show curiosity in what you’re going to read:
Oh no! I think Arthur is going to get even angrier now.

4 Read the whole story the first time through without stopping
too much. If you think your child might not understand
something, model an explanation:
Oh I think what’s happening here is that…

5 Chat about the story:
I wonder why he did that?
Oh no, I hope she’s not going to…
I wouldn’t have done that, would you?

6 Avoid asking questions to test what your child remembers.

7 Link stories to your own experiences (e.g. This reminds me of…)

8 Read favourite stories over and over again.
Get your child to join in with the bits they know.

9 Read with enthusiasm. Don’t be embarrassed to try out
different voices. Your child will love it.

10 Read with enjoyment.
If you’re not enjoying it, your child won’t.

Reading Vipers

We use the Literacy Shed’s “Reading Vipers” in our whole class and small group teaching. The
reading Viper approach helps to develop key comprehension skills and enables the children to become
more successful readers. Each of the letters stand for one of the key areas of key learning.
V- Vocabulary
I – Infer
P- Predict
E- Explain
R – Retrieve
S - Summarise text

Phonics at Altofts Junior


At Altofts, we use Read Write Inc. to support our phonics teaching.  

Read Write Inc. Phonics is a DfE-validated systematic synthetic phonics programme with a wholeschool approach to teaching early reading and writing, designed to ensure progress for every child, in every primary school. It has proven success in all types of schools, including those with high numbers of children with SEND and those in the least privileged areas.

Children learn to read sounds and blend them into words. They apply this phonic knowledge to read
and comprehend Storybooks that are carefully matched to the sounds they know. Children learn to read these books with a storyteller’s voice. The aim of Read Write Inc. Phonics is for children to learn to read early.

Everything knits together: The phonics supports the reading and writing; The reading supports the
writing, the writing supports the reading. That’s why Ruth called it Read Write Inc

Why read to your child?

At Altofts Junior, we aim to ensure that all of our children become fluent, confident and engaged readers starting from the first day they arrive in school. Your role as parents and carers is of paramount importance in this process and reading to your child regularly will develop their love of books and also support them to understand the conventions of effective reading.

10 things to think about when you read to your child

Top 10 Tips for effective story reading at home.

How to say the sounds - pure sounds

We teach our children the pure sounds every letter and group of letters make in the English language as soon as they enter school. By teaching these sounds in a systematic and comprehensive way enable our children to recognise sounds, read words and become fluent and confident readers. Below is a video that explains the importance of teaching 'pure sounds'. Please watch the video below.