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East Hanningfield

Church of England Primary School

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Phonics and Reading

East Hanningfield Primary School

How do we teach Reading?


Reading Intent:

At East Hanningfield Primary School our intent is for all children to develop proficiency in the fundamentals of reading; both decoding and comprehension. We value reading extremely highly as we believe it is a key life skill and the key to academic success.  Our curriculum for reading aims for every child to become an enthusiastic reader, who loves reading a wide range of text types and has developed proficiency in the skills of fluency, accuracy and comprehension of different texts. Children will leave East Hanningfield prepared for a future as articulate and literate individuals with a strong love of reading. 


Our curriculum is designed around the needs of the pupils in our school and there are a variety of approaches to enable the pupils to make good progress. Any child who is struggling is supported early and intensively with their progress being regularly tracked. 


The aims of teaching reading in our school are to develop pupils who:

  • rapidly acquire a secure knowledge of letters and sounds and make sustained progress in learning to read fluently;
  • read easily and fluently with good understanding across both fiction and non-fiction;
  • acquire a wider vocabulary;
  • participate in the teaching of phonics knowledge, skills and understanding in a systematic and enjoyable way;
  • develop their reading in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge;
  • show high levels of achievement and exhibit positive attitudes towards reading;
  • develop a love of reading;
  • read for pleasure both at home and school on a regular basis;
  • through their reading develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spirutally;
  • develop good comprehension drawing from their linguistic knowledge.


Special Educational Needs Disability (SEND) / Pupil Premium / Higher Attainers

All children will have Quality First Teaching in reading. Any children with identified SEND or in receipt of pupil premium funding may have work additional to and different from their peers in order to access the curriculum dependent upon their needs. As well as this, our school offers a demanding and varied curriculum, providing children with a range of opportunities in order for them to reach their full potential and consistently achieve highly from their starting points.



Phonics (building blocks to reading)

We use a structured systematic approach to teaching phonics which begins early in our Foundation Stage (Robins - Class 1). Children begin by learning sets of lower case letters by ‘sound’ and build on this until they are confident to use all representations of sounds outlined and ordered in the Government approved ‘Twinkl phonics’ scheme.  Children have a baseline assessment initially and then are regularly assessed to make sure that gaps are identified and that they have a reading book that is exactly matched to their phonics stage. 


Throughout Classes 1 and 2, children participate in daily phonic sessions. These can be as part of a whole class or in some circumstances as part of a small group. Any children in the school who are identified as needing further support with their phonics are then given extra teaching in groups or on an individual basis. All class teachers are aware of the children who struggle with reading and focus upon supporting with this. Phonics is prioritised. 


Phonics is taught in a variety of interactive ways, actions and songs are greatly enjoyed by the children.  Children enjoy using games and ICT to embed their phonetical understanding along with a wealth of songs and rhymes. Children are also given phonics homework so that parents can support and reinforce learning.


We also teach the ‘Tricky words’ identified in the ‘Letters and Sounds Scheme’ and High Frequency words, that are not decodable using phonics. This is carried out through the use of flashcards, reading books and a variety of games. The teaching of tricky words continues throughout Class 1 and 2. Phonics teaching continues into Key Stage 2 in the form of interventions if there is a need for this further input. 



Our approach to reading at East Hanningfield is through multi-skills based learning. This involves visual clues (pictures), which are discussed with the children, as well as focusing on sound recognition, whole word recognition, learning high frequency words and reading for meaning. We invest in updating our books and reading materials regularly. 


In Robin and Dove classes, the children will choose a book within a specified colour band according to their needs; the colour bands are progressive and to support their phonic development, they will also be given a phonetically decodable book. The class teacher will regularly assess each child's phonics knowledge. 


Throughout the school, children take part in daily Reading sessions using 'VIPERS' to teach the individual strands. Following teaching they will complete reading based activities independently, with a teacher or Learning Support Assistant as part of a small group on a cycle. These groups focus particularly on comprehension and inference skills as detailed in the attached policy below. In Class 1, these Reading sessions start from the Summer Term for EYFS pupils.


Throughout the school, children are heard read regularly by an adult.  Children who are identified as needing further support may be listened to on a daily basis. Reading is valued highly in the school and a love for reading is modelled in each class. Teachers talk about books enthusiastically and children enjoy conversations about the adults' preferences. 




Reading in our school is progressive and planned to meet the needs of all children. Teachers carry out ongoing assessments and use these to ensure that children are reading books of an appropriate level. The assessments also inform teachers so that learning is targeted in the Guided Reading sessions to enable children to make maximum progress in their reading. At the same time we provide books to ensure that children read for pleasure and learn to love reading. If children are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making expected or more than expected progress. In addition, we measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

  • Phonics assessment;
  • Phonics screening results;
  • Book band colour – assessed using Benchmarking
  • VIPERS comments
  • Parental comments 
  • Reading ages given through the AR program
  • Summative assessments each term;
  • End of Key stage SATs results.


The teaching of phonics in our school is systematic and all staff are regularly updated with any changes. Master classes are held where necessary.