How we teach reading and Phonics

Read Write Inc

Children begin their phonics journey in our Nursery class with a focus on developing children’s listening and attention skills before moving onto set 1 sounds in Read Write Inc in the summer term. This enables staff to help develop children’s speaking and listening skills and encourage the children to become attuned to the sounds around them whilst developing the skills of oral blending and segmenting. All of these skills are then built upon as the children develop new phonic skills in Reception. Here, we teach phonic sessions daily using the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme.  

Reception is grouped according to their ability within the class. 

Phonics Screening Check

From 2012 a National Phonics Screening Check has been introduced. Year 1 children’s ability to read and blend sounds is assessed and submitted in the summer term. Children who do not pass the phonics screening check then receive extra support in year 2 and are re-tested in the summer term.

1:1 Reading

We read with children as regularly as we are able in school and increase the frequcney of reading 1:1 depending on children's needs. 1:1 reading is a valuable experience for early readers, so we ask that parents and carers support us by reading with children at home. Children are expected to read at home every day. This not only supports pupils in developing their fluency, but also fosters a reading habit and love of reading. Pupils who read regularly generally achieve better in school. We have a large range of books in school, including books by the Oxford Reading Tree. All of our individual reading books are colour coded depending on the level of difficulty. Children are encouraged to change their own reading book on a regular basis which is monitored by the class teacher. Once the children have reached the end of the colour banded scheme they become “free readers” and can choose any book to read. We also allow children access to the school library and they can check out books using our electronic library system. 

High Frequency Words

From Reception, children practise reading high frequency words. These are then tested every half term and a record of how many words the children can read is then kept by each teacher. Once the children have learnt all of the high frequency words that children are expected to be able to read from Reception to Year 2 they then begin to learn the medium frequency words.


Whole Class Reading Lessons


Each class has at least three whole class reading sessions each week. In these sessions we teach the children the skills they need to be good readers, such as skimming and scanning, reading around the word to understand new vocabulary and making inferences. We have a whole school termly overview of themes and we teach the National Curriculum content domains within these themes. The themes are as follows:




Fluency and confidence

Developing decoding and fluency in reading aloud. Developing self-checking. Focus on enjoyment of reading, sharing books, stories and other texts.

Inference and deduction

Making inferences on the basis of what has been said and done. Deducing and predicting from what has been read.

Author's Choices- language & structure

Commenting on writer's purpose. Discussing the effect of writer’s choices in language and structure on the reading.



Retrieving information from texts, including non-fiction. Using speed reading skills e.g. skim/scan and identification of key information e. g. key word finding.

Words in context

Developing skills in understanding new words in context, e.g. reading around the word, considering spelling patterns etc.


Summarising and Comparing

Discussing what has been read, summarising key points and themes across a range of reading. Comparing what has been read to other texts and personal experiences.

Drop Everything And Read

We know it is important for children to have good models of reading and we are passionate about fostering a love of reading. Therefore, everyday, in every class, the class teacher spends 15 minutes reading aloud to children and sharing books. We choose these books carefully to make sure they are challenging, cater to children's tastes, provide a good model of writing and are from a diverse range of authors, representative of the community we serve. 

Reading at the Heart of the Curriculum

At Ash Hill we adopt the Talk for Writing strategy to teach English. This means that our pupils learn and study a text before using it to inspire their own writing. We believe reading opens the doors to all other areas of the curriculum, therefore we adopt our English text as the stimulus for our topic work. For example, in Year 2 pupils study Mrs Armitage on Wheels, using this story as a stimulus to learn about the properties of materials in Science and to develop their Design Technology skills through building a new mode of transport for Mrs Armitage.