Early Reading & Phonics

At Goat Lees Primary School, we encourage a love of books and reading. We provide the children with many daily opportunities to enjoy and share books with others. Each classroom, alongside our well stocked library, has an inviting reading area with a wide range of reading materials to support all reading abilities.

Other reading opportunities throughout the day occur through a wide range of activities such as our reading lessons focusing on a text (fiction or non-fiction), story time when books are shared and enjoyed, opportunities to listen to books in class listening areas, text linked to cross-curricular work and the use of our reading shed which is set up and monitored by our reading ambassadors for those who want to share a book at break times and lunchtimes.


At the heart of our curriculum lie our school values (respect, responsibility, honesty and pride) and these are reflected in the daily life of school. At Goat Lees Primary School, reading is a top priority and is a key driver for our curriculum. We have a team who work closely together with a member of staff from EYFS, KS1 and KS2 to ensure coverage and progression. It is our intention to ensure that by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

We therefore intend to encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to:

  • Develop fluency in order to establish an appreciation and love of reading
  • Develop their comprehension skills
  • Gain knowledge across the curriculum
  • Develop knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live
  • Be capable readers in preparation for the demands of secondary school

Implementation – Early Reading and Phonics

The systematic teaching of phonics is a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. At Goat Lees Primary School, we use a synthetic phonics programme called ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ programme which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. Alongside this, our children are taught the ‘tricky words’ which do not follow the regular phonetic pattern. Discreet phonics sessions take place daily for 20-30 minutes. Phonics provision is also supplemented by a wide range of speaking and listening, writing lessons as well as spelling and grammar activities throughout the week. Teachers regularly read to the children so the children get to know, and love, all sorts of stories, poems and information books. This is in addition to the books they take home. All classrooms have attractive book corners where the children can access a wide range of books, both fiction and non-fiction to help embed their love of books and reading.

Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.

We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:

  • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
  • Children in Year 1 review Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

Please click here to see the Little Wandle programme of progression for Year R.

Please click here to see the Little Wandle programme of progression for Year 1.

Where we feel it is appropriate and based on summative assessment, it is sometimes necessary to split the children to allow them to revisit a previous terms teaching. These daily phonics sessions are always run alongside the timetabled phonics lesson for that day.

Implementation (Reading Sessions in EYFS and KS1):

In EYFS and KS1 the children still following the Little Wandle programme, take part in a reading session led by an adult three times a week. Each session is ½ hour long. Teachers plan and resource every group and the sessions that will be delivered. Each session is structured in a consistent way. The children will read the same text in each session and then take it home to read with their parents to develop and encourage fluency. Every teacher and teaching assistant in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress.

Session 1. Focus – Book introduction and first exposure. Identify front/back cover/blurb/ vocabulary children will encounter. First read of the book (decoding) where the adult will listen to individual children whilst reading at their own speed.

Session 2. Focus – prosody and second exposure to text. Key teaching points – fluency, expression, intonation, taking account of punctuation. Children re-read the text using expression and intonation.

 Session 3. Focus – comprehension. This is a mixture of verbal (adult led) or written (more independent). This session enables the children to draw on the skills from the previous two sessions as well as gain exposure to the range of skills needed for answering different types of comprehension questions.


Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

Assessment for learning is used:

Weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.

Summative assessment for Reception and KS1 is used:

  • Every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.
  • By the reading team and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.

A placement assessment is used:

With any child new to the school in Reception and Year 1 to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan and provide appropriate extra teaching.

Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read. Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning. We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 and above who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check.

Implementation – Wider Reading and Reading for Pleasure:

Each topic is supported by a range of quality fiction/non-fiction texts. These are used for fact finding, group projects and reading for meaning/pleasure. We have a group of reading ambassadors in UKS2 who support reading for pleasure by:

  • Running a book doctor clinic in the school library
  • Leading reading assemblies
  • Organising reading competitions
  • Promoting the use of the reading shed at break/lunchtimes
  • Organising and running our whole school book swap
  • All children have a bookmark to collect stickers when they read at home. They collect stickers towards being awarded bronze, silver and gold reading certificates and finally a prize from the book cupboard.
  • All children in KS1 have the opportunity to take home a book box to enjoy a book that is related to their topic and a hot chocolate treat with a loved one. They are also asked to complete a book review and a simple activity or game based on the story they have read. This is to encourage and develop a love of reading.

Home Reading Books:

In EYFS and KS1, each week your child will bring home two books. A reading practice book – Collins Big Cat.  This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading. Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together. A sharing book - In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together. Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The goal is enjoyment!

Parents are requested to fill in an individual reading record in order to give the school feedback on their child's reading progress.


Our aim is that children can read fluently by the end of Key Stage 1, enabling them to fully access learning at Key Stage 2 and beyond.

Reading is assessed in the following ways:

Statutory Assessment Year 1: Children take part in the Phonics Screening check, any child not passing the check resits in Year 2.

Statutory Assessment Year 2: Children are assessed in Reading as part of the end of Key Stage 1 SATs.

Statutory Assessment Year 6: Children are formally assessed in Reading as part of the end of Key Stage 2 SATs. 

In School Assessments:

Children’s progress in phonics is continually reviewed through daily informal and half termly formal phonic assessment as well as evidence from their reading and writing. Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any children needing additional support as soon as they need it.

Children undertake termly assessments using the NfER reading tests (Year 1 from Spring term). Progress is measured using standardised scores.

Informal assessments - Teachers continuously assess children’s attainment and progress during individual and whole class reading sessions.

If you would like to see our 'end points' document for reading across the whole school, please click here.

  If you would like to see how our Early Years Curriculum links to the English curriculum in years 1-6, please click here.

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