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Reading and Phonics


At Cherry Hinton Primary School we value reading as a crucial life skill. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose. We want children to become confidentfluent readers who use reading as a tool to explore the wider world and further their own learning journey. We also aim for them to develop a lifelong love of literature so that throughout their lives children can use books as a means of escapism, relaxation and pure enjoyment. Throughout school we have a strong focus on language development and vocabulary acquisition which supports reading and writing in all subjects.




    We follow the phonics programme Little Wandle. Further information can be found here;  Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, 

    Children learn to read  by:

    • Using phonics as the only route to decoding.
    • Learning to say the phonic sounds.
    • Blending phonic sounds to read words.
    • Increasing the child’s fluency in reading sounds, words and books.

    At Cherry Hinton Primary School, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. Early reading and writing is taught through phonics using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. In phonics children learn to DECODE text so they are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. Children in the nursery start the foundations to phonics with sound and listening games and in Reception they begin the Little Wandle programme and continue into Year 1. Children have access to fully decodable books at home on big cat books.




      At Cherry Hinton Primary we are committed to every child becoming a reader. Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load. We have a Reading Leader who drives the reading programme in our school, monitors and supports our reading team to identify gaps in learning and helps to plan next steps for those who need additional support.

      Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1   

      • We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day.  In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible.  Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
      • 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 Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.   

      Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read

      • Any child who needs additional practice has keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult.  
      • We give phonics lessons to any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screen Check. We assess to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these.
      • If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps.

      Teaching reading in Reception and year 1:  

      • We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. 
      • Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
        • decoding
        • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
        • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
      • In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books, building their fluency.


      Parents and early reading at home        

      We encourage parents and carers to read with their child daily.

      Children from Reception onwards have a home reading record.  The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.

      Each week children will have:

      1. A fully decodable ebook assigned per week on the big cat Collins website for child to read. You will have been given your log in and information sheet by your child’s teacher. This is a book for them to practise their fluency and work on closely matched phonics.

      2. Another book which is for pleasure and for sharing- it is vital that children experience a wide range of other quality children’s books that are either read to or with them. These books play an essential role in developing a love of reading.

      Research shows that reading books to your child has a major impact on their future reading ability.



      Continuing the reading journey beyond phonics

      We have a special reading skills character called

       D E R I C  (Decode, Explain, Retrieve, Interpret, Comment) who helps us remember the skills needed to be a successful reader.

      Stories, poetry and non-fiction texts are read in all classes to inspire, educate, challenge and stimulate children’s love of reading and there are opportunities to read for pleasure throughout the school week. Teachers use engaging, language-rich  texts as a starting point for writing which support our constant pursuit of building children's vocabulary.

       Fluency and our DERIC skills (Decode, Explain, Retrieve, Interpret, Comment) are explicitly taught during group and whole-class reading sessions. Children are challenged to apply their reading skills in story time and in other curriculum areas.

      Children enjoy using our school library, they visit the local library and take part in National reading celebration days such as World Book Day and National Poetry Day. We also hold an annual Book Week where staff, children, visiting authors and parents share their knowledge and love of books.


      Teaching reading in Year 2- Year 6

      • Dedicated reading skills lessons are taught at least three times a week in addition to daily reading opportunities to develop fluency.
      • Reading lessons focus on fluency and comprehension skills (DERIC). Teachers explicitly model fluency and  comprehension strategies by using "think alouds".
      • Reading lessons may be linked with the class novel or linked to another curriculum area.
      • Reading may continue to be taught in groups depending on the needs of the cohort.


      Reading at home for more fluent readers

      Parents/carers are encouraged to continue to read with their children daily or talk about what they have read.

      We provide lists of recommended books for each year group (see below), to add to the variety of quality texts children will encounter in their lessons.

      Children choose a school book from a selection of books guided by the teacher (or a book from home approved by the teacher) which they will read in class and at home.  Children are expected to read at home daily as part of their homework.

      Children have a reading record where parents can comment. As children progress through the school, they are encouraged to keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.


      Reading Recommendations



       Children approach reading confidently, armed with these essential reading skills which have been consistently developed and revisited in their primary reading journey. These skills allow learners to truly read for pleasure and gain a never-ending enjoyment of books. In addition to this, learners understand that these reading skills are utilised across the curriculum in a range of subjects. They know that these skills are used regularly in life to help us gain an understanding of our world.

      Assessment in Phonics
      Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child who needs additional support as soon as they need it.

      • Assessment for learning is used:
        • daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
        • weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings
      • Summative assessment 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.

      Statutory assessment

      • Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check.  Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.

      Assessment of reading beyond Phonics

      • Assessment for learning is used:
        • weekly within class reading lessons
      • Summative assessment is used:
        • every half -term using Rising star or SATS papers to identify gaps in learning, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the support that they need. NFER reading comprehension are used at the beginning and end of the year to assess progress
      • Statutory assessment 

              Children in year 2 and year 6 sit SATS tests in May.