Reading and Phonics

We follow the National Curriculum: The National Curriculum


Reading at West Ewell Primary School is taught through firstly giving children the building blocks they need in their phonic knowledge to decode books and read for pleasure. Our carefully planned individual reading programme, offers children access to books at the right phonic and interest level for their needs. Once children have developed fluency and independence in text selection, they are able to move onto Accelerated Reader which motivates and improves comprehension skills. Whole class guided reading, using the VIPERS approach immerses all children in a high-quality text. Reading lessons teach specific reading skills linked to the reading prompts VIPERS (Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve, Summarise). These skills are taught against the assessment statements for each year group.


Most children begin to choose reading books to take home from Reception, however, those who are ready, will take home books from Nursery. This is in response to each child’s needs. Children in Reception begin taking books home in October following an information workshop for parents. They are given a mixture of picture books from the first colour band (pink); some are wordless and some have a few repetitive words. They are also given word cards (a mix of decodable cvc words and 'tricky' words) and sound cards to take home to practise. Once children are secure in phase 2 phonics, teachers then begin sending home 1 decodable phonic book (linked to each child's individual phonic knowledge) and 3 colour band books.  

Children in Reception are listened to once a week. Children who need additional support in reading are heard twice a week. During individual reading sessions, adults record pink comments to highlight what the child has done well and green comments to identify next steps. Comments are recorded in the child’s reading record to inform parents and carers of their child’s progress. Word and sound cards are reviewed regularly, and children are given the next sets when they are ready to progress.  

Key Stage 1/2 

Children in year 1 take home 1 phonic book and 3 colour band books to read each week. The phonic book is selected by the teacher, whilst the colour band books provide children with a range of choice. Phonic books are closely matched to the phonics being taught in class and are in line with each child’s decoding skills.  

Accelerated Reader: 

What is Accelerated Reader?

Accelerated Reader (AR) is a computer program that helps teachers to manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at his/her own level and reads it at his/her own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer - passing the quiz is an indication that your child has understood what has been read.

Most children begin using the Accelerated Reader programme in year 2, however, those that are ready are introduced to it in year 1. All children begin by undertaking a baseline Star Reading test which gives their reading level/ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development).  Children choose books within their ZPD and complete an online quiz within 48 hours of reading the book.

How can I help my child?

As with anything, performance improves with practise. According to Renaissance Learning’s research, children who read for at least 20 minutes a day with a 90% comprehension rate on AR quizzes see the greatest gains. Encourage your child to read at home, discuss books, ask questions about what they have read and visit your local library.

Visit AR Bookfinder at to conduct a search of all available books with AR quizzes.

Below is a parent guide to Accelerated Reader:

Accelerated Reader - What Parents Need to Know

1:1 reading 

Key Stage 1 

Children in Key Stage 1 are listened to fortnightly. Children who need additional support are heard at least once a week. During individual reading sessions, adults record pink comments to highlight what the child has done well and green comments to identify next steps. Comments are recorded in the child’s reading record and the class reading file. Year 1 and 2 common exception words are reviewed regularly. 

Key Stage 2 

Children in Key Stage 2 receive an in depth 1:1 read at least once a half term. Comments are recorded in the children’s planner. Children who need additional support in reading are heard at least once a week.

Whole Class Guided Reading 

Whole Class Reading sessions enable all pupils to engage with high quality texts appropriate for their age and interests. Starting in Year 1, each session focusses on a specific reading skill linked to the reading prompts VIPERS (Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve, Summarise). These skills are pitched against the assessment statements for each year group and should be explicitly taught i.e. reinforcing the teaching points and steps to success to achieve this. Tasks are recorded in reading exercise books with a clear learning objective to help children identify the skill that they are focus on.

Vipers is a range of reading prompts based on the 2016 reading content domains found in the National Curriculum Test Framework documents which can be found online here: 

Our Whole Class Reading Overview

Whole Class Reading Programme of Study  

We currently follow the Department of Education approved document “Letters and Sounds”. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be progressive from Nursery up to Year 3 as well as allowing children’s listening and speaking skills to develop.


Autumn 1 

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

Year 1 

Individual reading 

Individual Reading  

Prince Cinders by Babette Cole 

Year 2 

The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson 

Toby and the Great Fire of London by Margaret Nash and Jane Cope 


Superdad’s Day Off by Phil Earle and Steve May 


Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker 


The Magic Finger by 

Roald Dahl 


The Monster Crisp-Guzzler by Malorie Blackman and Sami Sweeten 


Year 3 

 Varjak Paw by S.F Said 

Krindlekrax by Philip Ridley 

Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve 

Year 4 

Street Child by Berlie Doherty  

Beasts of Olympus by Lucy Coats 

Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo 

Year 5 

Roman Quests by Caroline Lawrence 


Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo 

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson 

Year 6 

Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll 

Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman 


The Explorer by Katherine Rundell 

Class Books

Every class has class book that is a quality text, appropriate for the year group. The class book should be displayed. Book talk and discussion is encouraged to develop the children’s understanding of the text. 

Reading areas 

All classes have access to an inviting reading area with interesting displays. These may include an interactive element where children can add recommendations/book reviews. These may be in classrooms or in the corridor between classes. 

Reading Assessment  

Marking and Feedback 

When carrying out 1:1 reading, teachers use pink pen in children’s reading records / planners to record what the child has done well and green pen to inform the child and parent/s of next steps. Children also receive verbal and written feedback in their reading lessons.


Children are continually assessed in their reading progress. Using observations and evidence from 1:1 and whole class reading, teachers carefully monitor each child’s progress against end of year assessment criteria and keep records of when skills have been met. In EYFS, teachers will closely monitor the learning of key words / phonic sounds and will record assessments each half term. Progress towards the early learning goal for reading will be evidenced using assessment tools on Tapestry.  In KS1 and 2, teachers also use formal assessments including NFER tests from Year 1 as well as Star Early Literacy Assessments and Star Reading Assessments. This wide range of evidence enables teachers to monitor progress and plan for next steps in a child’s reading journey.


Programme of Study for Phonics 

We follow the Department for Education approved framework “Letters and Sounds”, supplemented with resources from Jolly Phonics and Twinkl. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be progressive from Nursery up to Year 3 as well as allowing children’s listening and speaking skills to develop.

Year Group

Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term


Phase 1

Phase 1

Phase 1/2


Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Year 1

Phase 5

Revision of phase 3 and 5

Y1 spelling rules and common exception words

Year 2

Revision of Phase 3/5 

Phase 6 including Y2 spelling rules and common exception words

Year 3

Revision of all phases and spelling rules for children who did not pass the Y1 Phonics Screening Check or the Y2 retake

Weekly individual and group work and interventions (for example, use of Wordshark)

In Year 1 children split by ability across the year group for phonics. Priority is given to the teaching of all the phase 5 sounds before concentrating on the spelling rules so that all children have had exposure to the sounds they need in the Phonic Screening Check.

Assessment in Phonics 

Children are assessed at the end of each phase of teaching; this is recorded on Phonics Tracker and is shared with the next teacher as children move up the school.   

Children requiring extra support are peeled from the lower group after the teaching part of the phonics lesson to ensure that all are exposed to the new learning and so that the gap doesn't widen. In addition, phonics interventions are carried out daily during assembly times or during the afternoons if an HLTA is available. 

A phonics screening rehearsal is carried out mid-year, individually outside the classroom, and feedback on what to practise is given to parents via the reading record book. Intervention groups will then change to include targeting those who did not pass but with an extra push could. This also informs future planning as we can plug gaps that have become apparent.

Phonic errors are also picked up in books during writing sessions; for example if a child who is working comfortably within phase 5 spells a split digraph word incorrectly it would be targeted with green pen alongside the spelling of the common exception words. 

In March, we hold an information meeting for parents about the Phonics Screening Check so they know what to expect and how best to support at home. 

Phonics Screening Check Information Slides

In Reception and KS1, a progressive scheme of decodable books is in place so that all children take a book that matches their phonic sounds home to read (or have access to via an ebook). The children will still choose from the book band boxes each week but will also be given a decodable book during their individual reading session with the teacher.

Full versions of the spelling lists

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