Early Reading

How do we prioritise reading?

Each of our KS1 classrooms has a reading corner where pupils can sit comfortably during the day to read a book. Books are rotated regularly by staff to match the class topic and pupils’ interests. KS2 have topic books available for children to peruse.

We have a KS1 and a KS2 Library; both stocked with comfortable furniture that the children can recline on to read books.

Our Year Six Librarians work their socks off, to ensure both Libraries are eternally spick and span!

Our Libraries are stocked full of high quality, and up to date, texts that are aimed to satisfy a range of interests and to celebrate diversity in areas such as BAME, neurologically diverse, physical disability, medical conditions, learning difficulties, real life heroes and medical conditions.

We enjoy a healthy, collaborative relationship with the West Sussex Schools Library Service, which insures an abundance of vibrant, attractive and appealing selection of permanent books to stock both of our libraries. In addition to this, we partake in a monthly exchange scheme, which allows us to pinpoint and select a more precise selection of books, dependent on specific curriculum needs. The SLS also offer an even more specialised Topic Loan Service, when a more refined, customised selection of reading and research material is required.

We encourage, and inspire all children to choose, take, and read, a mixture of Fiction and Non Fiction books at home.

We endeavour to use books and high quality texts to enrich our learning and provide access to a range of genres. This is carefully planned into our Long-term Reading and Writing Curriculum Statements for the entire school.

To encourage reading at home, we reward pupils with certificates relating to their number of recorded reads. Certificates are distributed during our weekly Celebration Assemblies, to celebrate 50, 100, 150 and 200 reads!

Guided Reading sessions take place in Y1 to Y6 every day.

As a school, we use and follow the VIPERS Reading Scheme, which focuses on the six main reading skills, or content domains; Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval, and Sequencing in KS1, or Summarising in KS2.

In EYFS and KS1, we aim to listen to hear each child read at least once a week. KS2 pupils who are not reading frequently at home or who find reading difficult are also heard individually to read at school.

Bug Club Phonics is followed at EYFS and KS1. Y2 pupils who have progressed onto phase 6 phonics continue to learn to read and spell words through the Year 2 spelling curriculum.

In Reception and Y1, Phonics is taught every day.

Daily lessons last 30 minutes in Y1, and 75 minutes in Reception.

In order to maintain consistency, we ensure that all Phonics lessons follow a four step pattern; Revision, Introduction, Practice and Application.

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

The continuing goal is that children are able to decode and read familiar words automatically, whilst also be able to decode and use their phonic skills to read any and all unfamiliar words mechanically.

Pupils who are learning phonics in EYFS and KS1 take books home: A Bug Club reading book as a decodable book and a library book as a book to be read for pleasure.

In Y2, able readers are encouraged to move on to our KS2 reading scheme; Pearson’s Progress and Assess, which tailors each book to a child’s specific needs and abilities to support and enhance their developmental reading skills at an appropriate level.

How do we promote a love of reading?

All staff are supported and assisted in becoming expert readers, when modelling reading skills, discussing texts read with the pupils and sharing their own love of reading.

Teachers help the children to choose books and try new authors who they may not otherwise have tried.

At three o’clock across the school, all 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.

Guided 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. All books distributed will match the individual talents and requirements of each and every developing reader.

We encourage pupils in each class to share their love of reading, and recommend any truly loved texts to their classmates, or even beyond!

For World Book Day, we celebrate books as a whole school.

How do we make sure pupils make progress?

Phonics is taught following the Bug Club progression of sounds, which is itself aligned to Letters and Sounds, to ensure a synthetic, systematic approach. Phonics sessions follow the same sequence of teach, practise, revise, review and apply. Planning includes assessment for the graphemes taught. Continual assessment, both summative and formative, is used to identify gaps in learning to inform future planning and intervention.

We ensure all children participate in the shared introductory teaching of each and every new sound, but following on from that stage, we endeavour to attend to any and all misconceptions or misunderstandings.

Guided Reading takes place from Year 1 to Year 6. The sessions are carefully planned and provide opportunity for pupils to read independently, as part of a group which is adult led and to develop comprehension skills.

VIPERS allows and provides a clear progression of reading skills from Year 1 to Year 6 against which pupils’ progress is measured and gaps are noted and acted on.

Once gaps are noticed, we aim to act upon them straight away.

To this end, we use the online platform Lexia; a child led teaching scheme which offers and delivers a bespoke and personalised learning experience, as driven by the child’s abilities, and choices, during various online reading exercises and comprehension activities.

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.

We assist parents with supporting reading by providing parents meetings, information on the website and letters, and documents, both sent home.

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

Pupils are assessed daily in phonics as well as at the end of every unit using Phonics Tracker. Assessment then informs which books match to the pupil’s phonic ability.

All phonics books dispensed in Reception and Y1, will all revisit and test familiar sounds already covered and learned within the classroom set up.

Staff in Reception and KS1 are responsible for changing and or checking the pupil’s reading books. Pupils who are learning phonics in EYFS and KS1 take home two books: A Bug Club reading book as a decodable book, and share with an adult; and a library book as a book to be read to for pleasure. Once children reach the end of the progression of decodable Bug Club phonics books, they will move on to Pearson Progress and Assess books, and a library book.

As their reading journey begins in Reception and Y1, all children read books that are matched to sounds that they have already worked on, can already identify, and decode, read and understand. As the journey progresses within Y2 and beyond, we still offer this personalised, bespoke approach, which is dependent on individual ability and strength. This approach is particularly applicable to some of our SEND and EAL children.


We monitor progress in reading and phonics then match their ability to the correct books. This is done through notes from Guided Reading, from teachers hearing pupils read individually and their work in phonics sessions. Staff monitor and check that these books are changed regularly. Staff will move them onto the next stage when they are confident they have mastered the skills of the stage.

Pupils in EYFS and KS1 have their books changed, when they have demonstrated a full literary understanding of the book’s contents and all related comprehension features and factors.

It is encouraged for books to be read multiple times to enable and assist within this discipline, but fully acknowledged that some children may only need to read certain books once or twice.

Guided Reading books are also selected carefully to challenge the reading of different groups of pupils in school and to satisfy a range of genre types. The suggested Guided Reading books for every year group are presented, listed and detailed in our whole school Reading Curriculum Statement.

How do we teach phonics from the start?

Phonics teaching begins with our youngest pupils from the time they join us in Reception 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 Reception. Following the Bug Club system, pupils are immersed in a directed teaching approach which embeds systematic phonics skills as the core skills for reading. Sounds are taught in a specific order, and regular assessment informs future planning and interventions.

To support the learning in school, pupils take home decodable phonics books that match the sounds they have learned each week. Online tasks, activities, and eBooks are also set within the Bug Club online platform, that can be accessed and navigated from home.

How do we support pupils to catch up?

As soon as practically possible, we aim to identify all children at risk of falling into the lowest 20% of each cohort for phonics, by completing regular assessments and tracking their progress, by using Phonics Tracker, and formative assessment.

If a child is deemed as falling into this category, we administer and arrange the following:

Simple but effective continuous assessment, both informal and more formal

Regular progress reviews for all children

Methods of informal support understood by all teachers and learning support assistants, and implemented as soon as necessary.

Systems for formal support clearly established and implemented as soon as necessary

Plans and materials for effective support readily to hand and taught well.

Each unit is assessed summatively using Phonics Tracker.

Assessments help teachers identify next steps for teaching.

Gaps, patterns, and trends, can be immediately identified on Phonics Tracker to help identify children who need urgent additional support.

Same-day interventions including group and individual Keep-up sessions.

Regular monitoring of the impact of interventions

All staff trained in delivering Bug Club Phonics, key terminology and practices.

Phonics embedded within all subjects, within Reception and Y1, whilst also being supported throughout the wider school.

Summative data is submitted once a term and pupil progress analysis is taken from this.

Pupils identified by class teachers and in pupil progress meetings as not making progress have interventions planned for them and teaching staff are aware of who is a priority for intervention/support.

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

Pupils who do not pass their phonics check at the end of Y1, receive interventions (daily reader/extra phonics support) and/or work in a group which is teacher driven. Covid Catch-up funding is used to enable and administer this aspect of our provision.

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.

How do we train staff to be reading experts?

Teaching staff, including Learning Assistants, receive reading and phonics training as and when required. This may be a specific focus on the SDP or a personal target identified in performance management or specific training as identified by staff. This may include in-house training or external training depending on the needs of the staff.

The Head teacher and subject lead monitor guided reading sessions and conduct pupil conferencing to ensure agreed approaches and consistency are applied across the school.