Early Reading and Phonics

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr Seuss

At Lanchester EP Primary School we recognise that being able to read is the most important skill children will learn during their time in school and this has far-reaching implications for lifelong confidence and well-being.

We believe the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society.  Our pupils will be given every opportunity to learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently and fulfil their potential. English underpins our vision for all other achievement. Through reading in particular, our pupils will develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. We believe high quality literature plays a key role in such development.


 Our Reading provision aims to equip pupils with the phonic knowledge and skills necessary to become fluent and confident readers by the end of KS1. Our core texts have been chosen to help children develop a love of reading that allows them to become lifelong readers.

Our children progressively learn a range of key skills in reading using a variety of different strategies:

  • Word reading – systematic phonics, learning GPC (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence), developing skills of blending, segmenting and phoneme manipulation.
  • Comprehension – drawing on linguistic knowledge and knowledge of the world, read widely across a range of genres, develop a love of reading, increase pupils’ vocabulary  develop reading for pleasure.
  • Making strong curriculum links – all pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain empathy and compassion for others.

Our reading curriculum aims to;

  • Support our pupils to develop a lifelong enjoyment of reading, taking genuine pleasure from what they read. 
  • Encourage children to become enthusiastic and reflective readers by introducing them to high quality books from a variety of cultures and in a range of different styles and formats. 
  • Enable all of our children to use reading to become immersed in other worlds…both real and imagined! 
  • Ensure all of our children are equipped with the reading skills they need to access all areas of the curriculum. 
  • Provide reading opportunities across all areas of the curriculum to make it more meaningful and relevant to the children. 
  •          Develop happy, healthy and curious learners who read confidently and fluently and seek to acquire knowledge independently. 
  • Help children make responses to what they read, justifying those responses. 
  • Develop reading skills in tandem with those of writing, so that they may function in society as literate adults and readers for life. 

The Reading Journey at Lanchester EP Primary School


Our high-quality English curriculum will teach pupils to speak, read and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others.  

Our children in the Foundation Stage begin their reading journey by exploring and sharing a wide range of books, poems and songs. Initially, they focus on recognition of initial sounds and their ability to develop rhyme and rhythmic patterns. They are immersed in a wide range of reading experiences to develop a love of books and storytelling.

From the Foundation Stage onwards, we aim to incorporate high quality texts in a range of subjects through:

  •          Accelerated Reader Time
  •          Reading a range of non-fiction texts across all subjects
  •          Whole school Story time at the end of every day
  •          Using high quality texts in our English lessons
  •          Daily phonics/reading time using a range of engaging texts
  •          Reading skills (VIPERS) lessons in KS2 linked to whole class novel

Sounds Write Phonics


As children continue their reading journey, all children in Reception and Year One complete the Sounds-Write Phonics Programme. Using synthetic phonics, children quickly learn to blend letter sounds together following a fun and effective programme. Phonics provides children with the building blocks needed to become successful readers.

In Reception children learn the initial code in the following sequence;

In Reception and Year 1, children practise reading using Sounds Write and Dandelion Reader books that are closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge. Our children often re-read the same text multiple times to develop their comprehension and fluency which includes their accuracy, automaticity (rapid recall of whole known words) and prosody (reading with expression).


In Year 1 and Year 2 children learn the extended code which continues to develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of sound spelling correspondences. Units are sequenced carefully with matching reading books to match the children’s developing understanding. Below is a sample of the first Year 1 units;


In Key Stage Two children continue the Sounds Write Programme matched to their individual needs, using a combination of Sounds-Write Polysyllabic Word Lessons and revision of the Extended code.


Developing Reading Skills


Across KS1 and KS2, children are explicitly taught the skills of reading (outlined in the National Curriculum and the KS1 and KS2 reading domains). In KS1, they develop these skills orally through the introduction of the Pawsome Gang. In KS2, these skills are developed through the use of the teaching of VIPERS. These break down the areas of reading into key areas:

  •          Vocabulary
  •          Infer
  •          Predict
  •          Explain
  •          Retrieve
  •          Summarise (KS2)

 Reading Plus and Lexia

Children, who are still working below their age related expectations, will continue to receive reading intervention alongside their whole-class reading lessons. In KS2 we use a programme called Reading Plus to support children in their reading progress and development. Reading Plus is a web-based program that builds upon the foundational skills of phonics and phonemic awareness to develop silent reading fluency, comprehension (deeper understanding), and continued engagement and enjoyment of reading for pleasure. Progress is monitored and children’s success is celebrated as they achieve a range of milestones. For those who are unable to access the reading plus program we use Lexia Core 5 Reading as an alternative intervention.


Home Reading in KS1 and KS2


Accelerated Reader

We utilise the Accelerated Reader programme to encourage children to read for pleasure by giving access to a range of books matched to their reading age. Children complete an assessment each half term to ensure that their reading book is correctly matched to their reading ability and provides challenge without leading to frustration. Children are given freedom to choose their own reading books and take some responsibility for their reading development. They are encouraged to read at home and once the book is completed they carry out a quiz in class to test and develop comprehension skills.


Reading Spine


Finally, all our topics are supported by a Reading Spine of High Quality fiction and non-fiction texts linked to the class topic. These books are always available in class and help promote a love of reading and reading for pleasure across school.