Reading & Phonics

English Curriculum Leader: Mrs C Ball

For more information about how English is delivered at Hindsford, please e-mail Mrs Ball via the enquiries e-mail


At Hindsford CE Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers.

We believe that reading is crucial for academic success and that a fundamental pathway to high achievement in reading begins with a secure knowledge of the English Phonetic Code.

It is therefore our intent to ensure that all children are taught the English Phonetic Code and are secure in their knowledge and application of this to support them when reading and decoding words.

In addition, it is our intent to develop the children’s understanding of vocabulary, develop their knowledge of different authors and genres and to enhance and strengthen their comprehension skills so that they have a good understanding of what they have just read.

We want our children to be passionate and enthusiastic readers and strive to make reading fun and engaging so that our children become independent and enthusiastic readers.


We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme.

In Reception, we build from 10-minute daily lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to full-length lessons (30 minutes) as quickly as possible.

In Year 1, we teach Phonics for 30 minutes a day and in Year 2 upwards we teach Phonics to the children that require this in the form of additional Phonic sessions.

Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.

Children make a strong start in Reception with teaching beginning in Week 2 of the Autumn Term.

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.

Any child in Reception or Year 1 who needs additional practice has daily keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up sessions 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.

The additional Phonics sessions for children in Year 2 upwards that are not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check take place at least three times a week and last between 10 – 30 minutes each session. This is because these children urgently need to catch up so that 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 the children’s phonic knowledge and teach these using the keep-up resources – at pace.

Teaching Reading

In Reception, Year 1 and for any children in Year 2 who have gaps in their phonic knowledge participate in reading practice sessions three times a week. This is replicated for any SEN children in KS2 who also require this.

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 grid.

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:

Decoding: Teaching children to recognise GPCs and blend them together to read words.

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 blending have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books. They may also have additional keep up Phonics sessions.

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

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.

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)

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

We are passionate that children of all ages have frequent opportunities to enjoy being read to and have time to read independently once they have developed sufficient fluency.

Every day includes a class novel or story time session, where children are exposed to the high quality modelling of reading with prosody. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books from a range of genres, authors and other worlds and cultures.

In Key Stage 1, the books read to the children are from the 50 Recommended Reads for each class, whereas in Key Stage 2 this takes the form of a class novel. In these sessions, the children listen to and discuss the novels that will form the basis of the Fiction unit in English (See Writing Policy). In these year groups the children read the 50 Recommended Reads independently.

Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading.

Home Reading

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

In Reception, Year 1 & for some children in Year 2, the decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure the child’s reading success is shared with the family.

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

For any child that is no longer on the Little Wandle Phonics Programme they take home reading books from Stages 6 to 12. After this, we deem the child to be an independent reader and therefore they are able to select a book from the most appropriate free reader book shelf in the school library.

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.

Reading Enhancement

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

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

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 Celebration Worship and have a photograph displayed in the Key Stage 2 library.

Reading within the English Lesson (Years 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. Reading and comprehension skills are further developed in these lessons through Phase 1 of our quality book-based approach, designed to allow pupils to be fully immersed in a genre. Texts are chosen to link, where possible, to the wider curriculum, allowing learning in these areas to be revisited, deepened and become embedded. With this approach, subject-specific concepts, vocabulary and terminology can be explored and used across lessons, aiding comprehension.

The texts that make up the English curriculum at Hindsford CE Primary have been carefully chose to ensure progression and links to prior learning cross all areas. These include texts that:

-display an increasing reading difficulty and text structure

-make overt authorial links within and across year groups to develop and deepen prior learning and knowledge of authors

-make genre links across year groups to build on prior learning

-include diversity of text types, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry

-include diversity of author, including male/female, authors from different races and backgrounds, classic and contemporary authors

-include diversity of character and view point: girls, boys, adults, characters from different backgrounds

Teachers deliver lessons based on high quality texts and continue to model reading and comprehension skills through phases 2 and 3, 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.

End of Year Objectives:

By the end of Early Years, children should be able to:


Demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary.

Anticipate – where appropriate – key events in stories.

Use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems and during role-play.

Word Reading:

Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs.

Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending

Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words.

Below is a copy of the End of Year Objectives for Year Groups 1 to 6:

Long Term Plans:

Below is a copy of the Long-Term Plan for each Year Group in Reading from Years 1 to 6:

Further information can be gained from our Poetry Curriculum Overview and the English Curriculum Text Choices: Progression and Curriculum Links documents:

Below is a copy of the Reading Progression in Skills:

Reading after Phase 5

During the whole class Guided 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 at the end of the academic year. Any child that does not pass must re-sit this test 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 teaching the formation of capital letters.

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

Click on the icon below to access videos which shows you how all of the phonemes are pronounced.

Response to COVID-19:

During the 2021 National Lockdown, we continued to teach daily English lessons remotely. This consisted of either a screen rec recording or video made by the class teacher or a live lesson via zoom. Each day, there was also a live storytime or class read session which helped to maintain the children’s love of reading and allow for discussions around vocabulary, characters and plot. There was also a daily Phonics lesson for the children in Reception and KS1 taught by the class teacher.

This ensured that the provision provided was 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 selected and delivered the objectives which provided the greatest opportunities to be taught successfully online.

The lessons therefore, may not have followed the long term plan but followed, 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.

This reflected the school’s ‘normal’ approach to teaching Reading & Writing, providing familiarity and confidence to pupils.

The objectives taught were recorded by the teachers so that full coverage would be delivered by the end of the academic year.

Where children were performing significantly below or above their peers, teachers  provided either individual recorded lessons or alternative work to support or extend.

At the end of the lockdown, a parent/carer and pupil questionnaire was sent out in which the school received positive praise from both the parents and pupils:

Parent Voice: “My child really enjoyed their lessons, especially the lesson in which the children were sounding out the sentences as a class. The recorded lessons were really god and helped my son’s confidence as it showed him how to complete the task. If he was then unsure, he could just rewind and re-watch it.”

Throughout the lockdown, the children were encouraged to read every day for at least 10 minutes. To support with what books to read, in January 2021, the school subscribed to the Oxford Owl website which provided all pupils access to a wide range of books to read for pleasure.

In addition, it allowed teachers to set levelled texts for children who were still learning to decode. This meant that the children were still able to consolidate their reading skills at home, as they would have done under normal circumstances.

Here are examples of the work that was carried out during lockdown, including the children celebrating World Book Day:

Here are some examples of our Reading home learning: