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The Teaching of Reading

Teaching of Reading

At Wanstead Church School we want children to love reading - to enjoy books and to want to read - as well as learning to read.  Within a broad and rich literacy curriculum, we teach reading through English lessons with reading focused learning objectives and daily guided reading sessions. 

Guided reading is designed to develop a love of reading and delivered through a carousel of activities.  It is taught in ability groups and includes a teacher-led guided reading session each week, based on a text which extends and challenges. 

In Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 the emphasis is on phonics teaching in order for children to recognise and use phoneme and grapheme correspondences by the end of Key Stage 1 so they are able to obtain competency in reading.

Throughout school reading skills are taught using a wide range of materials, including a variety of reading schemes.  Children have access to a choice of texts suited to their own personal interests while also extending their reading ability and confidence.  Classes have a weekly library session when they have the opportunity to borrow two books.  Each class has an inviting book area.

Phonics: Foundation – Year 3

Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them to learn to read.  We follow the government’s published six phase teaching programme ‘Letters and Sounds’ and, through a multi-sensory approach, teach pre-reading skills and systematically develop children’s knowledge of letter sounds (phonemes).  Children learn how to blend sounds to read and segment them for writing. 

Phonics teaching:

  • Phase 1 to develop children’s speaking and listening skills - Nursery focus.

  • Phase 2 to beginning of Reception.


  • Once our Reception children begin Phase 2 (in the second half of the Autumn Term), a number of words are sent home each week to reinforce their learning that week.


  • Phase 3 to teach children one grapheme (the way a sound/phoneme is written) for each of the 40+ phonemes, in order to read and spell simple regular words – Reception.


  • Also, children learn all the letter names and begin to form letters correctly.


  • Phase 4 to consolidate children’s knowledge of previously learned graphemes and phonemes and learn how to read and write words containing adjacent consonants – beginning of Year One.


  • Phase 5 to broaden children’s knowledge of graphemes and phonemes by teaching new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes already taught - Year One.


  • Phonics screening takes place in the Summer Term for Year 1 pupils and any Year 2 pupils that have since joined the school or did not reach the threshold in Year 1.


  • Phase 6 to develop children’s use and application of their phonic knowledge so they become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers - Year Two.


  • In Year One and Year Two children’s phonics learning continues to be supported at home with reading and spellings.


    Reading in Foundation Stage:

  • Teaching of letters and sounds (daily 20 minute phonic sessions)

  • Nursery focus on Phase 1

  • Reception covers Phases 2 – 3

  • Children have experience with fiction as well as non-fiction.

  • Big book sharing, audio books, story reading, film, guided reading, individual reading are all part and parcel of their daily experience.

  • Children have reading partners in KS2, with whom they read with once a week.

  • Teachers, Parents and Carers share information, including progress made, through individual reading diaries.

  • A Phonics Meeting for Parents and Carers is held at the beginning of the Autumn Term.

  • Regular ‘Stay and Play’, as well as ‘First Steps’ Parent and Carer sessions are organised.


    Reading in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2:

  • Children engage in shared reading, independent reading and story time.

  • Each child has a weekly guided reading session with the teacher in addition to a carousel of independent reading activities which cover a range of genres. Teachers keep records of their focussed observations from these sessions.

  • Teachers use texts that are stimulating and inspiring.

  • Film, taped stories, poetry, plays, reading games, word building and non-fiction books contribute to the development of reading ability and comprehension.

  • Daily 20 minute phonic sessions (Year 1 – Phase 4 and 5,Year 2 – Phase 6, Year 3 – revision and consolidation, during Autumn term)

  • Reading diaries (Reading Records at Key Stage 1 and Reading Journals at Key Stage 2) are used in the to celebrate a child’s reading achievements

  • Timetabled intervention for those needing support with their development of reading skills.