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At Portesham C of E VA Primary School, we believe that reading is at the heart of our curriculum and we are dedicated to developing literacy skills through an engaging curriculum. Our aim is to teach children to become confident, independent and competent readers. They will achieve this by learning how to read and developing their comprehensive skills which they can apply to all areas of our enriching curriculum. Our ultimate aim is for children to develop a life-long love and passion for reading for both pleasure and purpose. We encourage parents to be involved in the development of their child’s reading journey throughout their time at school.

The Teaching and Learning of Phonics in EYFS

At Portesham, we teach phonics through a widely recognised and successful scheme: Read Write Inc.


Children learn the English alphabetic code: first they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes. They experience success from the very beginning. Lively phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases. Along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice.


More detailed information can be found on this through our ‘Read Write Inc.’ parent handout.


Key Stage 1

In Year 1, the children complete the National Phonics Screen Check – a statutory assessment which was introduced in 2012 for all Year 1 pupils. It comprises a list of 40 read words and nonsense words that assess phonics skills and knowledge which has been learnt through EYFS and Year 1. Children will be well prepared for the screening check and will be familiar with the format through preparations at school.


Read Write Inc continues throughout Key Stage 1 as the children progress in their learning where the sessions also help develop the children’s ability to discuss and analyse a text, using skills such as prediction and enable children to cultivate a growing bank of vocabulary.


Once the class teacher has assessed a child to be ready, they will be encouraged to access an online comprehensive programme called ‘Fiction Express’ which is used to help develop a child’s comprehensive skills and challenge their learning. Furthermore, the children will be read to on a regular basis by the class teacher.


Key Stage 2

As the children progress into Key Stage 2, they consolidate the phonics they have learnt so far. They begin to have small group guided reading sessions with either the class teacher or support staff, where they are exposed a range of texts that are closely linked to their reading ability, but stretch and challenge their understanding and comprehensive skills in line with the expectations of the National Curriculum.


Children progress as they reach upper Key Stage 2 by engaging in ‘whole class’ guided reading sessions. Children build on their comprehension.

Children will have access to a range of ‘banded’ reading books that they will progress through and have choice of books to select for their perusal; these are monitored by the class teacher before they move on to ‘free readers’ where they can access a large range of books in the school library.


In addition, the children are exposed to high-quality class texts through which the full range of English reading and writing skills are embedded, as well as opportunities for reading across the curriculum.