Reading and Phonics


The most important skill a child can have is the ability to read independently, confidently and effectively for meaning. If children can’t read effectively they will struggle to manage in all areas of life.

We want to help children to do their best and we appreciate that the support parents can give their children to develop enjoyment from reading is invaluable, and something we are keen to build on in partnership. Reading skills should always be better than other skills (than writing, for example), and we have found that this is not always the case.

By introducing a number of home reading options, which is progressive across year groups, from Nursery to Year 6, we hope to foster a positive attitude to reading, and that the children can begin to read for meaning and pleasure from the very beginning. Over the last two years, we have introduced:

  • Fiction Express
  • Reading Buddies

We continue to use:

  • RWI Ditties and Book-bag books
  • Levelled reading books (and some free-readers)
  • Lexia

All children should try to read for at least 10 minutes every night. We hope that, with your support, we can make this happen. Children also need the experience of reading aloud to develop their confidence, fluency and expression. We ask that children read aloud to an adult at home at least 3 times a week.

All children receive:

  • A reading book
  • A reading record
  • A homework activity linked to reading

Reading Book

Reading books will be changed weekly on a Thursday and must be in school available to read every day.

Children will be expected to have their reading books in school every day. There are daily opportunities to read independently in KS2 and sometimes in KS1. Teachers will plan to hear every child read at least once a week, and in some cases two or three times.

Teachers will keep a record of children who have their books each day. They will use this to encourage children to increase their frequency of reading and improve their independence.

Reading Record

Reading records should be kept with the reading book at all times. Children can record their reading of their school book, and any other reading they do at home. Reading records must be handed in on a Tuesday to be checked for parents’ comments and signatures.

All children know that they are expected to read for 10 minutes every day, and that they should read aloud to an adult or older brother/sister, at least 3 times a week.

We ask that parents/other adults date and make a comment and/or sign the reading record each time to show that their child(ren) have read aloud. Teachers will acknowledge adult signatures each Tuesday when books are handed in to be changed.

Reading Activities (including homework)

Teachers will provide children with an extract and a whole-class activity, or provide children with an activity to complete based on a piece of reading provided.

We appreciate there is a lot of information to take in here! If you have any questions, please see your child’s teacher who will be happy to help.

We thank you for supporting your child’s reading, and helping them to take care of, and bring their books to school.


The curriculum states that ‘All children should be taught phonics systematically’. At Hesleden Primary, in Early Years and KS1, we provide this through Read Write Inc. by Ruth Miskin. Our phonics programme begins in nursery and is carried on throughout school, as part of our wider spelling programme. We aim to make phonics engaging and infectious so children are excited about reading and continue to be throughout their lives.

Phonics begins in nursery, with listening to and experimenting with sounds. In the second half of the autumn term some children in nursery will begin to learn their basic letter sounds (set 1) but this is at the discretion of the teacher and only if the child is ready.

In reception, children continue to develop their phonics and letter formation (sets 1-3) with learning more complex sounds (digraphs and trigraphs). By using interactive games (including Lexia), apps and lots of repetition, they become more confident to read (blend) and write down (segment) their ideas. They write words that are phonetically plausible and spell most of the high frequency words (I, the, no, go, and) correctly.  At the end of Reception, most children are confident to write simple sentences and understand the books they read.

Read Write Inc. continues into Class 2 (Y1 & 2) while children continue to add to their existing phonetic knowledge (set 3) building their confidence in reading comprehension and writing. We want our children at Hesleden Primary to be inspired by books so by the time children enter KS2 they should be confident readers who can talk about what they’ve read and answer questions thoughtfully.

Teachers in KS2 continue to review phonic sounds based on current assessments because, with 26 letters, 44 sounds and over 150 ways to make those sounds up – practice makes perfect! RWI Spelling begins in Y2 once children have completed the RWI programme.

Dr Seuss