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Freshfield Primary School

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Freshfield Primary School

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Early Reading


READING: Teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary school. These key skills not only unlock the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-confidence and future life chances.


“You can find magic wherever you look.  Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.”  Dr Seuss


The National Curriculum programmes of study for reading are based on the simple view of reading.  This model shows that reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading.  In all our classrooms, from Nursery to Year 6, we prioritise reading to our children because we know that listening to and talking about stories develops children’s vocabulary. Please click The Reading Framework 2021 link at the bottom of the page for further information.

To ensure that our children are able to read and write successfully, we use the programme Sounds Write to teach phonics. Phonics teaches children that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. Children’s knowledge of the English alphabetic code – how letters or groups of letters represent the sounds of the language – supports their reading and spelling.

Children will be able to:


  • Use their phonic knowledge to blend and segment phonetically decodable words
  • Use their phonic knowledge to read complex words and to recognise from sight High Frequency Words - Common Exception Words
  • Read with fluency for both pleasure and to retrieve information. 
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently using phonic knowledge
  • Apply their phonic knowledge in their reading and writing across the whole curriculum when they enter Key Stage 2.


For more information, the SoundsWrite link at the bottom of the page provides an introduction to the programme.


Early Reading at Freshfield


Nursery and Class 7

Reading is one of the most important lifelong skills that children will begin to develop while they are in our nursery. We actively teach the skills needed for children to become good readers using a range of activities, strategies and resources.  First and foremost, we aim to instil a love of reading in our children. We do this by sharing carefully selected stories with the children every day. As well as reading to the children, we encourage them to share books with their friends. Our Nursery classroom has an inviting book corner where children can choose their own books to look at or share. We also share key authors and texts with our children in our ‘book boxes’. Children will learn initial sounds linked to their first name and  will be exposed to familiar print that is part of their world in classroom displays.  Home school links are also encouraged, homework tasks are set linked to familiar print and reading.

Before children begin matching letters to sounds in phonics sessions, we teach our children about sounds around them so that they can spot the differences and differentiate between many sounds. In these sessions, use a multi-sensory approach to teach pre-phonic skills including listening, attention, rhyme, songs, alliteration and sound discrimination.

Children will learn and join in with many songs, jingles and rhymes while they are with us. They will develop their own repertoire of Nursery rhymes and Maths rhymes to help them learn skills to help them read.  In Nursery, we use a multi-sensory approach to teach pre-phonic skills including listening, attention, rhyme and sound discrimination. In Nursery we continue to follow the Letters and Sounds- Phase 1 scheme which concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts when children begin Reception.  The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.


Reception and Class 7

In Reception, learning to read becomes an essential part of the children’s daily routine. Children take part in daily phonics sessions and activities following the Sounds Write scheme (see Phonics policy for more information). At Freshfield Primary school we use Dandelion Readers and Sounds Write books, which are an age appropriate decodable book scheme that follows the same systematic approach to the sounds taught within the phonics lessons. Children will read books which match sounds that have been taught and the sounds they now know. Alongside their phonics lessons, we continue to immerse children in high-quality texts which are read aloud to the children every day.  At the same time, we teach them to write the sounds and use this knowledge to spell, leading to writing short sentences. Alongside their phonics lessons, we continue to immerse children in high-quality texts which are read aloud to the children every day. We use story-maps as a way of encouraging children to learn these narratives by heart so that they can retell them with confidence. Children are encouraged to select their own books to read which are on display in the book corner.


Please click the ‘how to say sounds’ link at the bottom of the page for a pronunciation guide.



Key Stage 1 and Class 7

As the children progress into Key Stage 1, they continue to develop and consolidate their growing knowledge of sounds or phonemes and their associated graphemes.  During a whole class session or within a group, children are taught sounds using Sounds Write.  They continue to read decodable texts which contain the sounds they know so that they can read with increasing fluency.

During the Autumn term of Year 1, our teachers use their own robust judgements alongside a Star Early Literacy assessment to decide whether a child is an emergent reader and needs time to practise word recognition whilst reading decodable books or whether they are a transitional reader ready to begin on the Accelerated Reader program we use as a school (Decodable books will continue to be provided alongside).  Star Early Literacy is a computer-adaptive assessment that adjusts dynamically to each child’s unique responses. The tests are taken in the Autumn as a benchmark and then at regular intervals throughout the year enabling teachers to closely track each child’s reading progress.

Children in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One will have regular 1:1 reading sessions which focus on building fluency, pace and word decoding. Through whole class sessions, linked to our Literacy texts, we encourage ‘book talk’. During these sessions, children will focus on gaining knowledge as well as learning the specific skills that will help them to read and understand a range of texts (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve and Sequence).  They develop their skills by reading and examining challenging texts in small groups appropriate to their reading ability.



How can parents and carers help at home?


There is much you can do to support your child at home.


  • Talk to your children. The most important thing you can do is to talk to your child and listen to them when they are talking to you. Try to extend their vocabulary range and their skill at talking in increasingly more complex sentences. For example, try to teach them alternative words for ideas, or nouns they already know.
  • Read to them and always discuss the story you are reading to try to build your child’s comprehension skills and understanding.
  • Practise the sounds they know at home. The sounds the children know are in the front of their home reading books.
  • Listen to your child read every night. Find a quiet time to hear your child read and use lots and lots of praise to encourage them.


Please click the ‘how can I help at home’ link below for some further ideas.