Reading & Phonics


English Curriculum Leader: Mrs C Ball


Phonics (Reading & Spelling): At Hindsford, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Hindsford CE Primary School, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

Comprehension: At Hindsford CE Primary School, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.

Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader who drives the early reading programme in our school. This person is highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.


Daily Phonics Lessons in Reception & Year

We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.

Children make a strong start in Reception: Teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.

We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:

Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.

Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

Daily Keep-Up Lessons Ensure Every Child Learns to Read

Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.

We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen.

We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace.If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.

Teaching Reading: Reading Practice Sessions Three Times a Week

We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week.

These sessions are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children using books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’

All sessions are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.

Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:


Prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression

Comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.

In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.

In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any child who still need to practise reading with decodable books.

Home Reading

The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.

Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.

We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.

Additional Reading Support for Vulnerable Children

Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics Keep-up sessions read their reading practice book to an adult as much as possible through-out the week.

Ensuring Consistency and Pace of Progress

Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.

Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.

Lesson templates, prompt cards and how to videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.

The Reading Leader and SLT use the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.

Ensuring Reading for Pleasure

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.

We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Hindsford CE Primary School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.

Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We also spend time talking the range of books in the library to entice the children to read a wide range of books.

In Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.

Children from Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.

As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.

Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of reading for pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc).

The school library is available for the children to select different books of interest them.

Each class has 50 recommended reading books for the children to read and enjoy.

To further celebrate effort in reading for pleasure, one child from each class is chosen to be ‘Reader of the Month’. They are praised in Whole School Worship and have a photograph displayed in the Key Stage Two library.

Reading within the English Lesson (Year 1 to Year 6)

All children throughout the school participate in daily English lessons which are in addition to the Phonics/ Whole Class Reading sessions. These lessons follow a three-phased approach of reading (developing comprehension skills), exploring the genre (including grammar) and writing. Teachers deliver lessons based on high quality texts and continue to model reading and comprehension skills even if the focus in that particular lesson is not reading. Objectives are taken from the National Curriculum to ensure the correct level of challenge and progression in skills.

Below is  copy of the Long-Term Plan for each Year Group in Reading.

Below is a copy of the Reading Progression in skills.

Reading After Phase 6

During the whole class reading sessions the emphasis moves from phonics and early decoding skills to comprehension.

Teachers plan a series of lessons based on a particular text, usually linked to the class’ English work. These sessions have been designed to develop and enhance the skills that the pupils often find most challenging or that the school deems to be of importance in later life such as:

  • Knowledge of a wide range of vocabulary.
  • Summarising
  • Discussing authorial intent and language effect.

The children also focus explicitly on pace, stamina and the test techniques required to successfully engage with the statutory Reading test.

An important element to this whole class approach is that all children, regardless of ability, access the same text and discussions surrounding it.

In this way, every pupil is exposed to new, challenging vocabulary and is able to develop the necessary comprehension skills in a supportive yet challenging environment.

The first session gives pupils the opportunity to explore the background of the text, with teachers using images, maps or film clips to deepen the pupils’ wider understanding.

Subsequent sessions focus on any new vocabulary found in the text with pupils using dictionaries and composing their own definitions of new words to aid their understanding prior to reading.

In the sessions following this, the teachers read the text aloud while pupils follow using their own text. This allows children to hear quality intonation and expression being modelled. Explicit links are made to the new vocabulary in order to reinforce their meaning and teachers fully explain the stated and implied meaning behind the text.

The session ends with pupils attempting 5 timed ‘Find and Copy’ questions which allow them to apply and reinforce the skills being taught over time.

In the next session, pupils focus on developing their summarising skills and using precise, focused language. In the final session or sessions, teachers focus on the higher-order comprehension skills such as recognising authorial intent and language effect. Children are encouraged to produce well-thought out, articulate written answers to develop their oracy and understanding.


Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

Assessment for learning is used:

daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support

weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.

Summative assessment is used:

every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.

by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.

Statutory Assessment

Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.

Ongoing Assessment for Catch-Up

Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed through their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as through the half-termly Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised summative assessments.


Parent Support:

Below are a range of resources to support your child at home with their phonics and early reading.

Click on the two icons below to find out how we teach letter formation and to support you with your pronunciation when reading each grapheme.

Click on the icon below to support your child with the rhymes that we use when teachign the formation of capital letters.

Click on the icon below which shows you all of the graphemes that your child will leanr across Reception and Year 1.

Watch the videos below to help you with your pronunciation of graphemes.


Response to COVID-19:

Due to the 2021 national lockdown, we are now teaching our daily Reading lessons remotely, in the form of specific Phonics lessons and English lessons (Communication, Language and Literacy Lessons in Reception). These are either Screenrec recordings or videos of the teacher to allow greater flexibility for children to access their learning around parental commitments. Additionally, some lessons are delivered ‘live’ via Zoom to the older pupils in school, depending on the content being delivered. This ensures that the provision is tailored to the needs of the cohorts rather than generic year-group learning provided by published Home Learning resources.

In order to maximise the effectiveness of our remote-learning package, teachers are selecting and delivering the objectives which provide the greatest opportunities to be taught successfully online.  The lessons therefore, may not not follow the long term plan but follow, where possible, the school’s phased approach of lessons with a reading focus, followed by targeted grammar and spelling work and then a writing focus which allows the pupils to apply their learning. The objectives taught are being recorded by the teachers so that full coverage will be delivered by the end of the academic year. Where children are performing significantly below or above their peers, teachers have provided either individual recorded lessons or alternative work to support or extend.

Our lessons structure has received positive praise from both the parents and pupils:

Parent voice:

‘the pre-recorded videos add much- needed flexibility parents’

‘(my child) really enjoyed the lesson the other day where you were sounding out the sentences as a class. I feel like it’s really helped his confidence as it showed him how you read part then go back to the start etc. We have found it really useful and when we were practicing last night he found it a lot easier and didn’t get stressed at all. Thank you so much for that lesson. We will keep practicing. Thank you so much for all your hard work’

Year 6 pupil voice: ‘they [pre-recorded videos] are better because we can listen again to the bit we get stuck on.

At Hindsford, we put the highest emphasis on enabling our pupils to become fluent, enthusiastic readers. Because of this, both explicit teaching of decoding and comprehension as well as opportunities to read independently and to be read to have deliberately been included in the children’s daily remote learning provision.

The daily Phonics lessons provided in Reception and Year 1 are designed to help the children consolidate their existing Phonics knowledge before introducing new graphemes/ spelling patterns as well as aid rapid recall and retention of high frequency words. They also include daily opportunities for pupils to practise and refine their decoding skills to read and write graphemes (letters) and/or words, depending on age. Teachers are following the normal sequence of Phonics lessons as set out in the school’s scheme of work.

During the first week of each 3 week block of lessons, the recorded English lessons also have a reading focus, with particular emphasis on the development of comprehension skills.

At the end of each day, teachers lead live Zoom sessions where the children participate in a Class Reader session (KS2) or Story Time (Reception and KS1) which help to maintain the children’s love of reading and allow for discussions around vocabulary, characters and plot.

As of January 2021, the school has subscribed to the Oxford Owl website which provides all pupils access to a wide range of books to read for pleasure. In addition, it allows teachers to set levelled texts for children who are still learning to decode. This has meant that children have still been able to consolidate their reading skills at home, as they would have done under normal circumstances.

Here are some examples of our children’s Phonics  home learning (Please see the individual class pages for daily examples):

World Book Day

Even in Lockdown, the staff and children at Hindsford were able to enjoy World Book Bay. Teachers taught and provided a range of tasks and activities based around books and the love of reading. Here is a selection of the work that took place across school:

Here is a more of the English Home Learning that has taken place over Lockdown:

Here are some examples of our Reading home learning:

Reading Gallery:

Pupil Voice:

“We have lots of interesting and exciting books in school and that makes me want to read.” (Year 1 Pupil)

“Reading is one of my favourite things to do.” (Year 1 Pupil)

“Teachers make reading fun because they give us the skills so we can do it on our own.”(Year 2 pupil)

“I really like our whole class Guided Reading because we learn loads of new words and then I know what they mean when I see them again.” (Year 2 pupil)

“Teachers help us improve our reading by changing our books so that we read harder texts.”(Year 3 pupil)

“There are lots of rewards at our school that makes me want to read more.”(Year 3 pupil)

“I love it when it’s my turn to read in the Reading corner.”(Year 4 pupil)

“Teachers persuade us to read different authors so we don’t just read the same kind of stories all the time.”(Year 4 pupil)

“If you asked children at Hindsford whether or not they like reading, they would say yes!” (Year 5 pupil)

“We are encouraged to read because we have our own reading areas with lots of interesting books.” (Year 5 pupil)

“Teachers share ideas about what we could read next by giving us suggestions about books we’ve never heard of before; I read ‘Hitler’s Pink Rabbit’ and I loved it!” (Year 6 pupil)

“I like the way our learning is linked. I know when we do Spelling work, it helps with my reading because I recognise those patterns when I come across them in other books.”(Year 6 pupil)

Parent Workshops:

As a matter of course, parents are  offered the chance to come to a Reading & Phonics Workshop, designed to explain how we teach Reading at Hindsford and how they can help their child at home. This habitually occurs early in the Autumn term although alternative arrangements will be made this year, in light of the Covid virus.

Staff Training:

(In order from most recent)

December 2020: Inset to introduce comprehension test technique to aid speed to all staff and to show proposed new English planning and teaching sequence, designed to give children meaningful opportunities to apply non-fiction comprehension skills (research etc…)

October 2019: English Curriculum Staff Meeting

September 2019: Staff Meeting – Key Stage 1 Reading Meetings and Key Stage Two Reading for Pleasure Up-date Sessions

June 2019: Consortium Cross-School English Moderation

May 2019: Closing the Vocabulary Gap (Marcus Jones)

April 2019: Learning environment Staff Meeting (Working Walls and Reading Areas)

March 2019: Consortium Cross-School English Moderation

November 2018: Guided Reading 2 Staff Meeting

September 2018: Guided Reading 1 Staff Meeting

September 2018: Teaching Spelling Strategies Staff Meeting

September 2018: Planning for Cross-Curricular Extended Writing