• Eastrop Infant School is very proud to be part of Grove Learning Trust

Phonics and Reading

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 (for Letters and Sounds) 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 Reading Challenge’ competition where children are rewarded with reading certificates for every 25 nights they have read. Certificates are awarded at our weekly celebration assemblies.

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.

Whole Class Reading Aloud

All children will hear a wide variety of texts being read to them daily so they can apply storyteller 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.

Teachers are carefully matching books to pupils’ reading ability and, with effective staff and volunteer support, pupils are regularly heard to read books at the right level for their abilities. Pupils capably use their knowledge of phonics and picture clues to read common but tricky words and have clear strategies for reading unknown words.

Ofsted, March 2016

 Phonics

We believe that phonics is at the heart of learning to read and spell. At Eastrop, we use the nationally recognised ‘Letters and Sounds’ approach to teaching 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.

The proportion of pupils who achieve the standard in the Year 1 phonics check has continued to improve because leaders have adapted the organisation to ensure that pupils in Year 1 and Year 2 can access phonics teaching that is more closely aligned to their needs and abilities. As a result of this planning, teachers are maximising pupils’ knowledge and skills in reading. 

Ofsted, March 2016

 Useful Websites 

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

Letters and Sounds – games and activities linked to each key phase 

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

Jolly Phonics on YouTube– demonstration of correct pronunciation of phonemes 

Mr Thorne Does Phonics – lots of YouTube phonic sessions 

Phonics Play - with lots of interactive games and activities linked to each key phase.