Phonics & Reading

At East Claydon C of E School, we envision a school community where love, commitment, and respect form the cornerstone of our educational journey. Guided by these enduring values, we aspire to create an environment that nurtures the hearts and minds of every pupil, teacher, and member of our school community.

Together, we aspire to build a brighter future, one where love, commitment, and respect are not just values we uphold, but principles that guide us toward a world of greater understanding, harmony, and fulfilment. At East Claydon, we are more than a school; we are a family bound by these shared ideals, and together, we will make a difference in the lives of our pupils and our community.

Intent for reading across the school 

At East Claydon, 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 want to provide our children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities, which will help them to:

  • Gain a life-long enjoyment of reading and books.
  • Read accurately, fluently and with understanding;
  • Apply a knowledge of structured synthetic phonics in order to decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy and speed;
  • Be able to read with expression, clarity and confidence;
  • Develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar;
  • Read and respond to a wide range of different types of texts;
  • Develop a deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy;
  • Read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

Implementation across the school 

Through the delivery of our reading curriculum we ensure a consistent and robust teaching and learning of early reading and phonics in Early Years and KS1, so that pupils are able to read with increased speed and fluency and access the wider curriculum.  

Children are provided with books that match and support their phonics development and ability.  All pupils have opportunities to develop their reading skills daily, and are encouraged to read at home with an adult.  We provide a text rich environment, to encourage a positive culture of reading throughout all classes and promote reading for pleasure. 

Children enjoy listening to a range of texts through our story time to promote reading for pleasure.   Through high quality teaching and learning experiences we will develop children’s skills and competence so that they are fluent readers who can read to learn. 

Whole class guided reading sessions are used throughout the school to enable all children to share high quality texts and develop skills in reading comprehension and fluency.  Reading skills are continually developed through the wider curriculum.

From Y2 to Y6

We use VIPERS as our approach to help children analyse and understand texts more deeply.

  1. Vocabulary:
    • Implementation: While reading, we introduce key vocabulary words that pupils might encounter in the text.
  2. Inference:
    • Implementation: Teach pupils to infer by using context clues and background knowledge.
  3. Prediction:
    • Implementation: Teach pupils to make reasoned predictions based on the information provided in the text.
  4. Explanation:
    • Implementation: Guide pupils to explain their understanding of the text, supporting their responses with evidence.
  5. Retrieval:
    • Implementation: Teach Pupils to find specific information in the text.
  6. Sequence:
    • Implementation: Instruct and support pupils to identify the order of events in a story or text.

 Teachers in Y2 will plan 2 sessions into the timetable that include:

  • A teacher led guided reading group
  • A independent group (that self marks)

 Teachers in Y3 – Y6 will plan 4 sessions into the timetable that include:

  • A teacher led guided reading group
  • A independent group (that self marks)
  • A TA led group that hears readers
  • A group that develops Grammar skills.


All pupils will be able to read with accuracy, speed, confidence, fluency and understanding, ready to access the secondary school curriculum.  All pupils will make at least good progress from their starting points. Pupils will develop a life-long enjoyment of reading and books. 


Phonics and early reading

Phonics (reading and spelling)

At East Claydon, 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 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 can tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At East Claydon, 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.

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:
    • o 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.

  • o Children in Year 1 review Phases 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 and above 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 Rapid Catch-up assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Rapid Catch-up resources – at pace.
  • If any child in Year 3 to Year 6 has gapes in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 15-20 minutes daily and have been designed to ensure children quickly catch up to age-related expectations in reading.


Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week

We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week.


  • o are taught by a fully trained adult
  • o use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’.

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 Years 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

The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.

  • Reception take books home linked to their phonics level; this can be a physical book or an ebook – this is decided with the parent and child.

  • Year 1 and 2 children will receive ebooks while they are still on the Little Wandle scheme.

    • o Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children. We share the research behind the importance and impact of sharing quality children’s books with parents through workshops, leaflets and the Everybody read!

    • o 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.

 Additional reading support for vulnerable children 

  • Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics Keep-up sessions read their reading practice book to an adult daily.

Ensuring consistency and pace of progress

Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.

Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.  

Lesson templates, Prompt cards and ‘How to’ videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.

The Reading Leader and SLT use the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning. 

Ensuring 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.

  • 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 East Claydon and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.

  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.

  • In Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their continuous provision time and the books are continually refreshed.

  • Children from 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.

  • The school library is made available for classes to use.


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 for Reception and Year 1 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.

Placement assessment is used:

  • with any child new to the school in Reception and Year 1 to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan and provide appropriate extra teaching.


The Rapid Catch-Up Assessment is used:

  • with any child new to the school in Year 2 and above to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan and provide appropriate extra teaching.

Ongoing assessment for Rapid Catch-up in Years 2 to 6

Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed through:

  • the Rapid Catch-up initial assessment to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan appropriate teaching
  • the Rapid Catch-up summative assessments to assess progress and inform teaching

  • the Rapid Catch-up fluency assessments when children are reading the Phase 5 set 3, 4 and 5 books for age 7+.


The fluency assessments measure children’s accuracy and reading speed in short one-minute assessments. They also assess when children are ready to exit the Rapid Catch-up programme, which is when they read the final fluency assessment at 90+ words per minute.


Statutory assessment

  • Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.

  • Children in Year 2 will sit a reading assessment to feed into the ongoing assessment process.

  • Children in Year 6 will sit the SATS reading paper.