Stephenson Way, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham DL5 7DD


Stephenson Way Academy and Nursery School



Reading and phonics

Our Reading Philosophy

At Stephenson Way all that we do is designed to encourage our children to become confident, articulate learners, who have dreams and aspirations for their futures. We want them to be able to work collaboratively, articulating their points of view with clarity and respect for others. We passionately believe that children should experience as much as possible during the time they are with us so that they are prepared for the rigours of the next steps in their education and are equipped with skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Reading is the bedrock of this, and as such forms the central spine of our school intent:

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Well-being is supported

Independence is encouraged

Language and communication is expanded

Love of reading is promoted


Resilience is fostered

Experiences are broadened

Aspirations are promoted

Differences are celebrated

Enjoying our class libraries
Enjoying our class libraries

The importance of reading for the education and overall life opportunities for children can not be overstated. With this in mind, we strive to ensure that reading permeates throughout our school day, with multiple opportunities given for children to engage with texts or apply skills associated with reading. As a result, we developed a ‘Five-a-day’ approach to reading – in other words every child is given five distinct reading opportunities (at least) through the course of a typical day:

  1. Early morning reading
  2. Assemblies
  3. Reading lessons
  4. Curriculum subjects
  5. Story time
A Reading Reward trip to Waterstones!
A Reading Reward trip to Waterstones!

We believe that regular opportunities for children to be immersed in reading and reading skills through high quality texts, in an environment that promotes and celebrates reading, helps craft independent thinkers who share our love of books. This starts at the earliest opportunity with children in Nursery and Reception being exposed to language rich environments, surrounded by books designed to promote early reading. Through the Read Write Inc. phonics programme our children in Early Years and KS1  are provided with the building blocks they will need to become successful, fluent readers later in the school journey.

Every aspect of our reading curriculum is designed to ensure a clear progression of skills for children which allows those at lower starting points to catch up quickly with a strong foundation in language. From Early Years to when they leave us at Year 6 children are able to access a range of texts from any genre or any purpose and be able to navigate successfully through them. By following our ‘Five-a-day’ approach, we believe that we are able to give our children, regardless of their ability, the tools necessary for success.


Bookflix in Year 6
Bookflix in Year 6