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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 SoundsWrite 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 ‘Tricky Words’ (High Frequency 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 Specialist Provision (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.


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 we also teach children about the rhythm in words, about rhyme and alliteration. 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.  When the children are ready, we start the next stage of our phonics programme by teaching the children the letters of the alphabet and their corresponding sound. 


Reception and Specialist Provision (Class 7)

In Reception, learning to read becomes an essential part of the children’s daily routine. Within a group, children are taught the initial sounds of the alphabet. Sounds are associated with familiar words, for example a for apple, to help children to grasp the letter-sound correspondences quickly. Children are also taught to read common exception words e.g. the or he.  Once our children have mastered these sounds and have started to build-up a bank of words they can read on sight, they progress to learning the more complex sounds. As their confidence and fluency grows, the children read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes (different ways of spelling the sounds, e.g. /igh/, /ie/ or /ay/, /ai/). They learn that a sound can be written using 2 or 3 or even 4 letters. We call this a grapheme (e.g. igh represent the /i/ sound in the word night).


Once our children have mastered the skill of sounding out and blending, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the sounds they know. This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency. At the same time, we teach them to write the sounds and use this knowledge to spell, leading to writing short sentences. Children read decodable phonics books which are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of sounds so that they experience success in reading. 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.  All around the Reception classroom, we have text asking children questions, making statements and giving information. These purposeful texts help children to read for meaning and understand that writing has a purpose. As your child acquires the skills of blending sounds into words and develop a sight vocabulary, they begin the school’s decodable reading scheme. 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.


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


Key Stage 1 and Specialist Provision (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 in a lively and engaging lesson.  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.