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The Teaching of Reading at Blackfell Primary School

Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will learn at our school.

Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.


We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. Your child spends a large proportion of time during the school day learning and practising reading. This may take a variety of forms:


  • Intervention programmes such as one-to-one reading with an adult

  • All children access a weekly  Guided Reading lesson with reading activities focused on supporting children’s development in comprehension and vocabulary. These sessions are at least 30 minutes long and are completed in small groups. 

  • Whole class shared reading of a book or interactive on-screen text

  • Class/group discussions of class texts

  • Independent paired or individual reading

  • Independent comprehension activities

    Listening to stories read aloud

  • Visits to the school library to pick books to enjoy at home  
  • Access to class reading areas to pick books to read for pleasure in class.


In EYFS the children take part in daily phonics sessions in focussed groups using ‘Letters and Sounds’. Read, Write, Inc resources are used to support letter formation. 


In years 1 and 2 children continue to take part in daily small group phonics lessons appropriate for their level of attainment using the Letters and Sounds programme.

All children have a school library book.

All children are assessed regularly and groups are fluid.


What is phonics?

Phonics is one way of teaching children to read. Children who are learning to read take part in interactive phonics sessions every day from Monday to Thursday. They are taught how to:

  • Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;

  • Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as ‘sh’

         or ‘oo’; and

  • Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.


Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see.

This is an important step in learning to read (and spell).

The phonics screening check takes place at the end of Year 1.

How do we teach reading?


In addition to learning to read at school, it is vital that your child is given regular opportunities to practise his/her reading at home. Reading books are sent home each week, to enable children to practise their reading and to show off their new skills! We read using the Oxford Reading Tree scheme as well as using the Collins Big Cat Phonics books. All children's reading books match the phonics Letters and Sounds stage that children are reading to support fluency.


In Key Stage 2, children have access to many Oxford Reading Tree schemed books: Treetops fiction and non-fiction, Treetops true stories, Myths and Legends, Story Sparks, Greatest Stories, In fact non-fiction, Treetops Classics and Chucklers. Additionally we have some Project X series which can be used as individual reading books or for intervention. 

Your child may bring home different types of texts: the guide below may support your understanding of the purposes behind the different reading material which may come home. Children should be given the opportunity to read a book twice to build fluency and improve comprehension.

Reading material


How you can support

your child

A reading book which your child has already read once (or more) before

Re-reading familiar texts is a proven effective way to increase children’s progress in reading, particularly when they are still ‘learning to read’. It allows children to develop fluency, speed, expression and fast identification of common words.

This is a great opportunity for your child to develop confidence in reading.

They should need minimal support from you so sit back, allow them to read independently and celebrate their success!

A reading book which your child has not read before

To allow children opportunities to embed their phonics learning from school.

To allow children opportunities to enjoy new books and develop comprehension.

Your child may find some challenge in this book.

Talk through the story first, before you ask your child to read it. They need to have a good understanding of what to expect in this book. Look at the pictures together and discuss what might happen in the story. Then support your child to have a go at reading it independently.

A ‘real’ book (e.g. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Gruffalo – non reading scheme books) These will be picked from the school library.

To enable children to enjoy quality texts and develop a love of reading.


It is likely that your child may not be able to read a ‘real book’ independently.

Curl up with your child and enjoy some quality time together as he/she listens to you reading the story. Encourage your child to join in and talk about the story.

Comprehension activities

To develop child’s ability to understand what they read.

Talk through the purpose of the activity with your child. Support them to read the text – pausing frequently to discuss what they’ve found out from their reading. It may be useful for you to demonstrate how to find answers in the text they’ve read.

 Children have the opportunity to practise their reading in many other curriculum areas and have access to a range of genres.