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Walkeringham Primary School

Think Smart, Be Kind

How We Teach Reading




At Walkeringham Primary School, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. 


As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Walkeringham, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language and vocabulary development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects. 


At Walkeringham Primary School, we value reading as a crucial life skill, which in the first instance, allows children to access all areas of the curriculum. By the time children leave us, they read confidently and independently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools and resilience to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose and to read a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. 



Foundations for phonics in Nursery 

We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. These include: 

  • sharing high-quality stories and poems 

  • learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes 

  • activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending 

  • attention to high-quality language. 

We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception. 


Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1 

We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers. Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term. 

We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression: 

Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy. 

Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy. 


Teaching reading: Regular Reading practice sessions in Reception and Year 1 

We teach children to read, through reading practice sessions. These: 

  • are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of children 

  • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge 

  • are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis. 

Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills: 

  • decoding 

  • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression 

  • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text 

In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books 


Home reading 

The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. 

Reading for pleasure books (Sharing books) also go home for parents to share and read to children. 

Reading from Year 2 onwards 

From Year 2 onwards we teach the skills of understanding vocabulary, inferring, predicting, explaining, retrieving, summarising and sequencing, using the VIPERS approach. In Key Stage 2 this is through whole class guided reading. 

Children take home a reading book appropriate to their reading ability and chosen by the child from a wide range of books organised using the Accelerated Reader ZPD system for banding books.  
In Years 5 and 6 the vast majority of children choose their reading book freely from a wide range of books organised using the Accelerated Reader ZPD system for banding books. Children who still require support in reading are heard read individually and are guided to choose books at an appropriate level. 

Reading Plus

Children in Key Stage Two have daily Reading Plus sessions to improve reading efficiency. When children can read efficiently it frees up mental energy to further comprehend and gain enjoyment from reading. Reading Plus is on online reading programme, which supports children to become curious, confident, lifelong readers. It accelerates each child’s reading achievement through personalised instruction and intervention. It teaches silent reading fluency, comprehension and vocabulary with software that meets each child’s individual reading level. Weekly assignments are set with personalised instructions for pupils, these include visual skills development for eye-tracking, reading tasks for comprehension and fluency, and vocabulary tasks. Children have a personal login to access Reading Plus at home.


Ensuring reading for pleasure 

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002) 

‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010) 


We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy. 


We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Walkeringham Primary School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures. 

Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books. 

In Nursery/Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed. 

Children from Nursery/Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school. 

As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read. Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc) 



Assessment, in Reception and Key Stage 1, is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it. 

Assessment for learning is used: 

  • daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support 

  • weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings. 


Summative Assessment is used: 

  • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need. 


Children’s reading is assessed continuously through individual, group and whole class reading. This might involve recording children’s responses or making a note of areas of strength or weakness.  

Class assessment data for Reading is captured 3 times a year: before October, February, and May half-term breaks. Assessment judgements are derived through; Key Stage 1 Phonics screening checks; the results of Headstart reading tests or past SATs papers and teachers’ knowledge of the children. A judgement is made and then recorded using the Scholar pack assessment tool. 


Statutory assessment 

Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2. 

National Key Stage One Assessments. 

Pupils are assessed against criteria using the Teachers’ Interim Framework for reading and a Key Stage One reading test is also administered to support this teacher judgement.  

National Key Stage Two Assessments 

A Key Stage Two reading test is administered in school during the month of May. 

How we teach blending - Little Wandle

How we teach tricky words

Quick guide to Alien words