Reading & Phonics

‘The more you read, the better you’re going to become as a storyteller.’ - Stan Lee, Marvel Comics

‘The more you read, the more you know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go,’ - Dr Seuss

At Cheadle Catholic Infant School we encourage children to become resilient readers and confident communicators and reading is prioritised to enable all children to access the curriculum.

Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.  We want all children to love reading  and to want to read.

Reading For Pleasure:

At Cheadle Catholic Infant School we acknowledge that one of the most crucial ways of getting children to engage in reading and adopt it as a life long habit is for children to know that it is fun. Therefore, we have chosen to promote ‘reading for pleasure’ at every given opportunity. Throughout the year, children will be given regular opportunities to develop a love of reading such as; listen to books all the way through without interruption, discover new authors and illustrators, share their own favourite books, share books with their parents, see adults enjoying reading as a pleasurable experience, visit the school library, develop their own sense of what they enjoy in a book, dress up, ‘Drop Everything And Read’ and make positive associations between reading books and enjoying themselves. In doing so, we are giving the children the clear message that reading is fun, it is for everyone and it is something that they want to do.

As Mem Fox famously said “When I say to parents ‘Read to a child’, I don’t want it to sound like medicine, I want it to sound like chocolate”

In the same way, we want reading to sound like chocolate, not medicine, to all the children in our school.

Mrs Nelson is our School Librarian. She plans regular and exciting reading challenges, promotes new authors and supports teachers in the teaching of reading in our school. She also organises our school library. We subscribe to the Cheshire Library Service which allows us to borrow new, exciting books to keep the books in our classroom fresh and make sure that we can cater to all tastes- fiction, picture books, chapter books, non-fiction, poetry- and engage all childrenReading & Phonics:

Our consistent and rigorous approach to teaching early reading enables children to master the key skills that research suggests is important early on.

To do this, we follow the Read Write Inc. programme; this sets out a sequence of lessons that teach children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They also learn to form each letter, spell correctly and compose their ideas step-by-step.


“Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.”

Marilyn Jager Adams

The early reading experience alongside the effective teaching of phonics are the main elements in learning to read that are essential in supporting children in their journey to becoming competent readers.

At Cheadle Catholic Infant school we:

  •  Teach children how to decode and understand written language so that they become confident and enthusiastic readers.
  • Use a dynamic approach to teaching phonics that is consistent throughout ability ranges and year groups.
  • Have quality story time every day to enhance language development and the love of stories.
  • Use high quality book corners that are accessible, owned and loved by our children.
  • Use a variety of books to plan for children’s interests and class topics.
  • Value non- fiction and poetry books.
  • Have enthusiastic practitioners who share their love of books with children.
  • Ensure books are available in all areas of the classroom.
  • Ensure there are opportunities for independent reading in all areas of the classroom.
  • Visit the school library often and borrow books to take home and share with parents.
  • Use Tales Toolkit to understand the structure of a story (character, setting, problem, solution.
  • Use the principles and activities linked to DEAL.
  • Ensure there are well planned shared reading sessions that all practitioners are confident to take part in.
  • Plan guided reading sessions in EYFS for children to learn ‘reading behaviours’, for example, the recognition that print conveys meaning, the left to right directionality of English text, the purpose of punctuation.
  • Plan guided reading lessons in KS1 for children to acquire the reading domain skills listed in the national Curriculum (learning and understanding new vocabulary, inference, prediction, explaining, retrieval, and sequencing).
  • Are members of a Library scheme which allows children access to a wide range of books, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry books.
  • Use a wide variety of reading scheme books and on-line rising stars e-books to enable the children to access a range of reading material pitched at their ability level.

Teaching children to read

Our dynamic approach to teaching phonics begins in Nursery and progresses through Reception and into KS1.  We ensure all teaching is consistent, well-paced and systematic so that all children are given every opportunity to become confident and enthusiastic readers.

At Cheadle Catholic Infant school we use the ‘Read Write Inc’ phonics programme to ensure our teaching is robust and comprehensive. Children learn how to hear and read sounds (phonemes) in words and how these sounds can be written down (graphemes).


Nursery children begin by learning to listen. During this phase we begin by encouraging the children to hear environmental, instrumental and body percussion sounds.  This progresses with rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting. This phase is vital because it encourages listening to sounds, hearing sounds, confident speaking, discriminating phonemes, reproducing phonemes audibly and segmenting words into phonemes. This is all completed through fun and exciting games and activities.

Reception and Year 1

As children enter Reception they complete a baseline assessment which gives an indication of the starting point for each child in their phonetic development.

The children are split into ability groups, each group working on a Read Write Inc phase appropriate to their phonetic knowledge and ability. Due to regular assessment, movement is fluid between these groups. This allows each child to develop their knowledge at their own pace.

Phonics is taught on a daily basis using a systematic approach and routine that the children quickly learn.  All children take part in all parts of the lesson. Full participation is gained through partner work and choral response.  Each lesson is between 20 and 40 minutes long and consists of:

  • Learning simple ways of remembering sounds and letters.
  • Practising and repeating sounds and writing letters.
  • Blending and segmenting beginning with simple CVC words, progressing to CVCC and CCVC words and reading longer words and simple sentences.
  • Speedy reading of individual words and repeated reads of shared texts, linked to phonic understanding.
  • Explicit teaching of words that are not phonetically decodable such as ‘the’, ‘said’, ‘one’.  Repetition of reading and writing these words.
  • Activities that support accurate and fluent reading and facilitate comprehension.

In addition, children who are able to blend CVC words take fully decodable Read Write Inc reading books home to practise skills learnt at school.  These are matched by the teacher to ensure that children are reading books of an appropriate level.

The lowest 20% of children in EYFS to Year 2 will receive 1:1 tuition each day tailored to their individual needs.

All children in Year 1 will undertake a phonics ‘screening’ test in June. Children who do not pass this test, or who achieve a low pass will continue to receive daily phonic lessons and 1:1 tuition in Year 2.

Year 2

By Year 2 most children will be reading with a good level of fluency and understanding.  The teaching of reading is still vital and phonic work continues on a daily basis.  Each lesson will include:

  • Speedy reading of individual words and repeated reads of shared texts, linked to phonic understanding.
  • Explicit teaching of words that are not phonetically decodable. Repetition of reading and writing these words.
  • Activities that support accurate and fluent reading and facilitate comprehension.
  • Linking graphemes to spelling patterns.

Encouraging a love of reading.

At Cheadle Catholic Infant school we want all our children to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.

All children and staff take part in weekly DEAR time (Drop Everything and Read).  During this time the focus is simply on finding a comfy spot and reading for pleasure. Parents are invited to some of our DEAR sessions where full participation is expected and enjoyed. All classes have a story case for use by one or two children each week.  They take home the case which includes a chosen book, the class teddy and a sachet of hot chocolate to ensure a relaxing and enjoyable read. We encourage children to bring photos of themselves reading at home or when they are out and about, and to discuss and recommend books to their class, or bring in books from home that might be enjoyable during story time. 

All classes have timetabled visits to the school library which is well stocked with a variety of exciting and interesting texts to enjoy.


The Nursery has an attractive book area where children can select a book from a range of familiar fiction, non-fiction and poetry/rhyming books. Pictures of familiar symbols and logos from our local area are displayed around the room, encouraging the children to develop their pre-reading skills.

Quality story time is a daily occurrence where the children are encouraged to foster a love for books. The teachers model expressive reading and encourage children to join in with familiar stories and rhymes.  We focus on reading familiar stories that include rhyme and alliteration and those that follow a familiar refrain.

Children are introduced to the symbols for Tales Toolkit as a prompt to discuss the characters, setting, problems and solution. This encourages every child to enjoy and discuss the story. The use of drama and role play through our DEAL initiative supports their understanding of story structure.

Simple guided reading sessions focus on how to handle books and comprehension skills, taking clues from the pictures and developing language skills.

Each child takes a library book to share at home with their family. They are encouraged to draw a picture of the story and parents can scribe what their child has said about the story. In the Summer term, the full-time children may begin to take home a reading book (if they are deemed to be ‘reading ready’ by the teacher).


In each classroom there are a wide range of opportunities to apply reading skills, for example: alphabet mats, alphabet charts, name cards placed in the writing corner or in the ICT area, print in the environment, clearly labelled resources and questions on displays and in the Role Play areas. This is also seen in the outdoor environment with signs for role play areas, road signs, reading den and challenge signs. Pictures of familiar symbols and logos from our local area are displayed around the room, encouraging the children to develop their reading skills. Books are available in all areas of the continuous provision within the classroom and in the outdoor environment.

During the first weeks of the Autumn term the children take home a phonics book. The book contains the sounds that the child is currently learning. As the knowledge of sounds develop, CVC words and key words are also included. The book is to share at home and keep parents informed of their child’s development.

Guided reading sessions are planned with a focus such as letter and sound recognition, comprehension skills or developing early reading skills.

The children become familiar with the activities from DEAL and gain confidence in re-telling and acting out familiar stories. They continue to work on the principles of character, setting, problem and solution with ‘Tales Toolkit’ activities.

Through shared reading in school children experience a range of different genres including stories, rhymes, poems and non- fiction. This encourages the children towards independent reading and introduces children to different styles of writing.  They also experience new vocabulary which tunes them in to book language.  Shared reading also provides opportunities for the teacher to model fluent, expressive reading to the whole class and to demonstrate book behaviours, for example directionality of print, examples of CVC words and high frequency words which have been used during phonic sessions.

During the Spring and Summer terms, the children continue to develop their word recognition and language comprehension develops as the children acquire and secure automatic decoding skills. They progress from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ for purpose and pleasure.

The children are encouraged to use their skills during Library time and DEAR time. The children become aware of authors by visiting their local libraries and having visiting authors coming into the classroom. They listen to a variety of genres, for example, non- fiction, poems, taped stories, rhymes etc.

At the end of the Summer term the children have a final phonics assessment which informs their Year 1 teacher which phase they will be starting from in KS1.


All classrooms have an inviting book area which children are encouraged to use as regularly as possible.  This area is always kept orderly and children are taught how to replace books neatly, so they are well looked after and easy for other children to find.

Daily quality story time is essential where staff read with expression and enthusiasm and new words and phrases are discussed.

Environmental print is clear in the classrooms and all areas are well labelled so that resources are easy for children to find. 

Class books used as a focused read for work during English lessons are displayed with new vocabulary that has been discussed.  This is revisited to remind children of the meaning of new words they have learnt. 

Guided reading lessons focus on fluency and expression, as well as the introduction of new vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanations of texts, retrieval, and sequencing.

They continue to use our DEAL initiative regularly within lessons to continue to understand the importance of story structure, setting, characters, drama, plot and descriptive story lines.

The school Reading scheme.

Our reading scheme has a variety of books from Read Write Inc and different publishers covering all genres.  They are all colour book-banded according to levels of difficulty and all teachers are aware of the colour book bands children should be reading within their year group.

Children take home 2 reading scheme books per week to read at home ( one is a Read Write Inc Book Bag  book and the other book is book banded book intended to be shared with parents). Parents are aware that the Read Write Inc reading scheme books should not be too challenging and they are texts that children should be able to read with reasonable fluency and understanding. Read Write Inc books are for practise of sounds, words and sentence structure they have learnt in school.  All teachers monitor the books sent home to ensure children are reading at the appropriate level.




Your child will:

  • Learn to write the letter/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds.
  • Learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (Fred fingers).
  • Learn to write simple, then more complex sentences.
  • Compose stories.

Your child will learn how to:

  • Answer questions
  • Practise every activity orally.
  • Take turns talking and listening to each other.
  • Give positive praise to each other.
  • PACE – no time is wasted during teaching sessions. Children are active and involved in a fun and creative way. The aim is for the children to complete the programme as quickly as possible.
  • PRAISE – teachers praise the children constantly throughout the teaching sessions. Children learn more quickly when they are praised for what they do well, rather than nagged for what they do wrong. The children are encouraged to praise each other.
  • PURPOSE – each activity has a very clear purpose. The teacher will set this purpose at the beginning of the lesson so that the children know exactly what they will be learning.
  • PARTICIPATION – all children take part in all parts of the lesson. Full participation is gained through partner work and choral response.
  • PASSION – as a staff we are passionate about our teaching and the benefits of the Read, Write Inc. programme. We love teaching the sessions and this enthusiasm rubs off onto the children.

The study of English promotes reading as a way of acquiring knowledge and as a way of exploring the world in different ways which enrich children’s understanding.

Children will be immersed in a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry throughout their primary journey. Reading is prioritised to allow access to the full curriculum offer, as it is our belief that reading is a necessity for children as it lays the foundations for many of the skills they will explore on their academic journey.

In order to teach children to develop their reading fluency and comprehension skills further, we believe it is vital that children experience high quality modelling from adults in school.

They are given support where appropriate and the opportunity for independent practice of skills. As a class the areas of development are identified and focused intervention takes place during the lesson.

Shared Reading forms part of the daily phonics lessons and is led by class teachers.  All texts are linked to the child's phonic ability. Children enjoy one focus text per week and learning activities support accurate and fluent reading to facilitate comprehension. 

While your child is learning to read, they will be given a Read Write Inc ‘book bag book’. This book will contain all of the graphemes and words that they have been learning in school and therefore it will be an exciting text that they will be able to read themselves. Reading this book every day with your child will build their confidence and fluency. Sending books home that your child finds difficult to read may hinder their learning and stop them from enjoying their reading journey. Of course, parents or carers can offer some help if needed!

Your child will also be given a ‘reading scheme book’. These books are matched to each child's phonics ability and are closely monitored by teachers to ensure that children are reading books of an appropriate level. Your child may find some words in these books more difficult so reading and discussing these books together is very important.

It is really important that parents or carers listen to their child read every night if possible.

Finally, your child will be given a library book; this book is for the parent or carer to read to the child and it is crucial at helping the child expand their vocabulary and develop their love for reading. This book is not necessarily one that they will be able to read themselves, especially if your child is at the beginning of their reading journey, and they will probably need an adult to read it with them. These books are perfect for sharing as a family, using as a bedtime story or showing to a friend or grandparent and help children to create positive associations with books and reading.

As outlined above, all children will be given two reading books per week plus one school library book and no more.  It is important for parents to understand that ‘racing’ through the reading scheme does not help children to read. Children learn to read well when they enjoy what they are reading, can talk about it, infer, predict and want to read more!! If you feel that your child needs to read more please read favourite books from home or choose books from the local library. The more books children read the better readers and writers they become.

Your child will not receive three new books on the same day each week. Please ensure your child’s reading books are in school every day so that books can be changed and recorded when needed.

Our English curriculum provides many opportunities for writing with real purpose, including poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

Children are actively encouraged to challenge themselves in writing lessons to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of different text types and genres. Across the study of English, children will be exposed to excellent examples of a wide variety of texts, and will be given many opportunities to explore the role of the author.

Across all writing activities, children will be encouraged to enhance and extend their vocabulary, grammatical accuracy, and will develop their ability to construct and manipulate sentences for effect.

The development of spelling, punctuation and grammar is also a key part of our English curriculum, and is embedded within our writing lessons. From letter formation at the beginning of their academic journey, to writing narratives in Year 2, teachers encourage children to have the highest standards in English.

Useful Links

Read, Write, Inc Guidance for Parents

Parent Workshop - Introduction to RWI

Parent Workshop - Sound Pronunciation Guide

What is Phonics?

Read Write Inc Phonics

How to say the sounds

Sound Blending

Why read to your child?

Handwriting Phrases

Online resources available for  Read, Write Inc links:

Ruth Miskin Parents films on YouTube:

Free e-books for home reading:

There are a number of resources available through the BBC website:

Family Learning:

Oxford Owl - - is a free website built to support you with your child’s learning.  You’ll find age-specific reading and maths tips and activities, eBooks, and lots of fun ideas to really bring your child’s learning to life.  You will also find support and advice on a range of questions you may have - including helping your child with their phonics, motivating boys to read and ensuring your child is doing their best in maths.

Bookstart - - This website provides information about the national Bookstart scheme and the Bookstart packs that your child will receive as a baby, a toddler and at age three to four. It also gives information about sharing books with your child. You can find out about Bookstart events in your area, which you can attend with your child.