Reading and phonics

Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will learn to do, therefore we put as much effort and enthusiasm in as possible to ensure it is an enjoyable and exciting experience for every child in our school. We strive to ensure each child develops a love of books by sharing stories regularly and encouraging reading both inside and outside of the classroom with the goal of making reading as enjoyable as possible at all ages.

In Early Years pre-reading and reading skills are developed through many varied activities.  Before children can learn to read words, they need to develop their auditory discrimination skills through plenty of opportunities that require them to listen carefully and talk extensively about what they hear, see and do.  Children are exposed to regular stories, songs and musical activities that develop their awareness of rhyme, rhythm and alliteration that is essential for reading.  Activities such as jigsaws and matching games also develop their visual pre-reading skills.  Through allowing children to follow their interests and providing an enabling environment, children are exposed to opportunities that develop these skills all of the time and adults are able to differentiate for each individual child’s needs.  Children also have daily short adult directed phonics sessions which gradually move from developing general sound discrimination, rhythm, rhyme and alliteration through to oral blending and segmenting of words and then onto linking letters to sounds and blending them to read words.  

When children reach Key Stage 1, Phonics is taught discretely 4 times a week. Although we don’t follow a specific scheme, we take a systematic approach to learn all sounds as well as developing each child’s ability to blend sounds to read words. By the end of Year 1 children will have learnt to recognise and name all 44 phonemes (each sound that you hear in a word) and graphemes (different ways to write down phonemes). Children will then take part in a phonics screening test in June where they will read 40 words, both real and nonsense, to demonstrate their phonetic knowledge.

In Year 2 children will begin to have weekly spelling tests where they will continue to learn different patterns of spelling to ensure they can apply these sounds when writing independently. In class 2 children also have a daily reading carousel session, developing these skills when reading independently and in groups as well as completing activities using the spelling, grammar and punctuation knowledge taught throughout the year.

Across the school, we give children the opportunities to further their reading skills during lesson time as well as in their own time. We have a well resources library where children have access to a large variety of books. We are also lucky enough to have a reading shed in the playground where children can choose to spend their break and lunch times, reading alone or with children of different ages.

Older children have the role of being reading ambassadors, giving them weekly experience and the responsibility of supporting the younger children in the school.

How can you support your child’s reading at home?

  1. Encourage your child to ‘pretend’ to read a book before they can read words. This lets them decide that is happening in the story and repeat key words used when you read aloud you your children. It also gives children a ‘love of books’ from an early age.
  2. Read with your child as much as you can, even if it is a page a night. Read aloud to your child as well as listening to them read. Both are as equally as important for your child’s development.
  3. Read a wide variety of books with your child. Don’t worry if your child wants to read the same book over again, this is also excellent to develop their confidence in reading.
  4. Don’t worry if they make mistakes, just continue to support them.
  5. Ask questions when reading books to develop children’s understanding of the text.
  6. Visit the library with your child if possible.


 In KS1 we use Collins Big Cat Reading scheme and our phonics teaching is based on Letters and Sounds.

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