Phonics, Reading & Handwriting

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How We Teach Reading

Reciprocal Reading

As a school wide approach, we use the Reciprocal Reading strategy to develop pupils’ key Reading skills.

This process allows for the promotion of higher order thinking, developing listening and talking skills and ensuring access to the curriculum for all pupils. Aiming to improve Reading comprehension, through the use of four Reading strategies: predicting, questioning, clarifying and summarising. The teacher works with one focus group and explores the text through three styles of questions: Look question (retrieval), Clue question (inference and deduction) and the Thinking question which allows for development of inference with evaluation/ personal experience or wider knowledge.

Whilst one group of pupils read with the Teacher or Teaching Assistant, the other children carry out independent activities. These independent activities are planned for carefully to match National Curriculum objectives, linking back to the text, exploring language structures.

In addition to the Reciprocal Reading, we teach comprehension skills discretely in Key Stage Two and as part of Reciprocal Reading in Key Stage One and EYFS. Whole class texts are explored with pupils, both in comprehension lessons and English lessons. Pupils read aloud to develop oracy/ confidence and new vocabulary and phrases are explored.

Reading for Enjoyment

‘Reading for pleasure’ is an example of an independent activity built in to the Reciprocal Reading timetable, for some classes. Pupils also have an allocated time in the day where they can read a book of their choice independently. In addition to this, each class in the school has an allocated time to visit the school library, where pupils’ can select a book of their choice to borrow. This access to a variety of books, in addition to books in classroom corners, has continued to raise pupil engagement and positivity towards Reading. Additionally, each class has a chosen book which is read aloud at the end of the day. Pupils are also able to take out a Reading book during lunchtimes and read in the memorial garden, (a quiet zone).  We also promote Reading for enjoyment and progress in our celebration assemblies with a ‘Reader of the Month’ certificate. Pupils are expected to read at home on a daily basis and the home – school reading record should be completed.

Whole Class Story

At the end of the day, a class story is read to promote children’s enjoyment of reading and provide children with an opportunity to hear a wide range of stories read to them.

Reading Information for Parents


We use the Letters and Sounds planning document to support the teaching of phonics and jolly phonics actions to accompany. Pupils have daily phonics sessions for twenty minutes, grouped according to their ability. There are six phonics phases which the pupils work through at their own pace (from Nursery to Year Two). It is a fast paced approach to deepen pupils understanding of sounds and practical application of this. Lessons have a range of games, songs and rhymes. The process involves learning sounds, blending and segmenting.

Early Years Foundation Stage

Children in Nursery begin Phase 1 phonics during the Autumn term. This comprises largely of sound games and listening activities.

Phase 2 is introduced later in the year at the point at which it is assessed to be appropriate for individual children. They learn the Jolly Phonics songs to help them with recalling letters and sounds.

In Reception, a daily 20 minutes phonics session takes place and covers Phases 2-3 over the period of a year. For children who are ready, further phases would be explored.  In the spring term, children are grouped according to the phase in which they are working at to ensure greater focus and support.

Children are each given a phonic key rings that allows them to practise the sounds and high frequency words at home. These are generally updated weekly.

Key Stage One

In Year 1, children have daily phonics lessons. Children are grouped according to the phase that they are working at. They begin by revising the work covered in Reception and will gradually move onto Phase 4 and 5.

Children in Year 1 continue to use their phonics key rings as they had done in Reception.

In June, Year 1 children will be taking part in the phonics screening check to confirm whether children have learnt sufficient decoding and blending skills to an appropriate standard.

In Year 2, children who did not pass the phonics screening check continue to participate in phonics lessons until all sounds have been learnt. Year 2 children who did not pass the phonics screening check will be taking part in the test at the same time as the Year 1 children.

Children who did pass the phonics screening check will continue to practise the phonics sounds but will begin to be taught spelling patterns linked to the National Curriculum through the No Nonsense Spelling scheme.

Intervention groups are provided for children above Key Stage 1 who still need phonics support or are new to English. This is done through the Read Write Inc scheme.

Phonics Help Sheet


Nelson Handwriting is a whole-school programme designed to help all children develop a confident, legible and personal handwriting style that meets the expectations of the National Curriculum.

Our Aim

  1. To know the importance of clear and neat presentation in order to communicate meaning effectively
  2. To write legibly in both joined and printed styles with increasing fluency by;

– Having the correct pencil grip

– Forming all letters correctly

– Knowing the size and orientation of letters

Nelson Handwriting is taught with the following formation:

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