Eastrop Infant School

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Reading and phonics

Our Subject Leader for Reading and Phonics is Miss Vardy.

Reading at Eastrop 

It is important for every child to develop a life-long enjoyment for books and reading.

We build upon the children’s interests and personalities to expose them to a wide variety of reading genres and authors. In each classroom there is a class book corner which contains a variety of high-quality texts consisting of fiction, non-fiction and poetry from a range of authors. Within our curriculum we ensure that there are many opportunities for children to apply their reading skills across all subjects. This is to make it more meaningful and relevant to the children.

At Eastrop infant school we believe that every child will learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities. Reading is taught and practised individually, in small groups or as a whole class. The children are exposed to a range of stimulating reading materials from their first days at school.

As outlined by the National Curriculum (2014) for KS1 there are two main concepts which underpin our teaching and learning for reading:

  • Word Recognition – Where children decode unfamiliar words by segmenting and blending and recognising and reading High Frequency words and Common Exception Words accurately within a text.
  • Reading Comprehension (listening and reading) – Children show their understanding of what they have read by retelling parts of the text, answering questions about the text and making predictions based on what they have read.

Through our teaching methods, we enhance and develop the children’s skills and strategies necessary to read confidently, fluently, accurately and with understanding.

Reading Books

Children practise reading using fully decodable books that are closely matched to their developing phonic level. We use Collins Big Cat texts as our guided reading and home-school reading texts. The reading books are selected by the teacher and they are closely matched to the phonics programme and are grouped accordingly.

Book Talk and Guided Reading 

In Year 1 and Year 2 the children take part in weekly teacher-led guided reading sessions. In these sessions the children read a variety of texts in small groups to develop their skills in reading fluency and comprehension.  One week focuses on the reading fluency and the following week focuses on the reading comprehension.

While the teacher is reading with their group the rest of the class participate in a book talk activity with the class Learning Support Assistant. The Learning Support Assistant reads a book or part of a book with the whole class and the children complete a reading response activity in their reading journals.

The books chosen for the book talk sessions have been carefully selected by the class teacher to engage the interests and abilities of all pupils. The texts also have a wide variety of rich vocabulary to allow children to be exposed to new words and discover their meanings. 

Home Reading

All children are expected to read regularly at home, and the close partnership we have with our parents is vital to the process of learning to read.  We encourage our children to read at home every day. Every child takes part in the ‘Eastrop Star Reading Challenge’ competition where children are rewarded with reading certificates for every 25 nights they have read. Certificates are awarded for every 25 reads.

Teachers change the children’s reading books once a week using their phonics assessments to determine which book they are sent home with. We believe that re-reading the same book throughout the week builds children’s reading fluency and understanding.

All children also take a book of their choice home each week to encourage reading for pleasure. The children choose books from the class book corners or our new garden library.

Click the links for Star Reading Challenge letters for each Key Stage.

Key Stage One Home Reading Star Challenge letter

Foundation Stage Home Reading Star Challenge letter

Whole Class Reading Aloud

All children will hear a wide variety of texts being read to them daily so they can apply storytelling skills within their reading.   Every class has a dedicated whole class story time once a day for 20 minutes.

Children make excellent progress with their reading because they read frequently, independently and with adults.

Classrooms and the reading garden are full of interesting books and other texts for pupils to enjoy. This inspires pupils to read. Pupils talk fondly of book talk and enjoy the challenges that new vocabulary brings.

Ofsted, July2022


We believe that phonics is at the heart of learning to read and spell. At Eastrop, we use nationally recognised ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ to teach synthetic phonics. 

Children are taught phonics everyday for 20 minutes to ensure they make excellent progress with their reading, speaking and writing. In these lessons children are taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sounds they represent. Children then start to read words by segmenting (splitting up) the sounds and blending (connecting) the sounds together.

Leaders prioritise reading. From the moment children start in Nursery, there is an emphasis on developing their language skills and introducing early letter and sound recognition . Children encounter songs, rhymes and stories that widen and support their vocabulary development. Phonics teaching continues when children enter Reception. Books match the sounds children are learning. 

Ofsted, July 2022


We have created a progression document to show how the teaching of Reading changes and evolves from Nursery to the end of KS1 (ages 2-7)

Please click this link to see our Progression document for reading and phonics. 

 Useful Websites 

Please note that the links below will take you to external content on websites owned and developed by other people. 

Teach Your Monster to Readgames that’s help children learn to read.

Letters and Sounds – games and activities linked to each phonic phase.

Phonics Play -  games and activities linked to each phonic phase. 

BBC Bitesize - activities for children in Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) 

Mr Thorne Does Phonics – YouTube phonic sessions with Geraldine the Giraffe.