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, Reading for Pleasure and Home Reading.

Children are provided with a range of reading experiences as part of the Pathways to Write methodology that is followed for English to develop writing skills. 


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. 

In Reception, children will begin Phase 2 Phonics and it is the aspiration that they will complete both Phase 2 and 3 and start Phase 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 more tricky words, including ‘me,’ ‘was,’ ‘my,’ ‘you’ and ‘they’. They learn the names of the letters, as well as the sounds they make.  If children have fully grasped Phase 2 and 3 in Reception they will begin Phase 4.  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 on Phase 3 or start Phase 4 immediately.  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 spellings for sounds. 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 Phase 6 Phonics children become more fluent readers and accurate spellers. By Phase 6, children should be able to read hundreds of words using one of three strategies:

  • Reading them automatically
  • Decoding them quickly and silently
  • Decoding them aloud

In Year 2 children follow the Read Write Inc Spelling scheme.

Phonics is taught utilising the planning and resources from the Phonics Play website.  It follows the following model as suggested by Letters & Sounds:

Introduce –  Revisit – Teach – Practise – Apply – Assess

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 may also choose to read a class text that 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.  

Guided Reading

In Guided Reading, texts 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-Fictions 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 based on their current phonic level.  Where this is not possible due to lower levels of resources available for home reading, the parents are signposted to the appropriate text to access online at home via Bug Club.  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.    

Children also have the opportunity to visit our school library and choose a book they can take home to read for pleasure.  Children do have guidance from adults so they choose appropriate texts that they can read independently, but if a child wants a specific text that is beyond their reading ability, they can take it home to share with an adult. 

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 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 Reading superstar trophy and book token.  This builds up to the final term when there is a grand draw and the opportunity to win a much larger incentive, such as a Kindle.

Parental Involvement

We deliver several workshops for parents throughout the year within EYFS (both Nursery and Reception) and in Year 1. 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

There are several websites and apps that you can access and download at home that are helpful in practising and applying the skills taught within school.

Some that we use within school are:

· Cbeebies Alphablocks

· Phonics play parents zone

· Hairy phonics 1

· Hairy phonics 2

· Hairy Letters

· Jolly phonics Letters and sounds





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