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'Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.’  Attributed to Frederick Douglass

‘Reading is important because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything.’ Tomie dePaola


Because learning to read is integral to a child’s cultural, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual development, it is at the heart of Darell’s whole school curriculum. 

It is our intent that a child at Darell - no matter what their starting point - is immersed in a language rich environment that nurtures their love for and enjoyment of reading and equips them with the skills to read with fluency and confidence. 

Link to our values:

  • Every child will have equal access to high quality texts: both texts that are read to them and texts that they themselves can read - equality

  • Teaching children to take responsibility for books

  • Exposing children to literature pitched slightly higher than their independent reading level - aspiration

  • Developing an attitude to reading that excites, enthuses and inspires - enjoyment


To achieve our statement of intent, reading aloud is a frequent and regular part of each school day at Darell and enables children to experience and enjoy texts that they might not otherwise meet.  To this end, we deliberately choose books that are worth re-reading and are pitched slightly above their level for independent reading.  Early Years and Key Stage One teachers select books that include rhythm and pattern, encouraging children to play with language so that they see reading as a meaningful and fun process. 

In each classroom, children have access to collections of books from a wide and diverse range of authors and illustrators. Books are carefully selected to extend and develop children’s reading and feed their interests, and to allow children to see themselves reflected in what they read and have the opportunity to investigate other perspectives. Choice underpins reading for pleasure and all children, from Nursery to Year 6, have a book of choice to read at home. 

The teaching of reading starts with talk, for talk is how children make meaning.  At Darell, each conversation about a book, alongside each question and conversational turn, develops children’s listening comprehension and their language which is the very platform for reading comprehension as they progress through the school. 

Early Reading

In the Early Years, teaching of reading is guided by Little Wandle Revised Letters and Sounds. Adults talk with children about the world around them and share books (stories and non-fiction), rhymes, poems and songs to develop their language comprehension. 

Skilled word reading is taught using a daily structured synthetic phonics programme from Reception to Year 2.  We use Little Wandle Revised Letters and Sounds to teach both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. 

Alongside their book of choice, from Reception onwards, children have access to phonetically decodable texts and are reading from texts with the sounds they know. 

Key Stage One and Key Stage Two

For both Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, in line with the national curriculum, our teaching focuses on developing children’s competence in both word reading and comprehension (both listening and reading).  

Reading comprehension is taught using the ‘Key Principles of Reading’ document and reading lessons follow a structured approach to ensure consistency and progression across the school.  


When a child leaves Darell, they are able to read fluently, with confidence and for enjoyment.  They are able to talk well about their reading and can unlock the academic curriculum in their forthcoming secondary education.  With these skills, we help them to be articulate for the rest of their lives.