7 Aspects of Reading

Please be aware that this page may be changed and updated in line with current changes happening in our school. In our school we use the following programmes:

Writing for Purpose

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised

Accelerated Reader

If you have any questions regarding any of these, if you wish to find out more about these initiatives, or want to know how to support your child at home, please make contact with your child's class teacher in the first instance. They will be able to answer any questions that you may have and will be able to direct any further support needed to one of the English Team members:

Mrs John - English/Writing Lead

Miss Care - Reading Lead

Mrs Saint - Phonics Lead

The 7 Aspects of Reading at St Michael's School


1.How do we prioritise reading?

Each of our classrooms has a reading area, which is inviting and engaging, in order to promote a love of reading. Teachers are encouraged to develop their own library areas and include items which they feel suit their current cohort of children. This ensures that each year the children have a new and exciting area to engage with. Children can access the book areas freely throughout the day and engage with a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books. The books in these areas are rotated regularly, to ensure it stays a fun and engaging place to go. In EYFS and Year 1, these areas are included as part of continuous provision planning and children are actively encouraged to visit it throughout the week. They also have a story telling area to allow the children to engage with stories through roleplay. EYFS and KS1 classrooms have puppets and soft toys available to enhance the reading experience. The Year 2 - 6 classrooms enhance these areas in ways that each individual teacher sees fit.

In the classroom, teachers ensure topic linked texts are available to the children each half term, to enable them to broaden their understanding and interest in the key areas being studied.

Money raised by the Book Fayre each year is used to buy new texts to enhance the class book corners and to keep the texts we have available current.

We endeavour to use books and high quality texts to enrich learning and provide access to a range of genres. Many Literacy units in each year group are focussed around a key text.

Previously, we have used Extreme Reading as a way of engaging children to read at home. We aim to relaunch this in Summer Term 2023, to encourage our current cohort to engage in this fun and exciting reading activity. 

Our approach to writing ‘Writing for Purpose’ encompasses the teaching of reading and writing in 2-3 week blocks. In each block, 50% of the time is dedicated to the teaching of reading, with the development of reading skills at the forefront of this. In Early Years and Year 1, group reading forms part of the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised approach that we adopted in September 2021. Books are matched to the children’s phonological awareness and are practised in 3 x weekly sessions. In Year 2, the children will have whole class reading sessions as part of ‘Writing for Purpose’ and small group reading for those still on Phase 2-5 of the phonics programme. From February 2022, Year 2 adopted the new Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised approach as a continuation of the children's learning from Year 1. These children continue with the programme until completion, at which point they progress onto Accelerated Reader. 

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is our chosen synthetic Phonics programme in EYFS and KS1. Year 2 pupils, who have progressed onto Phase 6, continue to learn to read and spell words through carefully planned daily phonics sessions and weekly spelling tests. Phonics across the school is taught in five 10-30 minute sessions per week, depending on age and time of year. In KS2, children who did not pass their Phonics Screening test in KS1, or who have not completed our chosen SSP programme, continue to have small group work phonics instruction from an experienced adult, following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Rapid Catch-Up programme. 

Early reading is encouraged by providing pupils with non-worded reading books in the first instance. Once they have developed the initial phoneme awareness and decoding skills, they are then moved on to texts that match their phonic ability and are fully decodable.

Pupils who are learning phonics in EYFS and KS1 take home two books: a phonetically decodable book linked to their Phonics Phase and a library book to enjoy as part of their reading for pleasure experience.

Once children have progressed through the phonetically decodable texts and can confidently read 100 words per minute, they are assessed on Accelerated Reader (AR). This gives them a ZPD level, which then enables them to select books within a given range. Children are assessed at least half-termly on AR to ensure progression and challenge, but teachers are encouraged to look at the test scores weekly to ensure progression through the ZPD range and to monitor engagement at home.

Pupils have access to our newly refurbished Key Stage libraries and are encouraged to take library books home, in addition to their regular reading books. All children are encouraged to take a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ book to share with their families at home.

At the end of each school day, every class engages with Story Time. This 20 minute slot sees the teacher reading a purposefully selected text to their children. Reading Reconsidered is used as a support for teachers to select a range of key texts, which the children in each year group should be exposed to. Teachers also use their professional judgement to select texts, often beyond the children’s own reading capabilities, to challenge, excite and promote a love for reading.

Children are encouraged to select a book that interests them for their home reading book, so that they want to engage with it. We use home reading records to monitor pupils reading at home, so that we can provide extra provision in school where it is needed.

For targeted children in KS1 and KS2, one-to-one reading takes place with an experienced teacher or TA.

Reading is celebrated in our school celebration assembly each week. In KS1, pupils are awarded reader of the week, with a certificate that goes home. In KS2, Accelerated Reader certificates are presented to those children that have achieved a 'Ready Reader' level and these children are recognised on the school's weekly newsletter. We also hold reading events throughout the year such as; Book Fayre, World Book Day and Literacy Week.

As part of our commitment to reading, each KS2 class has a dedicated and timetabled 20+ minute AR reading slot each day. This time is used for the children to build their stamina for reading and reading fluency. During this time, children read quietly to themselves, quiz on their completed texts and teachers listen to the children read, as well as check quiz scores to ensure children are choosing challenging texts.

2.How do we promote a love of reading?

All staff are expert readers, modelling reading skills, facilitating quality discussion about texts shared with the pupils and displaying their own love of reading.

Teachers read class stories to promote a love and enjoyment of stories, immersing them in the world of imagination.

Our learning opportunities incorporate a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, to expose pupils to different texts they may enjoy. They also encompass physical texts and digital versions, including media, to ensure children are engaging fully with the learning taking place.

Reading sessions allow time for pupils to discuss their reading, helping them to make sense of what they have read.

Pupils are encouraged to access the library and change books on a regular basis. This is in addition to their reading book from our reading scheme.

We encourage pupils in each class to share their love of reading. This is done differently in different classes but some examples include inviting them to recommend great reads to their peers, through selecting key texts that are shared with the class and through making bookmarks for the books they have read.

For World Book Day, we encourage children to dress as a book character and partake in a fun assembly, which includes a parade. Teachers also dress up and share their favourite books with the children. Displays are developed in both Key Stage buildings to show this fun experience.

Extreme Reading displays create an engaging area for children and encourage them to have fun with their reading at home.

Teachers are actively encouraged to share their love of reading in different ways. Some teachers display what they are currently reading on the entrance to their classrooms, while others wrap up their favourite books and deliver them as presents to the class. We endeavour to promote creativity and individuality by encouraging teachers to be creative in their own way.
3.How do we make sure pupils make progress?

A systematic, synthetic phonics programme is taught daily in all KS1 classes (until children have completed the programme in Year 2) and to relevant children in KS2. Phonics lessons follow the same sequence of teach, practise, revise, review and apply. Planning includes assessment for the graphemes taught. Phonics summative assessments are used every 6 weeks, to identify gaps in learning and ensure that children are receiving the correct tuition, and formative assessment is applied daily by the phonics teachers to inform next day intervention.

We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised SSP programme. This complete phonics programme ensures that we teach the correct progression and assess regularly, so that we can identify gaps and ensure children are making progress.

The KS1 phonics lead assesses children for the Phonics Screening Test and puts in place intervention for those children who are not set to pass. This ensures children do not get left behind with their learning.

Reading sessions form 50% of the English teaching in KS2 and there is daily phonics and 3 x weekly reading sessions in Early Years and KS1, as well as KS2 where needed. In these sessions, pupils are given opportunities to read independently, as part of a group or with a partner, as well as with an adult. They also ensure the development of key comprehension skills. Daily Keep-Up and Rapid Catch-Up is used across the school to plug gaps in learning, planning and resources for which are from Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. 

The school supports pupils to be expert readers by developing the key skills of clarifying, questioning, explaining, retrieval, summarising and predicting.

-Clarifying: understanding and explaining what we have read including new vocabulary

-Questioning: ensuring we understand and checking others do too.

-Explaining: developing an understanding of inference and deduction

-Retrieval: using and finding evidence in the text.

-Summarising and sequencing: identifying the main points of the text by recapping prior reading, scanning and using key words.

-Predicting: Using the knowledge of what we have read to make predictions about forthcoming events or actions in a story.

There is a clear progression of reading skills from EYFS to Year 6, against which pupils’ progress is measured and gaps are noted and acted on.

Pupils who are struggling with decoding skills (preventing them from accessing reading material) have targeted interventions or are part of a smaller reading group.

Pupils who need further opportunity to practise reading, because they do not read at home, are given priority to read to an adult in school. Class teachers ensure volunteers, who come into school to hear readers, are trained to support reading appropriately.

Staff have pupil progress meetings and the Reading Lead completes pupil conferencing in reading to monitor the learning of all children. 

We assist parents with supporting reading by providing parents meetings, reading information meetings, information on the website and letters home. When children enter St Michael’s School in EYFS, parents are invited to an initial meeting, where the experienced EYFS lead shares the reading expectations with parents and gives them tuition on synthetic, systemic phonics.
4.How do we match the pupils' reading books to their phonic ability?

In KS1, we use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’ (see below). These groups are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis where possible, to ensure that they are reading books that are fully decodable and allow the children at least 95% success. In Year 2 onwards, children developing their Phase 5 knowledge access higher interest books identified for 7+, to ensure a love of reading is promoted. 

The decodable reading practice book is taken home after three reads in school, to ensure success is shared with the family.

Once children are assessed on Accelerated Reader (AR) and have their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) range, they are able to select texts that interest them. Experienced adults in school ensure that the children are selecting books at the right level within their range, aided by the book quiz outcomes. Children are encouraged to quiz after completing each text they read at home, to ensure they are engaging well with the texts they are selecting. All children on AR are also assessed on the Star Test at least termly, to ensure that their ZPD range is accurate.
5.How do we teach phonics from the start?

Phonics teaching begins with our youngest pupils from the time they join us in EYFS, following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised scheme. Phase 1 is promoted and embedded within the curriculum, exposing pupils to sound rich activities, which provide the foundations for reading and writing. We complete baseline assessments in communication, language and literacy to support and identify speech, language and communication needs.

Pupils begin learning letter sounds on entry to EYFS. Following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised system, pupils are immersed in a directed teaching approach, which embeds systematic phonic skills, as the core skills for reading. Sounds are taught in a specific order, and regular assessment informs future planning and interventions. The order is dictated by the Phonics Phase that children are working on, from Phase 2 – Phase 5. This then continues onto Phase 6 in Year 2, using the original Letters and Sounds Framework (see below).

The Phonics knowledge taught for each Phase 2-5 is outlined in our document  ‘Phonics and Early Reading Policy’ and can be found following the link below:
6.How do we support pupils to catch up?

Point in Time Assessments (PITA), are carried out at least three times a year and analysed by class teachers and members of SLT. Termly Pupil Progress meetings, with key staff, encompass the use of these assessments for analysis. Pupils identified by class teachers, subject leaders and SLT as not making sufficient or above progress, have interventions planned for them and teaching staff are aware of who is a priority for intervention or in class support.

NFER materials are used as Point in Time Assessments (PITA) in certain year groups, as well as past SATS papers in Year 2 and Year 6. These papers are marked by class teachers and a scaled score is allocated to each child. The reading lead then uses this data to analyse trends across the school and pinpoint concerns and areas for intervention.

Formative data informs day-to-day planning and teachers adapt and change this according to the pupil needs.

Pupils who did not achieve their phonics check in Year 1 or 2, receive interventions (daily reader/extra phonics support) and/or work in a group which is teacher driven. These children are assessed by the Phonics and Reading lead, as well as class teachers, to ensure sufficient progress is being made.

Children who are not engaging with their home reading books at home, have opportunities in school to be listened to by an experienced and trained adult.

Where progress becomes a concern, parents are invited to a meeting with the teacher and advice is given as to how they can further support their child at home. Phonic specific targets also form part of individual education plans (IEPs) for those children on the Record of Need. These documents are discussed with and sent to parents at regular intervals throughout the year. 
Phase 2

At the beginning of EYFS, children start Phase 2. In Phase 2, children are introduced to letters (graphemes) and the sounds (phonemes) they make, one at a time. The letters (graphemes) are broken down into sets and each week, a new set is introduced. When a set of letters (graphemes) is introduced, children are encouraged to use their knowledge of the letter sounds (phonemes) to sound out and blend letters together, to read simple words. In Phase 2, children are also introduced to their first ‘tricky words’ which they must learn by sight.

Phase 3

Once children progress onto Phase 3, they will already be able to segment and blend words containing the letter sounds (phonemes) introduced in Phase 2. Phase 3 will now introduce children to the following graphemes and their phoneme correspondence: ai ee igh oa oo oo ar or ur ow oi ear air er. It will also introduce them to words with double letters and longer words, including those with double letters and words with –s /z/ in the middle, words with –es /z/ at the end and words with –s /s/ and /z/ at the end. 9 more tricky words are also introduced.

Phase 4

In Phase 4, children learn short vowels with adjacent consonants: CVCC CCVC CCVCC CCCVC CCCVCC, Phase 3 long vowel graphemes with adjacent consonants: CVCC CCVC CCCVC CCV CCVCC, words ending in suffixes:–ing, –ed /t/, –ed /id/ /ed/, –ed /d/ –er, –est, longer words and compound words and words ending in suffixes: –ing, –ed /t/, –ed /id/ /ed/, –est. They are also introduced to their next set of 18 tricky words and review previous tricky words.

Phase 5

By the time children reach Phase 5, usually in Autumn term of Year 1, they will be able to read and spell words with adjacent consonants, as well as some polysyllabic words (two or more syllables). In Phase 5, children will be introduced to more graphemes and phonemes. They will learn alternative graphemes, for example, they already know ‘igh’ in ‘high’, but now they will be introduced to ‘ie’ in ‘pie’ etc. They will also learn alternative pronunciations for graphemes e.g. the ea in tea, head, and break. Added to this, they will learn which grapheme is the most likely in a word. As well as learning 30+ new tricky words, the children will practise their phonic skills extensively, reading and writing using everything they have learnt so far, on a daily basis.

Phase 6

The aim of Phase 6 is for children to become more fluent, competent and confident readers, as well as more accurate spellers. They will use their knowledge from Phases 2-5 to support them in reading and writing. They should now be able to read most words quickly and know to apply decoding skills efficiently and quietly to read unfamiliar words. From previous Phases, children will be able to spell most words phonetically, but not necessarily accurately. So the aim of Phase 6 is to encourage children to use their ‘Best Guess’ strategies and developing knowledge of words, to spell with more accuracy.

Further Phonics Support

In KS2, children that still need Phonic tuition, have small group intervention with an experienced adult, following the Rapid Catch-Up scheme. 

In EYFS and Year 1, to support the learning in school, pupils take home Phonics activities or sheets that match the phonemes, graphemes and tricky words they have learnt each week. They also take home their phonically decodable reading book to reinforce the sounds taught. At the beginning of each term, children take home a copy of the ‘tricky words’ and ‘decodable words’ that they still need support with.

In Year 2 and beyond, children go home with spellings linked to their year group key spelling lists and any Phonics sounds or words that they still need to practise, including common exception words. This may be half-termly or weekly, depending on the children.

On entry to EYFS, parents are given an introduction to Phonics, through the Transition to School meeting with the experienced EYFS lead. Resources to support phonics at home are signposted to parents, to enable them to successfully help their children to succeed. These are also available to access at all times via the Reading tab on the school website. 

7.How do we train staff to be reading experts?

Teaching staff, including Teaching Assistants, receive Reading and Phonics training as and when required. The Phonics Lead runs a half-termly Phonics meeting with all Infant Staff and teachers of Early Reading. This training may be a specific focus on the School Development Plan (SDP), Literacy Action Plan or a personal target identified in performance management. This may include in-house training or external training, depending on the needs of the staff. The Phonics Lead also runs weekly phonics meetings with Teaching Assistants across the school to update and train them on new material and to ensure understanding and competence of current material and procedures. 

Subject leads for Writing and Reading attend the MAT network meetings and Somerset Literacy Network meetings and cascade relevant information back to relevant staff in the school.

The Headteacher, School Monitoring Councillor and subject leads monitor provision for its effectiveness and conduct pupil conferencing, to ensure agreed approaches and consistency are applied across the school.

The Literacy subject team work together to ensure that there is consistency within Key Stages and across year groups and to ensure that staff are up to date with current approaches. They also work together to plan and deliver effective training and guidance to staff. Deep Dives are carried out termly for Reading and Writing, by subject leads and SLT, to identify areas for development and to address targets on the School Improvement Plan and Subject Actions Plans. 

New staff and student teachers meet with the Literacy team, as part of their induction and are introduced to the approaches used in school. Parallel teachers are expected to ensure that new teachers are delivering agreed approaches. This is monitored through lesson observations and book looks and any issues are addressed by senior management or subject leads, depending on the nature of it.

The reading lead monitors reading and offers guidance to staff with follow up actions.

Summative Phonics assessments are carried out at least every 6 weeks and adjustments are made to ensure any children at risk of falling behind are targeted for next day intervention. Formative assessment is applied daily by all teaching staff and is fed-back to the Reading and Phonics leads where support is required. Class teachers are expected to put the relevant intervention into place as soon as possible, when a gap in learning is identified.