Reading @ Dropmore Infant School

At Dropmore Infant School we aim to instil a love for reading in all children, by teaching them to read with understanding. We follow the National Curriculum expectations for the teaching of Reading. In KS1 and Reception, the teaching of reading can be broken down into three key areas:

  • Teaching children to decode through systematic phonics teaching,
  • Enabling children to ‘become readers’ through maximising engagement and enjoyment in reading, story/book sharing, the use of high quality texts across the curriculum and library time,
  • Comprehension and assessment through guided comprehension and repeated reading of the same texts.

We have daily Guided Reading sessions (weekly in Reception), use books in most lessons, and have story or poetry time at the end of the day.

It is critically important that the children read out-of-school as well. To support and encourage a reading partnership with parents we send home reading books. These books are ‘banded’, by level of difficulty and quantity of text:


Each band is then split into:

  • Decodable: these books are fully decodable and are set at a corresponding level to each child's learning. They will also include common exception words that are taught in phonics lessons.
  • Applying: these books may not be fully decodable or may be slightly longer to challenge.

The aim is NOT to progress through these bands as quickly as possible, but to enjoy books at the right level and read with understanding!!!  Below are rough guidelines how these banded reading books are intended to be used. 


These books are for pre-readers. This means that a child is not yet asked to recognise letters and words but should practise engaging with a book, turning the pages the correct way, listening to a parent read any text included, making comments and begin their journey to becoming a reader.


These books are for beginner readers learning to recognise individual letters (graphemes), recall their sound (phoneme) and being to blend short words. They are often highly repetitive to imbed learning and practise tracking. They have engaging pictures to promote discussion around the text. Encourage your child to read out loud to you, with expression. The books are short and often finished quickly, but should be read at least twice (not in one day):

  1.  Decoding – your child uses phonics to read individual words.
  2.  Read for meaning – read the book again, focusing on fluency and comprehension. Discuss the text and the pictures.


The books are becoming longer and have more of a story line. It will include lots of consonant blending so the use of pure phonics is imperative! Continue to encourage your child to read out loud. Some books are finished quickly (in one day), and some should be read across 2 days (stop halfway). In both situations it is important to discuss the story so far and ask and answer questions. If the story is finished in one day it is still advisable to keep it for a second day, particularly if there was a lot of decoding and a lack of fluency (and therefore understanding). A good exercise is always to get the child to recall the story prior to reading it again.


By now the books become text heavy, with some new vocabulary and less picture clues. Some books will even have chapters. The children should be reading with less sounding out, more fluidity and some expression. Their aim is now to be reading for meaning. By now it is important to encourage your child to alternate reading out loud and reading quietly to themselves. To check their understanding (particularly when reading quietly to themselves) it is important to spend an equal amount of time on reading and discussing the story.

Reading Diary

Your child will be given a Reading Diary in which we record the title of the book provided. It is important that you update the Reading Diary every time you read with your child (date / page number / any useful comments).

The Reading Diary and reading book should be kept in the book bag every day, to allow us to check, change and read the books.


Reading with your child a little every day and talking about the book is invaluable! Quality of reading is far more important than quantity of reading.