Reading and Phonics

We believe that reading is a valuable and rewarding experience and that laying a firm foundation in this crucial area will allow children to access all areas of the curriculum successfully. We believe that success in reading opens doors to a world of knowledge. As reading is a complex skill with many components, Hardy Mill Primary School has adopted a comprehensive and consistent approach to the teaching of these skills throughout the school. At Hardy Mill we aim to promote a love of reading as well as ensuring our children become skilled and fluent readers. 

Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1

To support the development of reading, all children in the Early Years Foundation stage and in Key Stage 1 follow a systematic synthetic phonics programme using ‘Letters and sounds phase teaching’. The teaching of phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully and the children soon learn how to blend letter sounds together following a fun and interactive programme.

Children are grouped according to the phonics phase they are working at and take part in a daily 20 minute phonics session each morning which is tailored to their learning needs.

Phase 1 phonics starts in Nursery. Phase 2 and 3 in Reception and Phase 4 and 5 throughout year 1, allowing time in Year 2 for the consolidation and further development of phonic skills.

During the sessions children will:

  • Hear and say the sounds that each individual letter makes
  • Learn that sounds are represented by written letters – grapheme.
  • Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make e.g. ‘sh’ or ‘igh’ –digraph/trigraph
  • Blend these sounds together L-R to make words e.g. sh-o-p blended together reads shop.
  • De-code new words
  • Segment e.g. ‘team’  has three phonemes /t/ea/m
  • Play lots of fun games that encourage the reading and writing of words they have learned to sound out.
  • Learn to read tricky words e.g. said

Through guided, shared and independent reading activities, children will have much opportunity to apply their phonic knowledge, giving them the confidence to read with understanding, fluency and accuracy, thus achieving the capabilities of an independent reader.

Key Stage 2

In Key Stage 2, the children have a home reading book which they can choose themselves from a selection within their own reading level. These are brought into school daily and a reading record is sent home. The children are encouraged to respond to their own reading in their reading record through completing reciprocal reading tasks. When children reach a certain stage in their reading, and finish the reading book bands scheme, usually in year 5 or 6, they then become free readers and are able to choose from a wide range of books in their class or school library. Children in Key Stage 2 are encouraged to read a wide range of books and genres.

Reading Activities

Reading Activities

Throughout the week every child will experience a range of the following activities:

  • Guided reading session with the class teacher/TA
  • A focused phonic / spelling session/ grammar session
  • An independent reading activity
  • Reading comprehension activity linked to their reading and other curriculum areas.
  • Whole class stories
Assessment of Reading

Children are continually assessed during their Guided Reading sessions and through formal assessments each term. Teachers use these to support their professional judgement to ensure that children are reading at an appropriate level.

Reading Across the Curriculum

Reading across the Curriculum

We encourage children to use their reading skills in every lesson and provide opportunities to do so in all subjects. The School Library Service provides access to many books which support our curriculum topics and allow children to research subjects independently.

Sharing Books

Sharing books is so important! ‘Reading Buddies’ in Year 6 regularly support some of the younger children in school with their reading. Older and younger children share books and these sessions make a big difference to reading confidence of all children involved.

We have an established literature spine in school which aims to foster a real love of reading and ensures children experience reading for enjoyment and pleasure. 

At Hardy Mill we want our children to be exposed to different inspirational authors and texts which they can then use to cultivate their own ideas when developing individual writing styles across a range of genres.

Our school library is an inspirational and imaginative area where children can engage with good literature and build up a bank of well-known tales. Children have the opportunity to visit the library to share and borrow books in addition to their home reading book.

We would encourage parents, grandparents and carers to read to children and talk about books as often as possible because this isn’t just a lovely time to spend together, it’s also invaluable in developing and extending the vocabulary children can bring to their speaking and listening, reading and writing. Read books to your child, and enjoy – when your child sees you enjoying reading they will feel positive and motivated to do the same. Every time you read with your child you are investing in their future!