Phonics and Reading

Reading at Highfields Primary Academy

Reading is one of our school priorities and therefore we invest time and commitment in to reading to ensure that our children can succeed. We have recently refurbished our library and invested in over five thousand pounds worth of books and purposeful furniture. We open our library every lunchtime to all pupils and this is led by our young leaders. We believe that no child should leave our school without being able to read and recognise how important this skill is to succeed in life.

What does Reading look like within our Academy?

EYFS and Phonics

In Foundation Stage, pupils are introduced to reading through Phonics. Initially this begins in Nursery when children learn to discriminate sounds and earn hat sounds are. This is taught through DfE Letters and Sounds phase 1. We then progress to phase 2 when children are ready and this teaches the children to read quickly and skilfully. Phonics teaching follows a simple process:

  • First recognising the sound each letter makes.
  • Next identify the sounds a combination of letters makes.
  • Finally blend these letter sounds from left to right to make a word.

Phonics will continue in to year one where children will learn about alternative spellings for a sound and some basic spelling rules to help to become accurate writers. Children who continue to need phonics beyond year 1 will have this and we also run Toe by Toe intervention to support reading development 1:1.

We follow Letter and Sounds throughout school to teach phonics and pupils work through phases 1-5. Pupils are tested in phonics in Year 1 and for those whom need to be retested, this is done in Year 2.

There are lots of activities you can do at home with your child to help with early reading and writing. For some ideas please see our leaflets below.

For more information on phonics please visit the DfE website.

Guided Reading

Pupils continue to develop their reading skills through carefully planned and purposeful daily guided reading sessions. Every child works within a group led by either a teacher, HLTA or LSA. Pupils read with the same adult all week to ensure consistency and a build-up of skills over a series of days. The adults are then rotated on a weekly basis. The level of text accessed in these sessions is called ‘instructional.’ This means it is just above the level your child is fluent at reading. Within these sessions children will also compete reading comprehension activities and learn the skills needed to be able to find and retrieve information from a text.

The academy uses a variety of books when reading at school, including Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby Star and Collins schemes. All books are banded according to the curriculum and include fiction and nonfiction texts. 

Following this system for guided reading has proved to be a huge success at Highfields and we have seen the progress in reading increase significantly across school. The pupils have also commented how they find this process of reading supportive and helpful and that they enjoy the daily reading sessions.

Home Readers

The Academy mainly follows the Oxford Reading Tree book scheme, however we do have Phonics books within our selection too. Pupils are given a reading book to take home each night and return to school every morning with their planner. In EYFS and Key stage 1, parents are expected to listen to their child read and sign the planner daily. In key stage 2 children are expected to read daily, however we acknowledge that this may sometimes be independently as well as to adults. The home reading book level is the level your child is comfortable with. This is intended to improve your child’s fluency and expression when reading. Highfields book bags are available to buy from reception. Oxford Reading Tree have a great website which you can use if you would like to do some additional reading activities at home with your child.

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