Reading at Upton Westlea

We want to support, guide and encourage children in developing positive attitudes to reading so that it is a pleasurable and meaningful activity. We explicitly teach reading in the following ways: phonics, shared reading and guided reading, whilst promoting independent reading across other subjects, reading for pleasure and home reading.

Children are provided with a range of reading experiences as part of the Pathways to Write methodology which we use to develop writing across the school.  


At Upton Westlea, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This begins early in Nursery, when children embark upon Phase 1 Letters & Sounds where by early listening skills are developed.  Such learning can take place as small group adult directed task, or incorporated into the learning environment so that children almost ‘stumble across phonics’ on a daily basis in their play. 

From Reception onwards, we use a systematic synthetic phonics programme called Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result of following the progression, all our children are able to tackle unfamiliar words as they learn to read. At Upton Westlea, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

In Reception, children will begin Phase 2 Phonics and it is the aspiration that they will complete both Phase 2, 3 and 4 by the end of this academic year.  Those children who require additional support with this are identified at an early stage in order that further phonic support can be given. However, these children are still included in each whole class phonics session.

Alongside this, children are taught to recognise common exception words, or "tricky words", including ‘me,’ ‘was,’ ‘my,’ ‘you’ and ‘they’. They learn the names of the letters, as well as the sounds they make.  Children should be confident with each phoneme. From here on, phonics teaching is about consolidating and refining their knowledge, introducing more spelling patterns and tricky words, and increasing vocabulary.

As children move into Year 1, they may have a recap the previous learning, before moving on. This will depend on the cohort and will be a joint decision made by EYFS and KS1 staff.  In Phase 5 Children will be introduced to alternative graphemes for the phonemes e,g, they will learn that ai in r-ai-n can also be written ay as in p-l-ay. Children master these in reading first, and as their fluency develops, we begin to see them using them correctly in writing. 

Towards the end of Year 1 children sit the Phonics Screening Check to ensure they have met the appropriate standard.

In Year 2 children will continue with the phonics learning if necessary.

Shared Reading

In shared reading, the teacher models the reading process to the whole class as an expert reader, providing a high level of support and guidance.  Teaching objectives are planned and sessions are characterised by explicit teaching of specific reading strategies.  Texts are rich and challenging and predominantly based around the texts from Pathways to Write units or as part of their additional texts suggestions.  Teachers promote reading by choosing a class text to read out loud regularly which captures the interest of the class, potentially too challenging for them to access independently.  This is a further opportunity to develop inference skills and provide a variety of interesting vocabulary.  

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Reading Practice Sessions

Children need to be given regular opportunities to apply the phonics they have learned to reading fully decodable books. The phonic progression in these books matches the progression of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.

The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
• decoding
• prosody – reading with meaning, stress and intonation
• comprehension – understanding the text.

Guided Reading

In guided reading, texts/extracts are chosen to match the ability of the group, whilst still providing the appropriate level of challenge.  The purpose of this is to provide differentiated teaching that supports children in developing reading proficiency.

From Years 1-6, teachers follow a 5 part lesson structure to teach guided reading. This is outlined below:

Part 1 - Book introduction/recap and walkthrough. 

Part 2 - Teaching element and strategy check.

Part 3 - Independent Reading.

Part 4 - Returning to the text.

Part 5 - Respond to the text/follow up task. 

Teachers aim to provide the children with opportunities to experience a range of texts, including Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry based texts. 

Teachers plan their guided reading sessions using a carousel approach.  This is so specific reading tasks are provided to each group when they are not having their guided reading session from the teacher or other adult.  Such tasks are tailored to meet their specific needs.  Reading for pleasure is also incorporated into the carousel and children are guided to choose appropriate texts, aimed at their individual reading level. 

Home Reading

Children are encouraged to adopt a healthy attitude towards reading at home and we have an expectation that children in Early Years and KS1 read 3 times a week.  This increases to 4 times a week in KS2. 

Until children have met the expected standard, required of the Year 1 Phonics check, they will take home a fully decodable book/ ebook based on their current phonic level.  Children are also given opportunities to take home books with repeating patterns and specific high frequency words and this is at the discretion of the class teacher for the individual child. 

Children that have met the expected standard are provided with a colour banded book, which is usually one level below what they are reading in class.  This is so they can develop confidence and fluency at home and to further support reading for pleasure.  If parents request a more challenging text, the decision is jointly made, as we believe this is the best way to support reading at home.   Children are also encouraged to read their own books from home or from the library, as this truly fosters a love of reading.    

Parents are asked to sign the Reading Record to show their child has read and this also offers parents an opportunity to ask any questions regarding their child’s reading journey. When children have read the expected amount of times, they receive a ticket which is placed into the golden box.  At the end of every term, a child name is drawn from the box and they have the opportunity to win a book token.  

Parental Involvement

We deliver several workshops for parents throughout the year within EYFS (both Nursery and Reception) and in KS1. This is tailored to the needs of the individual cohort and will cover the key principles for success for that particular year group.  Teachers across school keep parents informed about their child’s reading journey though parents meetings.

Useful websites and APPS

Please go to

for any further support with phonics and early reading.

There are also several websites and apps that you can access and download at home that are helpful in practising and applying the skills taught within school, such as:

· Cbeebies Alphablocks

· Phonics play parents zone

· Hairy phonics 1

· Hairy phonics 2

· Hairy Letters

· Jolly phonics Letters and sounds

Files to Download