Early Reading Skills

Layton School prides itself in developing a whole school reading culture. 

At Layton, reading is at the heart of every subject and defines how the school moves children from learning to read to reading to learn. If our children do not grow as readers, then they will have great difficulty in growing as learners. We aim to harness a love of reading for all, and the selection of reading materials are:

  • Justified in their choice, 
  • Ambitious in their content, 
  • To build a foundation for future reading,
  • To create a living library inside the child’s mind,
  • To open doors and opportunities to the wider world,
  • To raise aspirations for all children,
  • To promote independence in engaging children in reading.
  • To embrace cultural diversity and inclusivity. 

It is our belief that our pupils’ success will be defined by their ability to ‘learn to read’ fluently such that children can use and apply these skills to ‘read to learn’; thus, equipping children with the most important skill to have intrinsic motivation to read for pleasure.


“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss


When starting Reception, children have access to a language rich environment to develop a breadth of vocabulary that can be used in context within each of the areas of learning. Tier 2 and 3 Vocabulary is taught explicitly, and emphasis is placed on quality interactions between children and adults and children.

Reception children develop early reading skills using a variety of literary techniques including storytelling, role-play, singing and rhyming activities and discrete daily phonics sessions, which start as soon as children are in Foundation Stage. 

Phonics sessions are delivered through the Layton’s Letters and Sounds Synthetic Systematic Phonics (SSP) programme whereby the children learn phonemes in a systematic order. Children learn to blend and segment sounds at their own rate with explicit teaching to support using and applying phonics in their writing. Discrete daily phonics sessions continue to be taught throughout years 1 and 2, in accordance with their phonic ability.

Throughout Reception and Key Stage 1, children take a reading book home that is linked to their phonetic blending ability, as well as a library book which they can share or listen to with their parent. These books reflect a wide range of interests and genres at the appropriate level and are a combination of staff and children’s choices.

When children make the transition to KS2, children have access to our SSP if they need to. All children access a home reader matched to their reading fluency, or phonetic decoding, ability and a book chosen by themselves to reflect their own interest, both fiction and non-fiction. Ambitious expectations are set to encourage reading at home to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.

Throughout school, children access books from our Layton reading spine, which is based on the themes:

Classic Text and Traditional Texts

These texts are the traditional texts that you expect children to read and re-read such that they can retell the story to others. The selection of classic texts are those that have lasted the test of time and are the texts that were considered ground-breaking for their era.

Texts to highlight Moral Dilemmas

These texts expose children to a variety of situations in which a difficult choice has to be made. Examples of this include: good versus evil, solitude, revenge, crime, corruption, survival, courage, heroism, tackling prejudices, racism and stereotypes, honesty, loyalty climate change, environmental issues.

Texts to reflect our school values

These texts will immerse our children in situations where they must consider our core school values including resilience, relationships, risk-taking, resourceful, reflective. For example, love, friendship, hope, empathy, charity, citizenship, integrity, humility,

Texts to raising awareness of cultural diversity and inclusivity

These texts raise awareness of, be respectful towards and embrace the variety of diverse aspects of humanity. This includes: race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, ability and disability, politics, class, British Values.

Within each theme the texts include a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and rhyme and life-stories.

Science and foundation subjects also have reading libraries linked to the critical thinking questions per half term.


“Great stories speak to us as individuals and some children will return to certain books again and again. Great stories also build our language because around 75 per cent of our vocabulary comes from our reading. Reading develops the ability to think in the abstract; to follow lines of thought. Schools that have a reading spine, build a common bank of stories that bind the community together. These are shared and deeply imagined common experiences.”


Pie Corbett 

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