English – Reading

Reading at Thorndown


Taking a book to read at home is just one part of our children’s reading diet. At Thorndown children enjoy reading books they have chosen quietly in our class reading corners, in the discovery suite, with a friend or supporting a younger child as a reading buddy. At school, children read a wide range of texts, developing a range of reading skills throughout the curriculum including whole class sessions, one to one reading and reading independently. The children in Year 5 and 6 are exploring texts through Book Club which runs on a fortnightly basis.


It is our aim to allow the children the opportunity:

  • To experience reading in a variety of situations so that it becomes a pleasurable & productive experience.
  • To access a wide range of print materials, including all genres of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays & pupils own writing.
  • To progress to becoming selective in their choice of reading materials.
  • To be knowledgeable about the purpose and organisation of books.
  • To nurture a love of reading.
  • To learn to read through a variety of methods.
  • To read to themselves or to others.
  • To read to a variety of audiences and to hear adults and children read to them.
  • To read regularly and to develop a respect for books.
  • To receive reading provision and support appropriate to individual ability.
  • To become aware of the link between reading and writing.
  • To use ICT to further the development and love of reading.

We love reading at our school. Look at all the fantastic reading opportunities we have!

The Classroom Environment

Each classroom has a dedicated reading area which includes a variety of class books (fiction and non-fiction) which the children can choose and read for pleasure. These appeal to different genders and also reluctant readers. A selection of banded books are also available in each class for use during independent reading.


At Thorndown we use ‘Letters and Sounds’ to teach Phonics. We have a 30 minute daily phonics session in Early Years Foundation Stage and Year One, where we learn about how to read and write using our phonic knowledge. We play lots of different phonic games which help us understand how sounds make words and we use words to make sentences. We use the Interactive Whiteboard to play games and learn new phonemes and graphemes. In Year 1 we know that some sounds can be written more than one way. These games have been made into boxes for the children to use during Enhanced Provision to consolidate their learning.

Why not visit PhonicsPlay and Family Learning (external links) to play some games and see for yourself!

Discovery Suite

We are lucky enough to have a dedicated suite for our non fiction collection. These texts have been bought by the teachers at Thorndown and closely link to our topics. Similar to the local town library they are organised in the Dewey System. The Year 6s monitor this system and are constantly organising the collection. It is also the home to an interactive whiteboard, four iMacs, a laptop trolley, an iPad trolley and an interactive table.

Reading Buddies

We have ‘Reading Buddies’ at Thorndown. Year R to Year 6 children buddy up with each other and help the older children help the younger children to apply all of the strategies they are learning to read unknown words by segmenting and blending. The older children teach the younger children to talk about the text and the illustrations and ask questions to see if the younger children understand what they are reading. This helps to develop everyone’s reading confidence! In January the children met with their reading buddy and wrote letters to each other.

Reading Across the Curriculum

We enjoy using our reading skills in every lesson and our teachers provide opportunities for us to do so in all subjects. We have recently explored texts such as ‘The Lost Words’ and ‘The Storyteller’ as a whole school. A text which has made us really think about our vocabulary choices.

Whole Class Reading

From Year 2 the children conduct reading lessons as a whole class. These reading sessions mean that children of all attainment bands are immersed in the same high-quality literature and the discussions that these texts promote. The teacher models good use of intonation, movement, volume and expression and children pick up good reading styles.

Year 5 and 6 Book Club

In Year 5 and 6 the children are provided the opportunity to take part in a book club. A selection of texts are shared with the children and they simply choose which text they would like to read and discuss. Here are some of the children’s comments:

‘Brilliant – I’ve shared the idea with school council.’

‘Chance to share ideas and opinions.’

‘I like to find out what other people think about the book.’

‘I enjoy the calm time.’

‘I do it at home with my family now.’

Our Top Picks

Each team have created a reading list of books that they’d like children to have read by the time they leave their year group. The selection of these books is based on pupils’ interests, year group topics and reading ability. Each classroom has a selection of these books for children to access. Teachers encourage children to read these books in school and at our weekly Reading Club, and use these books as whole class readers.

Our Top Picks Pre School

Our Top Picks YrR

Our Top Picks Yr1

Our Top Picks Yr2

Our Top Picks Yr 3 and 4

Our Top Picks Yr 5 and 6

Get Caught Reading

At the beginning of the school year the children created a great display of ‘Getting Caught Reading’ in funny, strange or unusual places. A fun way to show that reading can take place anywhere!

Into Film Festival

The year 5 children had a chance to visit the cinema during Film Festival Week. They watched a film called ‘A Dog’s Way Home.’ “If you like emotional films, you watch this! The film was very emotional and half of the Year 5 children cried! It was quite interesting for various reasons, such as making us swing back and forth with our emotions because Bella, the main character, had to go home. We thought it was sad and happy.”

Mystery Reader

The aim of ‘Mystery Reader’ is to show children that adults love reading too so we regularly invite parents, grandparents and other family members to come into their child’s class to read a children’s story. In order for the class to gain full impact and excitement of the reader experience, we keep each visit a secret and mystery until they arrive!

Thorndown Book Shop

Regularly, we run our very own book shop selling brand new and second hand books at incredible prices from £1 to £3. The books are suitable for all ages, across a different range of genres. A wonderful opportunity for children to buy high quality texts and reasonable prices!


If you would like access to some fantastic eBooks, why not visit www.oxfordowl.co.uk (external link). There are over 260 free books for parents to read with their child at home with lots of ideas on how to support your child with reading.

Author Visits

We have some excellent links with the library and other establishments where we source authors to engage and inspire the children at Thorndown. We love meeting new authors and learning about their journey of becoming storytellers and writers.

Reading Diet

By the end of a child’s time at Thorndown we aim to provide a rich reading diet!

Reading Diet

Please have a look at the following links for more information:

Phonics Action Sheets

Phonics Screening Check – Guide for Parents

Phonics for Parents

Reading Flyer for R, Year 1 and Year 2

Reading Flyer for Y 3-6

Reading for Pleasure Statement

Top Tips for reading at home