The teaching of reading at Scole School

Learning to read in Class 1

During the first half of the Autumn term the children in Class 1 start our phonics programme. Phonics involves learning letter sounds and shapes, hearing and saying the sounds in words in the correct order as well as being able to read and write the 44 phonemes or sounds in the English languageWe teach the children by using ‘Jolly Phonics’ and ‘Letters and Sounds’ which some of the children may have started at nursery or pre-school. Once your child has learnt some of the 44 phonemes, for example s, a, t, p, I, n they will be taught how to blend these together to read simple words.

Words which cannot be blended are called ‘Tricky Words’ for example, I, to, no, go and the. We will send these words home so that you can practice them with your child.

In the Autumn term your child will come home from school with a ‘reading’ book. Initially the children’s reading books will not have words in them so that your child can learn to use the pictures to tell a story. This is a very important reading skill which helps the children to develop their vocabulary and supports their story language. Once your child is beginning to apply their phonic knowledge to blend sounds together to read words, we move them onto levelled reading books. We use a variety of different reading schemes but all are levelled into colour bands according to their ease of reading.

In addition to phonics, your child will also start learning comprehension skills, understanding story sequences, structure, language and characters. They will also look at different types of texts: story, information and poetry. Your child will become more familiar with how a book works; that the words carry meaning and that we read from left to right and from top to bottom.

In Class 1 the teaching and practice of reading takes place in a variety of ways:

Shared reading where the teacher shares a book with the children and models good reading practise to the whole class.

Guided reading where a group of children sit with the teacher who teaches them specific reading skills.

Individual reading practice might be with the teacher, teaching assistant or a parent helper.

Once the children begin to blend letters to read words, they can begin to say the sounds needed to write simple words and are encouraged to have a go at this from early on. Your child will start to write simple sentences, to form letters correctly and to begin to notice punctuation marks and to use them.

We send reading books home along with a reading diary for you to contribute to. Sharing a book at home is very important as it helps children to develop their understanding of story structure and it develops their language skills and familiarises children with handling books.


The primary method of teaching reading in Class Two is through our daily 25 minute phonics sessions (differentiated groups) where children are taught to use their phonics knowledge to decode words alongside the teaching of common exception words and word families. Most children are in a guided reading group and are involved in a guided reading session led by an adult once a week. We also aim to listen to children read individually on a weekly basis where possible. We do whole class shared reading of texts on the IWB or from books under the visualiser. All reading includes opportunities for children to demonstrate their understanding of what they are reading through verbal comprehension questioning; once they reach an appropriate level of independent reading the children work on specific comprehension activities in the comprehension text books (sorry can’t remember what they are called). The children are also actively encouraged to read for pleasure in our Reading Garden and through the variety of books that are linked to our topic and displayed (stored) by our topic table.

Reading is taught in a variety of ways in Class 3. The main focus of reading by Lower Key Stage 2 is comprehension, although for those pupils who need additional support with phonic knowledge and fluency we offer several interventions. These include Literacy Toolbox which helps with general reading, and the Catch Up and Sound Discovery schemes which focus more closely on phonics. Both Catch Up and Sound Discovery are delivered by an adult in small groups, with additional opportunities for the children to work at home online on the Catch Up program. As a whole class we do lots of shared reading across the curriculum using texts on the interactive whiteboard as well as class books; concentrating on the key skills of retrieval, inference and deduction while also considering the effect on the reader and encouraging the children to voice opinions about the texts. We encourage volunteers into class to listen to readers