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Reading and Phonics

Reading at Caedmon

According to Arlington et al 2008, ‘Some researchers suggest beginning readers need to read 600-1000 words a week to become competent readers’.

We need to ensure that every attempt is made to allow our children to gain ‘reading mileage’ . This means ensuring that the children have opportunities to read wherever possible, both within reading lessons and across the curriculum. 

Opportunities for extending reading mileage include:

  • RWI sessions

  • Individual Reading ( 1-1 reading with an adult in school)

  • Shared Reading

  • Reading across the creative curriculum

  • Independent reading

  • Home reading

  • Children should also listen to stories read aloud on a regular basis.


How do we teach reading?

Every child experiences high quality reading teaching through: English lessons, phonics/spelling teaching, individual 1-1 reading, whole class shared reading and reading skills lessons. 


The teaching of reading varies throughout the school due to the needs of the children. In EYFS and year 1, the teaching of reading is heavily focused on decoding. From year 2 onwards, we explicitly teach reading skills lessons using ‘Reading Explorers. These lessons will supplement the teaching of reading throughout the creative curriculum and text based approach to writing. We also explicitly teach vocabulary.


Parents have a role and responsibility to support their child’s reading by allocating time to read with them. Reading stories to children is a valuable activity that parents can do at home, perhaps at bedtime.We have provided more information for parents in the section below. 


Each half term we invite our parents to a reading breakfast to share stories with their children in school.In addition to this we regularly share books we love, have authors and poets visit school and actively promote celebrations such as World Book Day  in school to encourage a reading environment.

Roald Dahl Day with Author Liz Million

Information for Parents


What is Reading?

Reading is making meaning from print.

It requires that we:

 · Identify the words in print – a process called word recognition.

· Construct an understanding from them – a process called comprehension.

· Coordinate identifying words and making meaning so that reading is automatic and accurate – an achievement called fluency.


As children move through EYFS and KS1, they develop their skills in decoding through Read, Write, INC. The books children bring home are used to practise consolidating the phonic strategies they have been working on in school. By the time they reach KS2, most children have mastered their phonic skills and the balance moves towards making meaning from the text and developing fluency. At this point, children start accessing the Accelerated Reader Programme. Children choose a book, read it and then take a quiz to test their understanding.


Did you know? If you can’t read 5% of words in a text the meaning becomes lost. This is why it is so important to read with your child to help them overcome unfamiliar or tricky words, so that they understand what they are reading. The more times a child reads a text, the better their understanding.



This image shows the importance of daily reading.




What should parents do at home to support their child’s reading development?

Parents can support this 'reading journey' through regular reading at home. Reading to and with your child every evening for at least ten minutes can make a dramatic difference to a child's achievement within school. A report from the Oxford University Press highlighted the importance of parents reading with their children. 'Children who read outside of class are 13 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age'.


· Read every night for up to twenty minutes.

· Listen to your child read. This helps them to develop their fluency. It is especially important for KS2 children that this continues all the way up to Year 6.

· Read to your child. This will help them to understand how to use expression to bring stories to life and develop their own voice as readers.

· After listening to them, or reading to them, ask them some of the questions. The discussion you have will be very valuable to their reading development.

· Talk about the meanings of new words.

· Read the same book again and again-it helps with fluency!

· Sign the diary (at least) every week. 



Sending Books Home:

In EYFS AND KS1 children will bring home:

  • A book that is phonetically decodable (where they can sound out and read 95%- 100% of words independently). This book is closely matched to the phonic sounds that children know.
  • 1-2 free choice books that they can read with an adult or have read to them.


The children will be given these books on a Friday. We ask that the children bring their books into school each day(so we can read with them). We will keep the books on a Thursday and change them so that the children have their new books each Friday. By keeping the books for one week, this ensures that children are consolidating their phonic knowledge and building their fluency. These skills are essential if a child is to make understanding from text.  


In KS2:

Children use the Accelerated Reader Programme. At the start of each term children take a STAR reader assessment, which gives them a ZPD range. Children then choose a book in this range, read it and take a quiz. Children will bring their book home each evening. They change their book once they have taken their quiz.  For more detailed information about Accelerated Reader, please see you child’s reading diary.


Questions to ask your child:

Before your child reads a book, ask:

  • Why did you select this book?
  • What makes you think this book is going to be interesting?
  • What do you think the book is going to be about?
  • Does this book remind you of anything else you’ve already read or seen?
  • What kind of characters do you think will be in the book?
  • What do you think is going to happen?



While your child is reading a book, try asking:

  • Will you catch me up on the story? What’s happened so far?
  • What do you think will happen next?
  • If you were that character, what would you have done differently in that situation?
  • If the book was a TV show, which actors would you cast in it?
  • Where is the book set?
  • If the main character in that story lived next door, would you be friends?
  • What does the place look like in your head as you read? Would you want to visit there?
  • Did you learn any new words or facts so far?



After your child has finished a book, ask questions like:

  • What was your favourite part of the book? Why?
  • Who was your favourite character? Why?
  • What was the most interesting thing you learned from the book?
  • Why do you think the author wrote this book?
  • Would you have ended the book differently? Did it end the way you thought it would?
  • Did the problem of the book’s plot get solved?
  • If you could change one thing in the book, what would it be?



Activities that the your child can complete once they have read and are familiar with the story:

  • Write your own version of the story.
  • Re-write a page of the story.
  • Choose 10 favourite words from the story and write them in a sentence.
  • Design a profile for your favourite character from the text.
  • Draw a scene from the story.
  • Design your own comprehension questions.
  • Read the story to a friend/sibling/another adult and act out some of the story.
  • Write a review of the story.
  • Make some cut out character/puppets from the story.

Read Write Inc


At Caedmon, we follow the Read, Write, Inc. synthetic phonics program developed by Ruth Miskin. We teach phonics every day for 15 minutes in Reception and for 45 minutes per day in Key Stage 1 and 2.  The Read, Write, Inc. program is proven to develop: “fluent, enthusiastic readers; deep comprehension of texts; confident speakers; and keen writers”. Children are streamed into ability groups across the school to ensure they are sufficiently challenged. The skills children learn in their phonics sessions aid their development in other subject areas, particularly Literacy. With a little help from ‘Fred the Frog’, children learn how to decode words using phonic knowledge, becoming confident readers.


For more information, visit our 'Read, Write, Inc.' page;