Early Reading

Our Reading Curriculum  

English Lead– Mrs Holly Wain   

At Flanderwell Primary School, we are passionate about reading and we feel that reading is at the centre of our curriculum. We believe in the importance of developing children’s phonics skills as early readers, moving onto comprehension skills when children are ready. We understand the importance to develop children’s love of books and reading. 


Phonics and Early Reading

Teach a child to read and keep that child reading and we will change everything.

And I mean everything.

Jeanette Winterson


Flanderwell Primary School Early Reading Policy 2021


Our School Leadership Prioritises Reading

The headteacher, along with other leaders, prioritises reading at Flanderwell. The headteacher meets regularly with the Early Reading Lead, to discuss priorities in training, anaylyse data and look at ways forward. She often visits phonics lessons to check consistency across school. The headteacher gives the Reading Leader and staff the time and opportunity for training. 


Love of Reading is Promoted

The love of reading is promoted widely across school. Staff are passionate about reading, which inspires children. Core texts are read daily to children by the teacher. This gives the teacher chance to emphasise their story voice and illustrate their excitement at new stories. The teacher chooses their books using CLPE for guidance- Centre for Literacy in Primary Education- to ensure that the texts are of high quality and age appropriate. Reading corners have been developed to promote a love of reading. Each year group have a set list of 10 texts on a library card that they want children to read by the end of the year. This encourages children to take the books home, therefore improving their vocabulary, fluency and excitement around reading. In addition to this, teachers display recommended books in their book area, to encourage children to want to read them. At Flanderwell, we have a reading race track, which encourages children to read more at home. Certificates are awarded when children have read 50, 100, 200 and 250+ times at home. In our bespoke reading diaries, parents are given ideas on how to support children at home with reading. This includes the phonics sounds and comprehension questions.


Content and Sequence Supports Progress

At Flanderwell, all staff are highly trained in delivering the Read, Write, Inc Phonic programme.

The programme has a strong focus on teaching children to know and remember more. Children are taught daily, in small groups, from Reception upwards. The small groups children are in ensure that all children are taught at their appropriate level, which results in good progress being made. The RWI programme supports the teach simply model:

  • Review/ Revisit- Previously taught sounds and words are continuously reviewed and revisited at the beginning of every RWI Phonics lesson. 
  • Teach Simply – Children are taught a new sound following the same sequence daily.
  • Practice Thoroughly- Children have the opportunity to practise reading the sound in words, including multi-syllabic words. 
  • Apply- Children apply reading their new sounds in alien words and in closely matched, phonically decodable books. 
  • Assess- Children are regularly assessed by the Reading Leader. Teachers assess throughout the lesson to check that children understand. ‘Spotlight children’ (children who are not making as much progress as the rest) are sat in the focus of the teacher, to ensure they don’t get left behind. 
  • Although our intention is for children to ‘keep up’, not ‘catch up’, if the Reading Leader identifies that any children are falling behind, plans are immediately put in place to support catch up. If needed, children are also assessed in KS2. Children in Foundation Stage- to Y4 have RWI Phonics lessons, if needed, and Y5 and Y6 who are working below ARE are using Fresh Start. 
  • Please click on the link below to see how we want children to progress through the RWI programme each half term and what we expect them to know by the end of Foundation, Year 1 and Year 2. 

KS1 Reading Progression


Pupils Falling Behind Catch Up Quickly

The Reading Leader quickly identifies children who are falling behind and discusses them with the class teacher. Children are assessed every half term, but they can be assessed sooner than this, if the Reading Leader and Reading Teacher thinks this is necessary. The Reading Leader puts together a support plan for these children and shares these with the teachers and teaching assistants. These support plans include five layers of provision to be put in place for children. 

  1. The daily phonics lesson is taught robustly. 
  2. The child has 1:1 daily phonics tutoring every afternoon. This is delivered by a trained phonics tutor.
  3. Virtual classroom links (extra phonics lessons) are sent home to parents for extra practice.
  4. Children are given extra time on an ipad to watch the virtual links in school. 
  5. Teachers have an extra 5 minute phonics lesson in an afternoon. 


Phonics from the Beginning of Reception

Phonics is taught from the very beginning of Foundation Stage 2. If children are ready, some of the sounds are taught from the Summer term of Foundation Stage 1. We believe that a strong start in Reception has a big impact on children’s progress and confidence in reading. By the end of the Foundation Stage, we want children to be able to read all of the Set 1 and Set 2 sounds in words. Children are identified from an the beginning if they are falling behind. 


Phonically Decodable Books

From Foundation Stage 1, library books are sent home with children. Their focus is language acquisition and listening to stories being read to them. As children begin Read, Write, Inc, children are sent home with sound cards to practise their sounds. When they are secure with their understanding of sounds, children will be given virtual links for games to practise their oral blending. Following this, children will be sent home with sound blending books. When children move into the Ditty group, they will take a perfectly matched phonically decodable book home with them. This continues, until children have moved securely off the programme. As well as a phonically, decodable book, children will take a library book home with them. This is to encourage parents to read to their children and develop their vocabulary. Books are changed weekly, so children have time to practise their phonics sounds, as well as building their fluency. If children struggle with their fluency, there are extra fluency links that can be sent home to support children, as well as classroom interventions. 


Staff are Early Reading Experts

All staff at Flanderwell, from nursery to KS2, have been trained in RWI phonics. The Reading Leader attends half termly training sessions to ensure that she is aware of any updates. This is then relayed back to staff in school. All staff have access to the virtual classroom, where they have a large range of training videos for each aspect of phonics. The Reading Leader directs staff to training videos and staff are given time to watch them. In addition to this, the Reading Leader holds training sessions monthly for reading staff. Flanderwell partake in a RWI Development Day, where a RWI expert visits the lessons and offers bespoke training. 


Parental Involvement

Involving families is an important part of our reading culture. Results of international reading studies have shown that children who are supported in their reading at home are more likely to enjoy reading and tend to achieve more highly at school. We want our children to read at home through choice. For this to happen, we engage with families to extend the culture of reading that the school has developed. Strategies include:

  • Parents, grandparents and adult volunteers from the local community often come in to school and listen to children read.
  • We offer advice and printable materials on our school website, along with input from individual class teachers on dojo and parent evenings. We hand out ‘Viper’ bookmarks to parents, which give them  a variety of questions from each content domain that they can ask their child.
  • Pupils designed our whole school racing track to motivate pupils to read regularly at home. Children are rewarded for reading regularly and are racing to achieve the ultimate recognition, the Governors’ Award! Bronze award is achieved when children have read at least 50 times at home, Silver award is achieved when children have read at least 100 times at home, Gold award is achieved when children have read at least 200 times at home and the Governor’s award is achieved when children read 250+ at home. 
  • Our school target is for children to read at least three times a week. If this is done, children receive dojo points. 
  • Parents and teachers communicate regularly in reading diaries. These reading diaries have been especially designed for our school and provide ways in which parents can support reading. 
  • All pupils regularly take home a RWI phonics book that is matched to their ability and a book for pleasure. When children move off the RWI programme, they are assessed using the benchmarking kit on a colour banded system. 

10 Tips on Hearing Your Child Read


Reading for Pleasure

Research shows that reading for pleasure has a positive impact on children’s attainment in reading assessments. Children who read for pleasure have enhanced levels of text comprehension, an increased knowledge of grammar and show improvement in their writing. They also have more positive attitudes towards reading than peers. The advantages of reading for pleasure go beyond academic achievement:

‘Other benefits include an increased breadth of vocabulary, pleasure in reading in later life, a better understanding of other cultures, better general knowledge and even ‘a greater insight into human nature’.

Reading for Pleasure: A research overview, National Literacy Trust, 2006


At Flanderwell Primary School we promote reading for pleasure. We do this in the following ways:

  • Every teacher is an advocate for reading and often recommend their own favourite books to children.
  • Reading and books are at the centre of the curriculum.
  • Every half term, each class studies at least one book as part of their English Lessons. This is taken from CLPE, so is an age appropriate text that is rich in vocabulary and content.
  • We plan time in for all children to read independently, read aloud and be read to during the school day.
  • We arrange visits to the local library, where the children have the opportunity to become members.
  • We arrange visits from authors and poets.
  • We celebrate World Book Day every year with new exciting themes each year.
  • We pair children up with ‘buddies’ in different classes, which gives them the opportunity to read with other children and share their love of reading.
  • Class teachers read a ‘core text’ to their children daily. This gives children the opportunity to listen to new vocabulary and get lost in stories.             

Sample of Flanderwell Y2 Library Book List