Reading and Phonics

We follow the National Curriculum: The National Curriculum

Reading Intent

At West Ewell Primary School, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.  

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. We also have a team of teachers known as Reading Ambassadors, who promote a love of reading across the school.  

Reading implementation  

Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week 

In Reception and Year 1 we teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These: 

  • are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children 
  • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids 
  • are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis. 

Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills: 

  • decoding 
  • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression 
  • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.  

In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.  

In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books. 

Home reading 

In Reception and Year 1, decodable reading practice books are taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops. 

In Years 2-6, children have access to a wide range of books as part of our Accelerated Reader programme. These are changed as frequently as needed. Children also make fortnightly visits to our school library to enhance reading for pleasure.  

Our expectations are that children should read for at least ten minutes every day, and this should be recorded in children’s reading records/planners.  

Children from Nursery/Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school. 

As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read. 

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 

Reception and Year 1 

In addition to reading practice sessions which take place 3 times per week, children in the lowest 20% of the class should be heard at least three times a week. Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics keep-up sessions read their reading practice book to an adult daily.  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 2 

Children in Year 2 receive a 1:1 read fortnightly. Children in the lowest 20% of the class should be heard at least three times a week and these children will also have access to reading practise sessions using decodable reading books.  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.  

Key Stage 2 

Children in the lowest 20% of the class should be heard at least three times a week.

Whole Class Guided Reading 

Whole class reading begins in the summer term of Year 1. Each session should focus on a specific reading skill linked to the reading prompts VIPERS (Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve, summarise). These skills should be 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 will often be recorded in reading exercise books with a clear learning objective to help children identify the skill that they are focusing on. 

Our Whole Class Reading Overview


Autumn 1 

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

Year 1 

Reading practice sessions

Reading practice sessions

Prince Cinders by Babette Cole 

Alan's Big Scary Teeth by Jarvis

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 

Reading for Pleasure 

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002) 

‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010) 

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy. Reading is prioritised and highly viable across our school. We have invested in a beautiful library which children are able to visit weekly to access a wide range of texts.   

Reading to our Children  

We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at West Ewell Primary School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures. Every class should have a 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 should 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. In Nursery/Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed. 

Reading Ambassadors  

We have a team of teachers involved in the Open University Teachers’ Reading Group, who actively keep up to date with children’s literature and recommend texts to pupils. Each week a recommendation is placed in our school newsletter to share with parents. 

Special Events  

Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, World Book Day etc).  

Reading Assessment  

Marking and Feedback 

When carrying out 1:1 reading and reading practice groups, teachers should 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. Verbal feedback should be given in each reading lesson, with notes made on the whole class reading record sheet. Work in reading books should be carried out in line with the marking policy. For reading, one piece of work per week recorded in books will be developmentally marked to move the learning forward for each individual. It should focus on the developmental changes that would make the biggest difference to their reading. Evidence of this should be seen in purple pen.  

Formative and Summative Assessment 

Each class should have a reading assessment folder which includes 1:1/reading practice/whole class records, assessment grids, NFER data and Accelerated Reader data.  Judgements on children’s progress should be based on children achieving and demonstrating the statements on the assessment grid. The teacher can then indicate with a tick to show they have achieved this skill or a dot to say it has not been met yet. A blank square will just indicate the skill has not been taught yet. Teacher assessments are based upon children’s progress in phonic knowledge, their ZPD, whole class reading records, children’s work in reading books, individual reads as well as formative assessments such as Star Reading, NFER and SATS.   

Star Reading and Star Early Literacy tests (where appropriate) will take place at the start of the year for benchmarking purposes and then at the end of each half term. Assessment grids should be completed half termly. In EYFS, teachers will closely monitor the learning of tricky words / GPCs and will record assessments each half term. Progress towards the early learning goal for reading will be evidenced using assessment tools on Tapestry.  


Phonics Intent 

At West Ewell Primary School and Nursery, we believe that all 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/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, 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. 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. 

Phonics Implementation  

Phonics is part of our continuous nursery provision and is delivered daily using discrete lessons from reception to year 1. From year 2, children continue to revise their phonic knowledge and begin following our spelling programme of study. Children undertake the statutory phonics screening in year 1. Those who do not reach the expected standard then retake in year 2. Group and 1:1 keep up sessions are provided for children who need additional support.  

Year Group

Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term


Phase 1

Phase 1

Phase 1


Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Year 1

Revision of phase 3

and 4

Phase 5

Phase 5

Phase 5 

Phonics screening check review 

Year 2

Revision of Phase 3/5 

Y2 spelling rules/common exception words 

Group and 1:1 intervention for children who did not pass the Y1 phonics screening check.  

Year 3

Group and 1:1 intervention for children who did not pass Y2 phonics screening retake. 

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.  

Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read 

  • Any child who needs additional practice has daily keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning. 
  • We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace.

Phonics Impact 

Assessment in phonics 

Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it. 

Assessment for learning is used:  

  • daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support  
  • weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings. 

Summative assessment is used: 

  • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need. 
  • by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place. 

Statutory Assessment  

Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2. 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. In March an information meeting for parents is held about the Phonics Screening Check so they know what to expect and how best to support at home. 

Ongoing assessment for catch-up  

Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed through their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as through the half-termly Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised summative assessments. 

Phonics Screening Check Information Slides

Full versions of the spelling lists

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