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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 aim is for every child to become a fluent reader. We want children to become fluent readers in order for them to reach age related expectations or make accelerated progress from their starting point. As well as this we want children to develop a love for reading and read for pleasure on a regular basis.

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.

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

  •  show high levels of achievement and exhibit very positive attitudes towards reading;
  • 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;
  • 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. 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 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 ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme produced by the Department for Education. Whilst we follow the 'Letters and Sounds' program this may be delivered using 'Jolly Phonics' materials such as the puppets as these are popular with the children and assist learning in a variety of ways. Children have a baseline assessment initially and then are regularly assessed to make sure they are in the correct phonics groups. 


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 taught in a variety of interactive ways. The use of ‘Jolly Phonics’ and the actions and songs that go with this are greatly enjoyed by the children.   Children enjoy using games and ICT to enhance their phonetic understanding along with a wealth of songs and rhymes. Children are also given letters to take home 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. The children will choose a book within a specified colour band according to their needs; the colour bands are progressive. The class teacher will regularly assess their understanding and readiness to progress.


Throughout the school, children take part in daily Guided Reading sessions where 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 Guided Reading sessions start from the Summer Term.


Throughout the school, children are heard read a minimum of twice a week. A teacher will hear them read every week through guided reading sessions and another adult in school will then hear them read for a second time during the week. 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 promoted within each class.




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
  • 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.