Oxford Street, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7EW

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At Exning Primary School, we foster a love of reading. We use a number of ways to encourage strong links between home and school when learning to read, and continuing to read for pleasure.  We send home phonics packs and information for parents during the early years of school and encourage parents to continue to share and enjoy stories and books at home – whatever the child’s reading ability and age. 


In-School Reading

In Reception and Key Stage 1 (Robins, Owls and Goldfinches), children will read with an adult once a week on a one-to-one basis. At the beginning of their reading journey, this will usually mean that adults read to the children and then discuss the text with them. As children grow in confidence, they will read to an adult and discussions will then take place. We use the Letters and Sounds programme , as well as Jolly Phonics songs and actions, to teach children how to to decode and blend sounds and words. As the texts become more difficult, we teach the children to work out the meaning of words by reading around and checking if the sentence makes sense. Children will also share texts as a whole class and will have books and stories read to them.


In Key Stage 2, (Kingfishers, Kestrels, Eagles and Swans), children are taught to analyse and discuss a wide range of texts using a whole-class-teaching sequence. Children take turns to read aloud, listen to the teacher read and then discuss the texts in pairs and groups, focusing on themes, conventions, characters, language and structure. Children are taught to justify their answers and participate respectfully in discussions about texts.


Once per week, children in KS2 also take part in a Reciprocal Reading lesson. Children work in small groups to analyse a text, using the 4 key areas of comprehension:

  • Summarising
  • Predicting
  • Questioning
  • Clarifying

Children then have the opportunity to feed back to one another and share their findings in groups.

Reading Ideas for Home Reading

Reception: As children enter the Reception Class (Robins), we ask parents/carers to read to their children frequently, sharing picture books and stories; traditional tales and texts with repetitive language and structures. We encourage parents to spot patterns with children and ask questions about the stories. As children begin to learn to read independently throughout the year, we encourage parents to listen to their child read, filling in their Monkey Book with short feedback on how their child has read to them. 

Key Stage 1: As children's reading continues to emerge, we encourage parents to continue to hear their children read at least three times per week. At the end of Year 1 (Owls), children will take their phonics test - parents are encouraged to look at phonics with their children while they are reading, and play word games with words that have been read; looking for rhyming words or words that have the same letter strings in them. By the end of Key Stage 1 (year 2 - Goldfinches), children at Exning Primary School have become confident readers, able to blend words and read many words on sight. Parents should still be looking for patterns in language, and exploring characters with their children throughout these two years. Parents could model how to read with expression, and ask questions about characters' feelings, how the story is written and make predictions about what might happen next in the story.

Reading Rewards in Reception and Key Stage 1

In Robins, Owls and Goldfinches, children who read regularly at home earn Book Worms. If children read at least three times per week, they receive a stamp in their Reading Log and they move up a level. Higher levels can earn them small prizes, but a half term of weekly reading will earn them a session of extra choosing time. Children who have read at least three times in a week have their photograph taken and their achievement is celebrated with parents through Class Dojo.

Lower Key Stage 2:

By the beginning of year 3, (Kingfishers) pupils should be able to read books written at an age-appropriate interest level. They should be able to read them accurately and at a speed that enables them to focus on understanding what they read rather than on decoding individual words. They should be able to decode most new words outside their spoken vocabulary, making a good attempt at correct pronunciation. In Years 3 and 4 (Kingfishers and Kestrels), children will be exposed to a wider range of longer and more challenging texts at school. Parents can support this learning at home by encouraging children to read a range of texts by a range of authors, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry collections. Parents should still continue to hear their children read regularly, but should also encourage more confident readers to read independently. Children should be reading at least 5 times per week in Lower Key Stage 2, whether with a parent or independently. When sharing books together, parents are encouraged to ask questions about themes, characters' feelings, word meanings, and summarising paragraphs, pages or chapters of text. Children should be encouraged to make predictions about what they have read.


Upper Key Stage 2

By the beginning of year 5 (Eagles), pupils should be able to read aloud a wider range of poetry and books written at an age-appropriate interest level with accuracy and at a reasonable speaking pace. Children will be reading an ever-increasing range of texts within school, including classics, poetry and writing by modern authors. They should be able to read most words effortlessly and to work out how to pronounce unfamiliar written words with increasing accuracy and independence. Parent should encourage children to use dictionaries to find the meaning of unfamiliar words, and encourage children to ask their own questions about the text. By the end of year 6 (Swans), children should be able to justify their answers with evidence from the text and make connections across and within books. Parents are still encouraged to hear their children read at least once a week, and children should be reading independently at least 4 other times per week. Parents are encouraged to ask their children about their reading, asking for summaries of the stories, asking for their views and recommendations and asking them questions about characters, themes and patterns and connections they have noticed.


 Reading Rewards in Key Stage 2

Each time children finish a book and write a review of it in their Reading Log, they are moved one place up the Diamond Quest Board. Diamond Quest is a half-termly incentive, which is incremental in its nature. Children move through different levels until they reach Diamond. The level they reach each half term will earn them different lengths of time in the half-termly reward, which may be a party, sports, arts or choosing time.

The levels and their requirements are as follows:

One Book - Bronze - no treat

Two Books - Silver - no treat

Three Books - Gold - 30 minutes of treat time

Four Books - Platinum - 45 minutes of treat time

Five Books - Diamond - one hour of treat time.


If children reach Diamond twice in a half term, they can choose a book, which the school will purchase for them to be presented in a Key Stage assembly.


Some longer and/or more challenging books may each children an extra step on the DQ board, including a selection of Star Readers. Star Readers lists can be found in the library.



Working at the expected standard at the end of KS1.

Working towards the expected standard at the end of KS1.


Working at the expected standard at the end of KS2.