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Early Reading

Our intent: every child a reader!

We believe that all our pupils should have the opportunity to be fluent, confident readers who are able to successfully comprehend and understand a wide range of texts. We want pupils to develop a love of reading, a good knowledge of a range of authors, and be able to understand more about the world in which they live through the knowledge they gain from texts.

Reading is a vital skill that will support children’s learning across the whole curriculum. The ability to read impacts not just on Literacy skills but on future outcomes. There is a wide range of evidence to prove that the ability to read opens up many opportunities and improves life chances. We do not put ceilings on what pupils can achieve in reading and we do not hold pre-conceptions about any pupils’ ability to make progress. We have a relentless commitment to ensuring that every child will:  

  • have excellent phonic knowledge and skills 
  • be able to read fluently across a wide range of texts with good understanding.
  • develop good reading habits for both pleasure and for the acquisition of knowledge. 
  • have an excellent comprehension of texts.

Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader who drives the early reading programme in our school. This person is highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.

Implementation: how we teach reading in our school

Reading at Clarice Cliff is taught through a holistic approach. Across the whole school, it is taught discretely in Phonics and Reading sessions, as part of our English Cycle and as an integral part of the school day.


We believe all of our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression from Reception, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Co-op Academy Clarice Cliff, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

Foundations for phonics in Nursery

  • We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. These include:
    • sharing high-quality stories and poems 
    • learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
    • activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
    • attention to high-quality language.
  • We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.

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. 
  • Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
  • 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.

Whole Class Reading sessions

Whole class reading takes place in all classes from Y3-6. Whole class reading is based on exposing all children in the class to a high-quality text across a range of genres. These sessions also follow a three-day structure.

Day 1

The focus of the session is vocabulary. Children are taught new vocabulary which they will encounter in the text. In this session, teacher’s model fluent reading to draw out the meaning of the text and children also practise reading the text to build up their own fluency.

Day 2

Teachers teach and model specific skills linked to VIPERS (KS2)/ Reading Dogs (KS1). These cover the key objectives of: vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and

summarising. This session usually focuses on one or two specific objectives. Most lessons will focus on some aspect of retrieval as this is a particular focus across the school.

Day 3

Children independently apply the skills taught in the previous session based on the same objective. (Class teacher & support staff to support groups where necessary). This may require a differentiated extract of text.  As a class, children share and model responses with teacher guidance. All comprehension questions should be differentiated to enable appropriate support and challenge.

English Sessions

At Clarice Cliff, we strongly believe that the development of reading cannot be seen in isolation from speaking and listening and writing. The best readers are the best writers – we read as writers and write as readers! Strategies for writing, speaking and listening/drama therefore form an integral part of our approach. Children will always be immersed in a high quality text during English sessions.  Within the Clarice Cliff English Cycle, a significant amount of time is spent familiarising children with the text and covering a range of reading objectives.Each year group, within the school, has a reading spine which is a collection of books, stories and poems. These are books to use as class reads,  whole class reading texts and recommendations for reading corners or for extracts (taken from them to look at in greater detail). The intention is that by the time they reach year 6 and beyond, they have developed a wide, rich vocabulary and broader knowledge of the world and, as a result, are able to access the more complex books expected of them in secondary schools. It should be noted that book and text selection in school not only considers narratives and poems but also recognises that a good balance of topic-appropriate non-fiction should also be read to help further develop children’s background knowledge of the subject they are studying. 

Phonics Support for parents

The resources on this page will help you support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. There are also some useful videos so you can see how they are taught at school and feel confident about supporting their reading at home. Find our full Reception and Year 1 teaching programme overview here to see what your child will learn and when.

These three videos show you how to pronounce the sounds. Notice how the children don’t add an ‘uh’ sound at the end, so they say: ‘t’ not ‘tuh’. Use the downloadable information to help your child remember how to write their letters and say their sounds.

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These videos show parents how we teach your child specific aspects of phonics in class:

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Reading at home

Parental support is extremely valued at Co-op Academy Clarice Cliff and we recognise the impact it has on children’s progress and attainment in reading. Each pupil has a home school reading planner, that teachers and parents can use to share information about a child’s reading.

Parents are encouraged to read with their child daily. Although children may become more independent in recording their own reading as they move up the school, we still encourage all readers to share a book at home with their grown-ups. 

All children take two books home: 

A Collins Big Cat decodable book – This will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently. This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level based on most recent assessments. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading. Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.

A reading for pleasure/sharing book – Your child will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together. In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together. Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. You can discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters or even explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!

Children across Key Stage 2 will take home their Accelerated Reader book and a reading for pleasure book. As a school, we expect children to read at home 5 times per week and at least 3, where 5 is not possible. Research shows that reading regularly at home has a significant positive impact on children’s development in reading. When children read 5 times per week, this is celebrated in class and the children are given a reward. Reading at home is recorded in our school planners and children are given a bronze, silver of gold sticker at the end of each week to indicate how many times that they have read at home.

Reading for pleasure 

At Clarice Cliff, we place an emphasis on developing reading for pleasure for every pupil.  In addition to the curriculum opportunities for reading, there are also a number of reading for pleasure initiatives throughout the school.  These are:

  • Regular ‘Down Everything and Read’ (DEAR) sessions where the teacher reads aloud to the class, from the book they have chosen that morning from a core group of books allocated to each class.
  • Each child has a decodable book (KS1)/ AR book (KS2) and a Reading for Pleasure Book that they read in school or at home. 
  • Each member of staff has a ‘recommended reads’ poster displayed around the school, which shares teachers’ favourite books with children.
  • Whole school assemblies are used as an opportunity to share quality picture books across the school and to motivate children to borrow and share books they have liked listening to.
  • Various ‘book stops’ and ‘book swaps’ around the school for children to access high quality texts and have time to read for pleasure.
  • Family learning workshops (‘breakfast and books’; ‘1:1 effective reading’; and ‘phonics sessions’) encourage strong home/school links. 
  • Children are encouraged to use the library at lunch times so that they can sit and read with friends or take A.R. quizzes
  • Once per topic (half termly or termly), children visit the library to select a non-fiction book of their choice (this could be related to topic or anything that interests them).
  • The School library will be open to all parents/pupils on selected days to allow them to choose books to take home.

Our School Library 

Our well-stocked school library contains a wide range of non-fiction and fiction texts. All books have individual bar codes allowing our pupils to check them out using the online Junior Librarian System. All pupils are encouraged to take home a book for pleasure as well as a book chosen from their reading ability range using the Accelerated Reader System. 

Our library stocks a good range of Accelerated Reader texts. Pupils take an AR book home along with a book of choice from a wider selection. 

Our pupils are welcome to use the library during lunchtimes. Here they can sit and enjoy reading in the comfortable surroundings of our beautiful library or take their next AR quiz on one of the library computers.

Useful website links

Click below for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds.

Click below for BBC Teach.