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Priory Park Infant School

Learning Together with Care and Respect

Reading & Phonics


Our ambition for our children at Priory Park Infant School is for each child to develop a lifelong love of reading. Our aim for our children is for them to make excellent progress in reading, developing into fluent, confident readers who have a good understanding of what they read. Children are exposed to high-quality, varied texts and immersed in vocabulary-rich learning environments to inspire and motivate them as readers.




Phonics is taught daily in every class through our synthetic phonics program Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, ensuring children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. Reading is taught in a variety of ways, as well as in phonics. Children take part in guided reading practice sessions. All classes have a daily story time, sharing quality texts for pleasure. Reading also plays a large part in daily English lessons based on a quality text used throughout each term. Using a text as a basis for teaching allows explicit comprehension teaching, story telling and retelling, and vocabulary exploration.




A variety of reading enrichment experiences are embedded, such as author visits and sharing bedtime stories during book week, as well as accessing our well-stocked community library and in-school library to further develop children’s love of reading.


As children develop their phonics knowledge and skills, they may receive additional support in the form of daily keep-up or additional catch-up, as appropriate to the needs of each child. 





Children at Priory Park Infants enjoy reading and develop lifelong reading habits; reading for pleasure and reading for information. Children read audibly, accurately and coherently, adapting their voice to suit a range of purpose, audience or text type. Children are able to explain and discuss what they have read having developed their inference and deduction skills.




How do we prioritise reading?

  • Reading is an integral part of our school curriculum, as we offer opportunities to look at books and learn from different texts throughout many different subject areas. Books also form a huge part of our school values, as these are taught through stories during assemblies and story times.
  • Our writing curriculum is always centred around quality texts, developing story telling through the use of Talk4Writing
  • We read and enjoy books from the Reading Spine in each year group to ensure that children are learning high-quality stories in addition to the books the children read in the wider curriculum areas. Every class has a class set of these books that are shared regularly with the children.
  • Phonics is prioritised and daily sessions take place in all year groups. Our school teaches from Little Wandle Revised Letters and Sounds, which is followed by No-Nonsense Spelling once the children are secure at Phase 5.
  • Every class has a ‘Class Library’ where every children can independently choose a high-quality picture book to take home alongside their reading practise book. This can be changed daily and is for their grown-ups at home to read to them.
  • Reading with children is prioritised – all children who are ready to take home a decodable book do so, starting at Phase 2 set 1, and this book is changed once a week. Children are heard to read twice a week in school in KS1, and once a week in EYFS. Information regarding day-to-day progress is shared with parents via a reading diary.
  • Children have a daily story time with a quality picture book that aims to promote a love of reading, whilst also embedding wider reading skills and exposing children to rich, varied vocabulary
  • Every class has a book corner that the children can access regularly throughout the week.
  • Every class visits the school library each week and shares Fiction and Non-Fiction books together. The library is frequently used for whole class story times as well. The library is well-stocked with a varied range of books to support children’s interests and further their knowledge in different topic areas.
  • The library is used for a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ group once a week to support children who have fewer opportunities to read at home.
  • Family members are welcome to come into school to be a ‘Mystery Reader’. This is where they surprise the children at the end of the day to share a story with their child’s whole class.
  • Children receive books as Christmas gifts from the PTA, and we have second hand book sales throughout the year.
  • We have a community library at the front of our school which all of our school and pre-school community have access to. This is stocked full of books for people to help themselves too – it is used daily.
  • We make community links with the local library, who have been into school to share Summer Reading challenges with us, and the children have an opportunity to visit the local library at some point during their time with us.
  • We share books together in class that the children have brought in from home, and celebrate successes such as taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge, or photographs from Tapestry of books children have recommended. Children are also welcome to bring in books to share on their birthdays.
  • Every year we celebrate Book Week and utilise this opportunity to invite families into school, for example, for bedtime stories. We also have author visits and shared reading opportunities throughout the week.
  • We endeavour to work in partnership with parents and wider families to support children’s reading development. For example, we offer a welcome meeting for each year group which includes information about how we teach reading and how parents can support children at home, we offer coffee mornings to share on-going reading updates, we have a reading newsletter that goes home once a term, we share information regarding reading and phonics at parents evening.




How do we promote a love of reading?

  • Staff are expert readers, modelling reading skills, exposing the children to rich vocabulary, and sharing their own love of reading throughout their time in school.
  • Teachers share stories daily with the children, to promote a love and enjoyment of stories and books. This is through a daily story time which is in addition to stories read as part of other curriculum areas.
  • Staff help the children to choose books when visiting the library and book corners by showing children how to read a blurb or look through a book to see if it interests them.
  • Guided reading sessions are structured to allow children to build their confidence and fluency in reading, ensuring they are successful in their reading and therefore continue to want to read. Guided reading sessions also allow time for children to share ideas, have discussions and make sense of what they are reading.
  • Children are encouraged to choose a high-quality picture book from their class libraries so that they can share this at home with their families, which will promote a love of reading and enjoyment. This is in addition to the decodable book.
  • We take part in Book Week every year. This week offers a wide range of opportunities to promote children’s love of books, for example, author visits, coming back to school for bedtime stories, parents and families coming in to share stories.
  • Families are invited into school to be a Mystery Reader – this is very heavily subscribed and there is a Mystery Reader in school most days! This takes place across the school so all year groups have the opportunity to have a mystery reader.
  • Throughout the wider curriculum, teachers use texts to share information and promote learning in different topics, in order to expose children to a variety of texts they may enjoy.
  • We have a community library outside of the school grounds that all members of the school community are welcome to use. They are able to swap books for new books, or simply help themselves to a story to take home and keep.
  • Termly newsletters go out regarding reading. This contains information regarding supporting reading, but also recommendations of books to share, alongside sharing with parents books we have been enjoying in school.
  • Every classroom has a book corner which is stocked with books that the children are familiar with, as well as some new books to challenge more able readers. This ensures that all children are able to access picture books and tell stories confidently as they know these well.





How do we make sure pupils make progress?

  • Phonics is taught following the Little Wandle systematic synthetic programme. There is fidelity to the scheme throughout the school. Phonics lessons follow the same sequence of review, teach, practise, apply and are structured so that phonics knowledge builds upon prior knowledge. Little Wandle was chosen as our SSP due to the way it is structured as it reduces cognitive load and builds upon the way we know children learn best. It means that new learning and knowledge is stored in the long term memory.
  • Phonics is assessed using the Little Wandle assessment system and takes place after a 6-block of teaching, every half term. This informs future planning and interventions.
  • Daily AfL takes place during phonics lessons and identifies children who are not keeping up. Daily keep-up is put in place for these children, where children will have additional practise of the GPC’s taught that day.
  • If children are not keeping up after taking part in Keep Up sessions, they will receive catch up in-line with the Little Wandle approach.
  • Reading practise sessions take place twice weekly in KS1, and at least once weekly in EYFS. These are an opportunity to check children’s phonic ability, as well as reading skills such as decoding and blending, and overall fluency.
  • Once children are secure at Phase 5 and have read through to Phase 5 set 5, children move on to No-Nonsense spelling which covers the NC expectations for spelling beyond phonics.
  • Books are accurately matched to each child’s phonics ability which means children can continually practise the sounds and tricky words that they know.
  • We use Little Wandle resources and display materials so that there is consistency in all classrooms and children are able to independently access these to support their own learning
  • There is a clear progression of reading skills from EYFS to Y2 which are used in conjunction with reading practise sessions.
  • Children who need additional reading practise as they do not read at home, are read with more frequently by additional adults such as volunteers.
  • Staff have regular pupil progress meetings and the reading lead monitors phonics and reading progress using a phonics tracker on a half termly basis.
  • We continue to engage with parents to support reading at home through tools such as the phonics fact files, LW weekly home learning letters for Reception and Y1, spellings in Y2, reading diaries and parents meetings. There is also a parents support section on the school website and we use Tapestry to share reminders or support materials also




How do we match the pupils’ reading books to their phonic ability?

  • Children all read books that are matched to the sounds that they are secure at, including tricky words and reading skills such as blending and reading words with two-syllables. Alongside this, they are working on comprehension skills that are suitable for each phase of their independent reading ability.
  • Pupils are assessed formatively on a daily basis and will be given additional Keep Up as appropriate. They are also assessed after a 6 week teaching block and teachers use the Little Wandle matching grids in order to match them carefully to the correct book band. Formative assessments carried out in between these assessments may indicate that pupils are ready to move and if so, children will be reassessed sooner to ensure they are matched correctly.
  • Teachers have a good subject knowledge of how the phases and sets progress systematically and it is their responsibility for changing and checking children are accessing the correct reading book. The Reading Lead attends PPA sessions during assessment periods to support staff to make these judgements where appropriate.
  • Pupils across the school take home two reading books: a reading practise book and a shared reading book. The reading practise book will be matched to their reading ability and the shared reading book is a quality picture book to be read to them by an adult. Once children are secure at reading books within Phase 5, they revert to the banded colour system up to bronze level.
  • Staff log which books the children have previously read and work through the books in the correct phase/set order.
  • At the beginning of each reading practise session, staff will do a pre-reading check with the children working on Phases 2-5 where they will read the GPC’s, tricky words, and read and discuss relevant vocabulary for that text. This also helps staff have an indication of any misconceptions or challenges that can be addressed before the children begin reading the text.
  • Children keep the same reading practise book for 1 week in order to build up confidence and fluency. Parents have had workshops to explain the reasoning behind this and have supported the move to keep the book for a longer period of time. This has resulted in an increased level of fluency within the children’s reading levels. When children move onto banded books in Y2, children can independently change their book once they have read it at home.  
  • We use the Big Cat Collins Little Wandle revised books as these are carefully matched to the children’s phonics ability and follow the systematic approach of Little Wandle.




How do we teach phonics from the start?

  • We begin teach phonics in Playgroup using the Foundations for Phonics planning from Little Wandle. Staff are playgroup have all been provided with training by the Reading Lead and on-going monitor is in place to support all staff to feel confident in delivering this.
  • Children learn about sound awareness and develop listening skills through the use of games, whilst learning nursery rhymes and repetitive songs, as well as learning appropriate stories from the Foundations to Phonics scheme.
  • Phonics teaching begins to be taught daily from Week 2 in Reception. Children begin learning the Phase 2 GPC’s and appropriate reading skills.
  • Assessments are carried out after 6 weeks and all children ready to be given a reading book, will begin to take one home. Children not yet ready will begin additional blending practise alongside other Keep-Up and Catch up as appropriate. They will also look through wordless books or high-quality picture books to expose children to broader reading skills and engage them with books.
  • The lesson structure remains consistent from the beginning of EYFS right through to teaching in Y2.
  • Pupils are introduced to 4 new GPC’s each week where relevant and have one review lesson each week to consolidate the week’s learning.
  • Pupils also have opportunities to practise and apply their phonics learning within the learning environment through continuous provision and planned enhancements.
  • From the beginning of EYFS, children take home a weekly LW learning letter which states the sounds they have learnt, the pictures used to help children remember sounds, and some words to practise blending. This continues into Y1.




How do we support pupils to catch up?

  • Teachers will use AfL within daily lessons to identify children at risk of falling behind. Keep Up will be put in place for this children each day where they will receive additional practise of these sounds, sometimes this is completed as a whole class Keep Up session, sometimes as a small group.
  • Pupils are assessed 6 weekly and from this, teachers will put in place relevant catch up for any children who have not been able to Keep Up.
  • Teachers all follow the Little Wandle mantras and scripts and this helps to reduce cognitive load and therefore helps children to focus on new learning during lessons.
  • Children have opportunities to see and rehearse sounds from previous learning at the beginning of each phonics lesson in shuffle time, as well as at the beginning of each reading practise sessions during their pre-reading check.
  • Teachers complete the phonics tracker after completing their 6 weekly assessments and this allows us to track progress over time and identify any children who are not making progress or who are not working at age related expectations.
  • All children are present during daily class sessions, although Little Wandle suggests that streaming into Phases may be relevant when there are cohorts with large gaps in learning.
  • Resources and displays are used consistently across the school so that children can refer to these, such as grow the code, phoneme freezes, sound mats and picture clues.
  • Alongside the Little Wandle learning letters that go home each week, we have supported parents by creating phonics fact files for each year group, holding coffee mornings to discuss reading, holding reading workshops, inviting parents in for Look & Learn to see how phonics is taught in class, holding meetings for each year group so parents are aware of the changes in school, sharing information with parents at Parents Evening and sending home additional resources as appropriate.
  • Children in Y1 complete a pre-screening check and will receive additional catch up to support them with the check. A Y1 meeting is also held in the Spring/Summer term to inform parents about this and support materials are shared with them. There is also information on the school website regarding the check.
  • Pupils in EYFS and Y1 also have opportunities to apply phonics skills in their continuous provision activities.





How do we train staff to be reading experts?

  • All staff working with children have completed the Little Wandle training. Staff CPD has continued since the initial training and the ‘How to’ videos are regularly used in TA meetings, Staff Meetings and during PPA time to revisit the skills.
  • The Reading Lead attends PPA and Pupil Progress meetings as relevant to discuss children’s reading progress.
  • Monitoring takes place every term to ensure that fidelity to the scheme is maintained during phonics lesson and during reading practise sessions, in the form of learning walks, drop ins, monitoring of logs, pupil voice etc.
  • Governors have also taken part in monitoring of reading across the school to check for consistency and continuity across classes and ensure our teaching is progressive.
  • Training continues to be on-going
  • Little Wande updates are regularly shared with staff on both an individual, team and whole school level
  • Subject leaders have regular drop in’s and offer support sessions
  • Teachers take part in team teaching and peer coaching opportunities to support each other and model good practice.