St. Oswald’s CE VA Primary School Reading and Phonics Information

The National Curriculum for English (2014) aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.

Reading underpins children’s access to the curriculum and it clearly impacts on their achievement. There is considerable research to show that children who enjoy reading and choose to read benefit not only academically, but also socially and emotionally.

To be able to read, children need to be taught an efficient strategy to decode words. That strategy is phonics and at St Oswald’s CE VA Primary School, we follow the SSP Programme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised which teaches segmenting and blending skills as well as tricky word recognition. Once fluency develops, scheme books are no longer necessary and children are offered choice from a wide selection of books.

It is essential that children are actively taught and supported to use phonics as the only approach to decoding. Other strategies must be avoided. Phonic decoding skills must be practised until children become automatic and fluent reading is established.

Fluent decoding is only one component of reading. Comprehension skills need to be taught to enable children to make sense of what they read, build on what they already know and give them a desire to want to read.

Reading increases children’s vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Furthermore, children who read widely and frequently also have more secure general knowledge.

Reading is a life-long skill which must be taught and encouraged in our children from a young age. This is the firm foundation to which our curriculum is built upon and provides a platform for all of our learning.

We begin by introducing children to wordless books and these are embedded in the curriculum across the school, providing children with opportunities to develop speaking and listening skills.

From the very early days in school children read and are read to.  They experience a great variety of stories, poems and rhymes, in groups as well as individually.

Children are encouraged to discuss stories, relate them to their own experiences and, with the help of relevant questioning, offer opinions about the plot and the characters and hypothesise what might happen next.

The skills needed to access non- fiction books are introduced and referred to frequently. A range of information books are displayed in classes to support the current topic and encourage a love of reading.

We offer a great variety of fiction, poetry books and non- fiction texts alongside a structured reading scheme to develop and build up children’s reading

Spelling homework practice happens throughout the whole school and from KS1 onwards children are tested at the end of the week.

In the Early Years, reading is progressively developed through a range of activities revisited and communicated home, on a regular basis. A reading diary is established as a valuable communication system between home and school.

Parents are encouraged to write an appropriate comment about how their child is progressing and read with their child at least three times a week (one of which must be their school reading book).

Teachers keep a record of each child’s phonic progress and attainment, identifying gaps and next steps. Success is crucial in developing confidence at this stage. Much praise, encouragement and practice are very important.

Reception parents receive a pack of information which outlines our approach to reading and how parents can play their part. They also have an opportunity to attend a Reading Information workshop in their child’s first term in school.  We provide parents with a wide range of resources, including paper based, online and video materials to support with phonics and reading at home.

‘Project X’ within Year 2 & KS2 is our main reading scheme, which has been chosen by both our staff and children. Big Cat Collins for Little Wandle is our main reception and year 1 reading scheme, which is fully decodable and in line with our thorough phonics teaching and set up, in school.

Children engage in group reading sessions regularly, and those needing support or who have not had the opportunity to read at home are invited to attend our Friday reading sessions which are led by support staff, parents and volunteers from the community.

Reading is celebrated with weekly rewards given to children who have followed the non-negotiable of reading three times a week.



1. GUIDED READING SESSIONS – will take place for half an hour each day in KS1 and KS2 and for fifteen minute in Early Years.

Early Years – 11.45-12.00, KS1 – 11:30-12:00 and KS2 11:45-12:15



READ THREE TIMES A WEEK – The expectation is that children will have clearly marked  (by in adult) in their home/school reading diary that they have read with an adult three times a week OR that an adult has modelled the reading to the child. In KS2, children can record what they have read in their home/school reading diary themselves however this must then be signed by an adult.
3. HOME/SCHOOL READER – Children must read their home/school reader at least once a week.  However we do encourage children to read a wide range of texts and genres therefore the other two entries in the home/school reading record can be linked to pupil choice e.g. book, comic, newspaper article, leaflet, website etc.
4. READING WORKSHOPS – These will be offered to parents at least twice a year to aid with the reading process at home.
5. GUIDED READING BOOKS (PROJECT X SCHEME KS2, LITTLE WANDLE Rec & KS1) – Project X is to be used within school for guided reading only, whereas our Little Wandle books are used for Guided Reading & Home Reading
6. READING RECORDS – MUST be signed by an adult within school each time they read with a child, the signature will be accompanied by a sticker indicated which member of staff has read with the child.  Reading records MUST be signed by an adult at home three times a week, in line in with the homework policy. Reading record the home/school reader must be brought into school daily.
7. REWARDS – Reading rewards now link with the homework policy and our homework rewards system ‘Homeworkopoly’, please see our homework policy for more details.
8. DISPLAY – Each class will have a display showcasing their rewards and book reviews.
9. READING AREA – Each class will have a designated reading area which includes a range of organised and easily accessible reading material, alongside some reading prompts.  The reading display which showcases rewards and book reviews should be included within this area.
10. GUIDED READING PLANNING – this will be planned at the start of each week and will ensure each group has the opportunity to read twice a week with an adult.  All guided reading planning must follow the same format and comments written for each child during the session must support reading assessment and demonstrate progress.
11. WORK GENERATED FROM GUIDED READING – this will be placed in English books with a clear learning objective and success criteria.
12. NOT READING AT HOME – The reading diary MUST be signed by a parent on each occasion the child reads (three times a week) or the reading task will be deemed as one missed homework.  If children are not having their reading record signed and therefore not reading at home on more than three occasions a letter will be sent to parents regarding a meeting with the class teacher in the first instance and if this continues then with the Key Stage Leader.  In addition, children will be asked to ‘catch up’ on their reading on Friday afternoons or during lunchtimes or playtimes. When reading is checked each Friday, a line will be ruled under to indicate the week’s reading have been counted.
13. CLASS NOVELS – Every class will engage in a class novel for the last fifteen minutes of each school day. The class novel can be but does not need to be related to curriculum topics; it must be a book that demonstrates the value of reading for enjoyment.  The children must have input into the novel selected.
14. CATCH UP READING SESSIONS – In school, each class will run short reading sessions with children in their class, at a time appropriate within the working week. These sessions will be for children who need some additional support or who are not being read with frequently at home.