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Sunny Bank Primary School

Halfway HousesPrimary School

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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
Accelerated Reader has been introduced to the children and weekly high scores are announced in assembly as well as displayed in the library. Children choose their own reading books and any AR book they read they will complete an online quiz and be given a % out of 100% depending on the answers they give to the question, all their quizzes are listed in their own 'library' and parents can log in to 'Home Connect' to see the scores and which books their child has read.

At Halfway Houses Primary School our children have access to a large stock of library books. 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 sessions as well as being able to visit anytime during the school day where they can choose reading books and levelled Accelerated Reader books. The library is also used across the curriculum for research. The children are encouraged to choose AR books set around their level of reading and are able to log books in and out on our child friendly system, we see this as a very important way in which to develop and promote independent reading.

Get in Touch

  • Halfway Houses Primary SchoolDanley Road, Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey,Kent, ME12 3AP

  • 01795 662875