Learning to Read


Learning to Read

Learning to read is one of the most important things that a child will learn to do at Dukesgate Academy. Evidence shows that children who read daily with an adult at home, achieve better academic success later in life than those who did not read with an adult as often.

At Dukesgate we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We believe reading is key for academic success and so, to ensure we have a holistic approach to the teaching of reading, we implement the following:

  • Children take part in daily Guided Reading lessons, where they are exposed to a range of different texts. These lessons give the children opportunities to be taught and to learn the reading skills needed to become proficient readers. We use the acronym VIPERS to represent the different areas we focus on: vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and sequencing.
  • We have a wide range of reading books in our school. Each classroom has a selection of books in their classroom, which are directly linked to the curriculum. This offers opportunities for the children to apply their reading skills across the curriculum. We also have a well stocked library and the school has links with our local library too.
  • Class teachers read to the children every day. This could be a book that the teacher recommends to the class or a recommendation from a child.
  • Each classroom has a reading area with books suitable for their reading age.
  • Children who are not yet ‘free readers’, will work through our school reading scheme – these are levelled books which match the children’s current reading age.
  • All children read online using ‘Reading Planet’ where they read and respond to age appropriate books, which match their current reading age, both in school and at home.

Phonics & Early Reading 

We teach phonics daily using 'Letters and Sounds', a scheme which enables children to learn how to decode words quickly, and develop skills in tackling unfamiliar words; this is sometimes known as synthetic phonics.

In Early Years, this begins with the children being encouraged to develop their listening skills and to discriminate between different types of sounds. This continues in Reception where children rapidly begin to learn the links between the sounds and the letters which represent these sounds.

By the end of Year 1, most children have reached a nationally agreed standard for phonics, which enables them to decode unknown groups of letters or words, by combining the letters and sounds. This is known as the ‘Phonic Screening Check’ and takes place in early June. For some children, reaching this standard may take a little longer and all children continue to be taught phonics daily in Year 2. Additional small group support is provided to address gaps in knowledge for those who did not reach the expected standard by the end of  Year 1. We aim to ensure that all children leave key stage 1 at the end of Year 2 having reached the expected standard.

Any child still not reaching the expected standard in phonics  will be thoroughly assessed to identify areas where they are struggling, and will continue to receive additional small group or individual support in Year 3 and beyond, until they can decode fluently.

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