Reading & Phonics Scheme

This is a statement of the principles and strategies for the teaching of reading and synthetic phonics at Gaskell Primary School. This policy should be read in conjunction with other English related policies, other teaching and learning and assessment policies.


At Gaskell Primary School, we aim to develop the full potential of all our pupils as confident, literate readers and writers. We aim to teach the children to read fluently and accurately and to develop skills that promote understanding and interpretation of texts to support the curriculum. We use a wide range of material and our home-school reading scheme is graded using the colour-coded book-band system. The main core of the scheme is Oxford Reading Tree but this is well supplemented with other material to ensure a variety of engaging texts is available to all children.

Phonics Reading is the key that unlocks the whole curriculum so the ability to efficiently decode is essential. Read, Write, Inc. is our phonics scheme where daily sessions are taught in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 classes. In Key Stage 2 daily phonics/spelling sessions are timetabled into the curriculum to ensure continuity and progression. Regular homework and weekly spellings are set to reinforce and develop the phonics skills taught in school. Any pupil who requires any additional teaching of phonics within KS2, or is new to the school, will receive appropriate intervention.

The principles of the Read, Write, Inc. Phonics Programme

Read, Write, Inc. Phonics is an inclusive literacy programme for all children learning to read. It is a full teaching programme proven to develop: fluent, enthusiastic readers, confident speakers and keen writers Children are taught to: learn to read and write letter-sound correspondences quickly, decode effortlessly, apply skills of phonemes in order to read words, read high frequency works that do not conform to regular phonics patterns, spell and handwrite, comprehend what they read, read with fluency and expression,  write confidently using oral rehearsal and work effectively with a partner to articulate their learning at every step

 All adults in Gaskell Primary School who support learning are trained in the Synthetics Phonics Programme. Rationale

Intervention and Support

Any pupil who is identified as not making expected progress within Key Stage 1, receives additional support and intervention using the Read, Write Inc. phonics programme. This includes one-to-one or small group support, addressing identified misconceptions to differentiated groups for daily phonics sessions.  To ensure all pupils’ within KS2 make appropriate progress in reading and writing, we use the Read, Write, Inc. intervention programme. The emphasis on this programme is placed on the regular practice of assisted blending to support children from reading isolated sounds to blending words.  In addition to this intervention, we offer an alternative Read, Write, Inc. programme; Fresh Start. This regularly structured intervention for KS2 pupils uses a proven phonics-based approach.

Tracking and Assessment

During daily sessions of phonics there are opportunities for practitioners to regularly assess children’s understanding of grapheme-phoneme (letter sound) correspondences. Outside the discrete daily phonics sessions there are opportunities to observe the application of phonic skills, e.g. during guided/ shared reading. During each half term Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and individually identified Key Stage 2 children are assessed using the Read, Write Inc. assessment. Following the analysis of these assessments, children are grouped accordingly.   At Gaskell Primary School, we use a phonic progress tracking sheet which provides an overview of children’s progress through the phonic stages and groups are reviewed regularly.  Regular monitoring of the tracking sheet will allow teachers and practitioners to ensure that all children are making expected progress, including children in the most vulnerable groups. This is also used to identify children who are not making expected progress and therefore early intervention can be put in place. It is important to remember that boundaries between the stages should not be seen as fixed and it is possible that some children will be introduced to the next stage graphemes whilst reinforcing the stage before.

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

Nationally, every Year 1 child in the summer term will take a Phonics Screening Check. This is a phonics-based check where children will be expected to read 40 simple, decodable words including nonsense words. This progress check will identify those children not at the expected level in their reading. The results will be reported to parents. Children will be rechecked in Year 2 if they do not reach the expected level. Any child working below the level of the screen check may be dis-applied, with the acknowledgement of the parent/carer and if required, specific interventions will be put in to place.

Reading at Gaskell Primary School

Each child at Gaskell Primary School has a specifically targeted reading book. Our reading scheme follows Stages 1 through to Stage 16. The majority of books are Oxford Reading Tree (including Chucklers, Fireflies, and Snapdragons etc.) Once children have read up to and can comprehend stage 16, pupils move on to our Free Readers. This is a range of carefully chosen texts that include modern classics and high quality authors- this ensures that all children are reading a carefully targeted book throughout their school life.

Promoting Reading at Gaskell Primary School

At Gaskell Primary School, we promote reading in a variety of ways. Through the use of class novels on our Literature Spine, having well-stocked class and school libraries, running competitions such as our Reading Challenge and visits to local places such as Bolton Central Library to promote reading. We also host events such as visiting authors and have publishers such as The Book Bus This promotes a love of reading in school.

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