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    Blacko Primary School

    Reading & Phonics

    At Blacko Primary School, we put English at the centre of every child’s learning.  We recognise the significance of language, communication, reading and writing in all aspects of life, from developing independent learning skills to successfully entering the world of work.  We place high-quality texts at the heart of our curriculum and encourage children to develop their love of reading through our Reading for Pleasure initiatives.  Experiential learning opportunities and a vocabulary-rich learning environment feed directly into children’s writing outcomes.

    The overarching aims of our English curriculum are to:

    • Develop strong oracy skills that allow children to express themselves, communicating confidently across a range of contexts.
    • Enable children to read fluently, widely and often, understanding a wide range of texts appropriate for their age.
    • Enable children to draft, edit and present writing that is both technically proficient and creative, tailored to the demands of purpose and audience.
    • Enable children to have a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school.
    • Encourage confidence and enjoyment in speaking, listening, reading and writing. 

    Underpinning our English curriculum are some core principles:

    • Consciously builds on children’s existing language and literacy experiences.
    • Recognises the importance of all those involved in the learning experience – parents and carers, wider family members, teachers and children.
    • Values diversity and is culturally inclusive.
    • Has high expectations of all children.
    • Values and promotes critical enquiry.
    • Offers challenge but provides models, demonstrations, examples and scaffolds to help children tackle them successfully. 

    All aspects of our English curriculum are interrelated, and progress in one area is supported by development in each of the others. At Blacko Primary, we acknowledge the strong reciprocal relationship between speaking, listening, reading and writing.

    At Blacko Primary School we believe that all pupils can achieve in Reading, both for pleasure and in their comprehension and understanding. We do not put ceilings on what pupils can achieve and we do not hold pre-conceptions about any pupils’ ability to make progress. We believe through reading, pupils will have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. We feel that reading enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know.


    As children move into Year 2 and Key Stage 2, we progressively teach reading strategies and behaviours that can be applied to a range of text types and genres across the whole curriculum and in Whole Class Reading sessions.  We provide a rich reading curriculum and environments that include reading high-quality texts to children, with children, and by children; for example, individual reading, small group and whole class guided reading, shared reading, reading aloud and reading clubs.

    With consideration to Metacognition, the process of modelshare and do is embedded into the reading comprehension lessons, to ensure long-term retention of skills and information to aid pupils in later life and empower them for life beyond Blacko Primary School.  Whole Class Reading comprehension is taught through specific strategies that include prediction, clarification, retrieval, summarising, inference and the activation of prior knowledge.  Texts are carefully selected to support the teaching of these strategies.

    ‘Free reader’ children from Year 2 – 6 have a selection of books to choose from in class that are ability- and age-appropriate.  Staff assess fluency, misconceptions and instructional reading levels through 'benchmarking' and 1:1 reading sessions.  Children complete termly NFER reading test materials to further inform the ongoing teacher assessments.

    Through our River of Reading / Reading Canon progression document which outlines key texts for each year group, linked by themes, children can make connections to prior learning and build their language knowledge. They can compare texts within and across themes, as well as considering the broader messages.  Each theme has suggested texts for Literary Heritage, Picture books, Fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry to ensure a balance of genres.

    Underpinning all of this is our Reading for Pleasure initiative.  We want our children to become successful and enthusiastic readers who have a well-developed reading identity.  Children will learn to read and then use their reading skills to learn about the world they live in, establish an appreciation of high-quality literature, and gain knowledge from across the wider curriculum subject areas.

    Class 1 Reading Bookshelf

    Class 2 Reading Bookshelf - Year A

    Class 2 Reading Bookshelf - Year B

    Class 3 Reading Bookshelf - Year A

    Class 3 Reading Bookshelf - Year B

    Class 4 Reading Bookshelf - Year A

    Class 4 Reading Bookshelf - Year B



    Our Phonics Curriculum comes from the Department for Education Letters and Sounds in conjunction with Little Wandle

    In Early Years and Key Stage 1, early word reading is taught through a systematic synthetic phonics programme (Little Wandle) which has been carefully designed to best meet the needs of the children at Blacko.  Children in Reception will be taught through pacey and engaging, direct, daily teaching sessions and will begin to learn a defined group of grapheme-phoneme correspondences.

    Alongside this, the children are taught how to read printed words by identifying and blending individual phonemes from left to right all through the word, as well as the skill of segmenting spoken words into their constituent phonemes for spelling.   The children are also taught to decode and spell common exception words (‘tricky words’).  As the children progress through Year 1 and 2, they move from simple to more complex phonic knowledge and skills.

    The texts and books the children are asked to read are composed almost entirely of words made up of grapheme-phoneme correspondences that a child has learned up to that point, apart from a small number of common exception words. 

    As part of the programme, the children are taught how to form lower-case and capital letters correctly with clear start and finish points.  To support this, we use mnemonic phrases to help the children build a mind picture of the letter formation.  The children are then taught to write words made up of the learned grapheme-phoneme correspondences and then simple sentences composed from these words, as well as any common exception words learned.

    Clear progression and assessment criteria enable teaching staff to monitor the children’s progress closely, and we use the Little Wandle structured interventions, alongside Precision Teaching tools to ensure any child in danger of falling behind is able to keep up and catch up.  Children with specific learning or speech and language difficulties are supported by the Special Educational Needs co-ordinator.

    Alongside this, we develop children’s knowledge and understanding of ‘concepts about print’.  Developing print awareness or concepts about print is understanding that print is organised in a particular way — for example, knowing that print is read from left to right and top to bottom. It is knowing that words consist of letters and that spaces appear between words

    Please see phonics curriculum together with guides.  Other useful phonics videos can be found below:

    • Reception Phase two sounds - Autumn one clip
    • Reception Phase two sounds - Autumn two clip
    • Reception Phase three sounds - Spring one clip 
    • How we teach blending clip
    • How we teach tricky words clip

    “In order for students to become fluent in complex subject-specific terminology and more general vocabulary, the process of learning new words needs to be considered deliberately and explicitly as part of teacher instruction.” Tom Sherrington & Oliver Caviglioli.

    At Blacko Primary, we value the importance of vocabulary by making it a priority in every subject across the curriculum. As well as providing opportunities to explore vocabulary through talk and reading we plan for the explicit teaching of vocabulary.

    Subject leaders have selected word lists for their subject; they build in complexity each year so that children can build upon their skills and knowledge. Vocabulary is revisited and refreshed to ensure that it becomes embedded.

    Approach for vocabulary development

    • Specify and define the words – introduce a new word and share its meaning using child-friendly Share an example of the word in context.
    • Say the words:
      • Chorally – all children repeat the words in call and response
      • In pairs – structured paired discussions where children need to use the words they are
      • Rapid fire – children can use the words through individual
    • Read words in context – support understanding and recall of the vocabulary by providing children with the vocabulary in different contexts. 
    • Practise using the words verbally and in writing – children are expected to use the new terminology where relevant rather than reverting to more familiar basic terms. 
    • Engage in word-based retrieval practice – children participate in regular retrieval practice using the target Children are required to recall the words from memory, know what they mean, and identify their correct use in context.

    Strategies for practise and retrieval

    • Pictures and actions may be used when introducing and teaching new,
    • A co-build Frayer model used uniformly throughout,
    • Breaking words down – looking at morphology, phonology, 
    • Reading key vocabulary in,
    • Explicitly writing in sentences.