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Reading and Phonics


At Halfway Houses Primary School we aim to create a stimulating literacy environment in which children are actively encouraged to enjoy books, and are motivated to want to read independently from an early age. We believe that pupils should be taught to read effectively for different purposes, acquire key phonics skills and understand the rules governing the structure of language. We also believe that reading for pleasure is imperative if a lifelong love of reading is to be gained.


Reading is initially taught alongside ‘Letters and Sounds’. This promotes the teaching of synthetic phonics to aid the teaching and learning of reading. As part of this scheme the children will be taught to:
• discriminate between different sounds in real and pseudo words;
• learn the letters and letter combinations most commonly used to spell sounds;
• read words by sounding out and blending their separate parts;
• study written representatives of a sound and how it looks;
• recognise on sight vocabulary identified as ‘ tricky words’

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Children are taught to read in the Foundation stage using letters and sounds. They are introduced to 'Letters and Sounds' (Phases 1-3) throughout their time in the EYFS, which will give them good foundations for learning to read. The Reception high frequency words are introduced alongside reading books for children to develop a good sight vocabulary. Reading books go home everyday from the start of the year and guided reading sessions are introduced from the start of Term 3. We provide continuous opportunities to apply new phonic knowledge and integrate phonics in to our play on a daily basis.

Key Stage One (KS1)
Teachers continue to build on the children’s reading skills by modelling good reading and teaching the remaining phases from Letters and Sounds. Phonics is taught for 20 minutesper day in differentiated groups and the children are then tested on their phonic knowledge at the end of Year 1.  Children then work in differentiated phonics groups in Year 2 where they focus on spelling, punctuaition and grammar. Reading is taught for 30 minutes per day.  A weekly objective for reading sessions is selected by the teacher and this guides the children’s learning with activities and questioning being set at appropriately differentiated levels.  Each child will read with a teacher at least once per week as part of a guided group.


Children who are not making the expected progress in reading will be identified as part of progress reviews and suitable interventions will be put in place to help them.
Children are introduced to a range of text types including multicultural stories, poems, rhymes, fairy tales, traditional tales, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, non- fiction texts, picture books and stories by significant authors. Children are taught how to read for meaning and answer questions about texts looking at characterisation and plot.

Key Stage Two (KS2)
Teachers are responsible for continuing the phonics programme with the children who need extra support in reading. For children who are working beyond phase 5 of Letters and Sounds, teachers will teach spelling strategies and give weekly quizzes during SPAG sessions. Children are given opportunities for silent reading and reading is taught in a similar way to KS1. A range of genres are introduced to older children including autobiographies, letters, diaries, short stories, poems and play scripts. Through shared reading and weekly guided reading sessions, children are taught how to analyse texts and comment on authors’ techniques.

Reading Schemes
The core reading scheme is Rigby Star. This is supplemented by other schemes to develop children’s reading skills. Such schemes include provision to support reluctant readers, higher achieving readers and engaging boys in reading. Books are chosen at the appropriate level for the children. Accelerated Reader has been introduced to children and weekly high scores are announced in assembly. Children read their home reading book once a week to an adult and comments on the children’s progress are noted in a home school diary for YR-2. Alongside their home reading (banded) book children will be encouraged to choose and take home a library book as well from our  library.

At Halfway Houses Primary School our children have access to a new stock of library books. The old stock was completely removed and the library completely refurbished in readiness for the new stock. The library has become a hub of excitement and we are running early morning children sessions every day. The  Library system enables all the children to be able to access information on our library stock from home. The pupils have a timetabled session where they can choose reading books and levelled Accelerated Reader books, we see this as a very important way in which to develop and promote independent reading. The library is also used across the curriculum for research.  Our library link.