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Striving for




Reading and Phonics


Reading is a key priority at Thurcroft Junior Academy and is at the heart of everything that we do: our aim is to develop fluent readers who have a love of reading.



Thurcroft Junior Academy follows the ACET Phonics Scheme. If children are not yet fluent in reading upon joining our academy in year three, then they will complete systematic synthetic phonics lessons four times per week, alongside reading retrieval intervention.

What is phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children to hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language. Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read. Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words. Phonics involves matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters. For example, the sound k can be spelled as c, k, ck or ch. Teaching children to blend the sounds of letters together helps them decode unfamiliar or unknown words by sounding them out. For example, when a child is taught the sounds for the letters tpa and s, they can start to build up the words: “tap”, “taps”, “pat”, “pats” and “sat”.

How is Phonics taught?

Phonics lessons take place four times per week that are fast paced and repetitive so that children make lots of progress, quickly. The phonics groups are streamed, which means children are in a group that matches their ability based on assessments. The small groups are taught by phonics experts, who tailor the lessons to ensure that children’s needs are met and that the ‘recap’ part of the session revisits the sounds that children need. All phonics lessons are structured and delivered in the same way, meaning all children receive the same high-quality learning experiences. The knowledge of sounds and ability to apply this knowledge to reading words is assessed each half term by class teachers and phonics experts and the children are grouped accordingly. 


When do pupils learn Phonics?

Phonics starts in Nursery. The focus isn’t on reading words just yet but on learning all the vitally important skills to help to move onto reading words. Listening skills are developed and pupils will practise making sounds with their bodies and their mouths. They also develop their Fine Motor Skills, ready for holding a pencil (all these skills are in Phase 1). When ready, letter sounds are taught. (Phase 2).

We work in close partnership with Thurcroft Infant School and on transition to Year 3, information is shared in relation to each child’s phonics learning. As in any ACET Junior Academy, all Year 3 pupils will complete a phonics baseline test at the start of the new academic year to ensure teachers have a thorough understanding of each child’s phonics acquisition.

In Year 3 onwards, some pupils may still have gaps in their phonics knowledge, extra catch-up sessions known as ‘grid time’, is used as an intervention to rapidly teach and overlearn any missing sounds.

If at any point the pupils find something tricky or they join mid-year and have missed parts of phonics, teachers are very quick to ensure they have extra support in order to catch up through interventions such as ‘grid time’.

In all the phases, pupils will be taught Tricky Words and High Frequency Words these words are expected to be sight read, there should not be any sounding out of these words.

Things to know about phonics

-      Sounds are taught in a very specific order (the books match this order).

-      Phonics is used as the main a way to read a word.  E.G. When stuck, the strategy to use is ‘sound it out’ (e.g. sh – o – p), look for the sounds (e.g. noticing the ‘th’ in bath) split it up (e.g. f – ar – m = farm, y – ar – d = yard, farmyard).

-      Pictures are NEVER used to help read a word.

-      Some words are tricky words (see attached list) and these must be read by sight, with no sounding out.

Reading in KS2

We follow a reading into writing curriculum as part of our English lessons where children explore high-quality, age-appropriate and engaging texts. Children explore the characters, settings and plots of the texts that they read and the features that the author uses in their writing. Children will then apply this knowledge into their own writing, being inspired by the books that they have read and drawing upon their knowledge of the text.

Reading into writing texts

Year Group

Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

Year 3




Stone Age Tales– The Great Storm – Terry Deary



The Stolen Spear – Saviour Pirotta



The Wild Robot – Peter Brown



Hotel Flamingo –

Alex Milway

Hotel Flamingo: Alex Milway : Milway, Alex: Books


The Ancient Egypt Sleepover

Stephen Davies



The Day I fell into a Fairytale -  Ben Miller

The Day I Fell Into a Fairytale: The Bestselling Classic Adventure from Ben  Miller eBook : Miller, Ben, Terrazzini, Daniela Jaglenka:  Kindle Store

Year 4




The Firework-Maker’s Daughter –


The Firework-Maker's Daughter : Pullman, Philip, Bailey, Peter, Bailey,  Peter: Books

The Night we got stuck in a story –

Ben Miller


The Night We Got Stuck in a Story: From the author of smash-hit The Day I  Fell Into a Fairytale eBook : Miller, Ben: Kindle Store

What a Waste –

Jess French


It's a Wonderful World: How to Protect the Planet and Change the Future: French, Jess: 9780241533543: Books

How to Train Your Dragon –

Cressida Cowell

How To Train Your Dragon: Book 1 : Cowell, Cressida: Books

The Last Bear –

Hannah Gold


The Last Bear by Hannah Gold, Levi Pinfold | Waterstones

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – Kate DiCamillo

Year 5




Rooftoppers –

Katherine Rundell

Nevermoor –

Jessica Townsend

Pig Heart Boy –

Malorie Blackman

Pig Heart Boy - Books for Bugs

Holes –

Louis Sachar


Thomas Taylor


Year 6




The Ship of Doom –

M.A. Bennett



Wonder –

R.J. Palacio

Wonder by Palacio. R.J. ( 2013 ) Paperback: Palacio, R J,  Palacio, R J: 0780537302395: Books

Once – Morris Gleitzmann

Darwin’s Dragons – Lindsay Galvin


The Explorer –

Katherine Rundell


Kensuke’s Kingdom – Michael Morpurgo



Alongside our reading into writing curriculum, children follow a progressive reading curriculum. This allows our children to be exposed to an increased number of texts and read and discuss the texts in detail. Reading lessons take place 9:00 – 9:45, five days per week. With their class teacher the children will explore a text, it’s ideas and discuss questions and themes that arise. The children will read aloud through echo reading and partner reading to enable them to practise fluency and prosody.

Engaging and exciting texts with key themes for exploration are chosen with purpose to ensure that the children get the very most from the texts that they read. A key text is chosen as a focus with ‘branching out’ non-fiction and poetry to supplement as an opportunity to access different kinds of texts.

Children are given opportunities to answer questions based on a text focusing on retrieval, inference, vocabulary, prediction, summarising and explaining.

Reading lessons take a mainly discussion-based approach Monday – Wednesday. On Thursday, children follow the discussion-based model but at the end of the lesson, independently answer written questions based on what they have read and discussed. On a Friday, children read a completely new text independently and independently answer questions about what they have read.


Please see below, the Summer 1 Reading Overview –

Thurcroft Junior Academy Reading Lesson coverage – Summer 1

Year Group

Driver Text

Branching out – non-fiction

1 week

Branching out – poetry

1 week

Year 3

Varjak Paw

 S.F Said








Crazy about Cats

Owen Davey


The Owl and the Pussycat  Edward Lear


Ted Hughes

Year 4

The Great Chocoplot

Chris Calagan






How does Chocolate taste on Everest?

Leisa Stewart-Sharpe

Chocolate Cake

Michael Rosen

A poem’s a chunk of chocolate

Denise Rodgers

Year 5

Boy at the Back of Class

Onjali C. Rauf









Who are Refugees and Migrants? What Makes People Leave their Homes? And Other Big Questions

Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young


Brian Bilston

We refugees

Benjamin Zephaniah



Year 6

Letters from the Lighthouse

Emma Carroll

Alan Turing

 Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegar

Alan Turing (38) (Little People, BIG DREAMS)

Poems from the Second World War

Gaby Morgan

Poems from the Second World War




Thurcroft Junior Academy Reading Lesson coverage – Summer 2

Year Group

Driver Text

Branching out – non-fiction

Branching out - poetry

Year 3

Secrets of a Sun King

Secrets of a Sun King: ‘THE QUEEN OF HISTORICAL FICTION’ Guardian: 1








The Story of Tutankhamun: Patricia Cleveland-Peck

Ancient Egyptian Rhyme Time

Year 4

Happy Here

Happy Here: 10 stories from Black British authors & illustrators: 10  stories from Black British authors & illustrators






Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present: 1 (See  Yourself in Their Stories) : Jamia Wilson, Andrea Pippins:  Books

Page 177 – Asha is Rockstar Poem



Benjamin Zephaniah – Good Hope

Year 5

The Secret of Platform 13

The Secret of Platform 13: 25th Anniversary Illustrated Edition (Paperback)








Jabberwocky – Lewis Carroll


The Walrus and the Carpenter – Lewis Carroll

Year 6

The Fastest Boy in the World

The Fastest Boy in the World : Laird, Elizabeth, Peter Bailey: Books