Reading is FUNdamental at St Kew

The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 dimensions:

  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading)

It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.

Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (ie unskilled readers) when they start school.

Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.

It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.


The 7 areas of Reading at St Kew ACE Academy


Prioritise Reading


Reading is priority number 1 on our School Improvement Plan.

School leaders, governors, teaching and non-teaching staff recognise the importance of   reading as a ‘life’ skill and you will hear us using the phrase ‘Reading is FUNdamental’ throughout the school.

We have developed our own literary curriculum, with a book stimulus that launches children into their learning through exploration and discovery, enquiry and experience.

Every topic starts, and ends, with high quality texts - these are linked to all aspects of learning in every class, so that children can make connections between their life experience, the text and the learning taking place.

Being able to read ensures every pupil has access to the rest of the curriculum and therefore, to learning for life.

Bedtime reading is a focus for each term with parents joining us for regular after-school  sessions held in the library for pupils and parents to ‘snuggle down and read together’.

Training sessions and monitoring of reading are in place and these are regularly reviewed.

The systematic, synthetic teaching of phonics is delivered daily to the EYFS and KS1 pupils between 9.00 and 10am. During this time, the KS2 children have whole year group / groups guided reading sessions with VIPERS being used as the main structure for the aspects covered throughout.








Love of Reading


All staff and children are passionate about reading and staff share books with children on a daily basis.

Teachers read to their class at the end of every day and children are able to vote for the book that they would like to read.

Our curriculum is based on a book stimulus that launches children into learning through  exploration. Each text fires the imagination and interest and is a source of pleasure which helps to motivate children and engage with books.

Every classroom has an inspiring reading corner, stocked with fiction and non-fiction texts, linked to learning and the children’s interests alongside material to stretch and challenge the pupils in their reading.

‘Reading buddies’ sessions are held throughout the school where older children read with younger children, thriving on the ability to share books and read for pleasure.  

Children receive stars for ‘home reads’ on a daily basis, to work towards reading rewards at the end of coloured cards.

Upon completing 60 home reads (3 cards) children are invited to afternoon tea with the Head Teacher, which helps them to ’want to read more’!

The school library has recently been restocked, with books chosen by the children, and all children have timetabled slots in the library to choose and peruse books freely.

Children are presented with an award in our weekly ‘Star of the Week’ assembly for an aspect of reading based on an individuals progress / skill development.



Programme and Progress


The school follows the Letters and Sounds sequence of phonics teaching, using best practise aspects of teaching. Children are taught in groups, matching their phonic (phase) knowledge, with reading books that closely match their developing knowledge.

As children re-read these stories at home, using the same pattern of teaching from school (sound / tricky word  identification, vocabulary check, shared reading, fluency and comprehension), their fluency increases and comprehension deepens.

Children’s progress is regularly monitored through teacher assessments alongside the more formal testing periods, for examples SATs. Those children who are not making expected progress are given targeted  support to enable them to catch up.

Further information on our Letters and Sounds programme can be found below. 


Books match sounds


Children are given books that are matched to the  Letters and Sounds phase and phonics they have been taught which enables them to practise these sounds at home and read with increased confidence. The school has made further purchases of books to allow all children to access these at home and in school.

Teachers and support staff regularly check children’s reading books to ensure they are able to read them fluently at home, ensuring taught reading skills are further developed.

Further information on our Letters and Sounds programme can be found below.  


Phonics from the start


Our children start daily systematic, synthetic phonics from the very beginning.

Children in Pre-School share daily story times and in Reception, have a weekly book focus which develops a love of reading from the beginning of their school journey.

Children in Reception and KS1 are taught in  structured sessions, moving from easier to more complex phonic knowledge to effectively learn to read. Our KS2 pupils leave school with good reading skills and comprehension, enabling them to access the next stage in their education fully.

Further information on our Letters and Sounds programme can be found below. 

Catch up quickly


Children who are not making expected progress are given targeted support, with extra phonics teaching and reading practise taking place on a daily basis. Children in the lowest 20% participate in intervention sessions in small groups or on a 1:1 basis.



Early reading experts


The phonics and English lead has been trained using the ‘Phonics for Fluency’ project and has trained all teachers teaching phonics in this method. All staff understand the teaching of  synthetic phonics and within KS2, the staff use a system for guided reading, in whole year groups, to ensure children build on skills that have been learned in KS1. All staff have completed reading training to ensure sufficient expertise in the teaching of phonics and reading.


Reading is FUNdamental!



What is Letters and Sounds?

Letters and Sounds is a systematic approach for teaching children to read using phonics. It is used in many schools in England, but is not a mandatory part of the National Curriculum. It is split into six phases, from starting to learn about sounds at nursery to becoming fluent readers around age 7.

Traditionally, children were taught letter names like aybeesea from the start. However, letter names don’t always represent their pronunciation – examples include double u or em – and this might confuse children when they try to pronounce words made up of these letters.

The phonic approach encourages us to directly link letters (graphemes) to sounds (phonemes), and to teach children pure sounds like ahbk when encountering the alphabet. So, children learn how to put sounds represented by letters or letter groups (like ch or igh) together to read words in a more straightforward way.

The relationship between the letter(s) and the sound is called a letter-sound correspondence, also known as a grapheme-phoneme correspondence (or GPC).

How do children learn to read using Letters and Sounds?

The information below outlines the letter-sound correspondences children will learn in different phases. There are a few “tricky words” introduced at each phase.

These words are common and useful for early reading and writing, but children won’t be able to decode them following the phonic rules taught up to that point. You can help your child learn them by reading aloud together.

Phase 1 Letters and Sounds

Approx age: 3–4 | Nursery/Reception
Phase 1 supports children’s developing speaking and listening skills and linking of sounds and letters. Activities are divided into seven groups:

  • Environmental sounds.
  • Instrumental sounds.
  • Body percussion.
  • Rhythm and rhyme.
  • Alliteration.
  • Voice sounds.
  • Oral blending and segmenting.

Children should be encouraged to enjoy books from as early an age as possible. However, the focus of this phase is on listening to and repeating sounds, rather than on directly reading words.


Phase 2 Letters and Sounds

Approx age: 4–5 | First term of Reception
Phase 2 introduces simple letter-sound correspondences. As each set of letters is introduced, children are encouraged to use their new knowledge to sound out and blend words. For example, they will learn to blend the sounds sat to make the word sat.

Set 1:
s, a, t, p
at, a, sat, pat, tap, sap, as

Set 2:
i – it, is, sit, pit, tip
n – an, in, nip, pan, nap
m – am, man, mat, map, Tim
d – dad, and, sad, dim, Sid

Set 3:
g – tag, gag, sag, gas, pig
o – got, on, not, top, dog
c – can, cot, cop, cap, cod
k – kid, kit, Kim, Ken

Set 4:
ck – kick, sack, dock, sick, pocket
e – get, pet, ten, net, pen
u – up, mum, run, mug, cup
r – rip, ram, rat, rocket, carrot

Set 5:
h – had, him, his, hot, hut
b – but, big, back, bed, bus
f, ff – of, if, off, fit, fog, puff
l, ll – let, leg, lot, bell, doll
ss – less, hiss, mass, mess, boss

Phase 2 tricky words:
the, to, no, go, I, into

Phase 3 Letters and Sounds

Approx. age: 4–5 | Reception
In Phase 3, children build on the letter-sound correspondences learned in Phase 2. They learn consonant digraphs (sounds made up of two letters together such as ‘ch’ or ‘ll’) and long vowel sounds (such as ‘igh’ or ‘ai’).

Set 6:
j – jet, jam, jog, Jan
v – van, vet, velvet
w – wig, will, web
x – fox, box, six

Set 7:
y – yes, yet, yell
z – zip, zig-zag
zz – buzz, jazz
qu – quit, quick, liquid

Consonant digraphs:
ch – chip, chat, rich
sh – shop, shed, fish
th – thin, moth, that
ng – ring, thing, song

Vowel digraphs and trigraphs:
ai – rain, tail, aim
ee – bee, leek, see
igh – high, sigh, might
oa – boat, toad, foal
oo – boot, food, moon
oo – book, wood, foot
ar – park, art, car
or – for, torn, fork
ur – hurt, fur, surf
ow – cow, owl, town
oi – coin, boil, oil
ear – dear, shear, year
air – fair, pair, hair
ure – sure, pure, manure
er – dinner, summer, letter

Phase 3 tricky words:
he, she, we, me, be, was, you, they, all, are, my, her


Phase 4 Letters and Sounds

Approx. age: 4–5 | Reception
Children will consolidate their knowledge during this phase and they will learn to read and spell words which have adjacent consonants (for example, trap, strong, milk and crept).

Phase 4 tricky words:
said, have, like, so, do, some, come, were, there, little, one, when, out, what


Phase 5 Letters and Sounds

Approx. age: 5–6 | Year 1
Children will learn some new graphemes for reading. They will also be taught alternative pronunciations for known graphemes. For example, they have already learned ow as in cow and will now learn ow as in blow.

In addition, they will learn alternative spellings for known phonemes. For example, the sound /igh/ has been learned as the grapheme igh as in ‘night’, but can also be spelled yie, and i-e.

New graphemes for reading:
ay – day, play, crayon
ou – cloud, sound, about
ie – pie, tie, cried
ea – sea, meat, read
oy – toy, enjoy, boy
ir – bird, shirt, first
ue – blue, true, glue
aw – paw, claw, yawn
wh – wheel, whisper, when
ph – photo, dolphin, alphabet
ew – new, crew, flew
oe – toe, foe, tomatoes
au – Paul, launch, haul
a-e – make, game, snake
e-e – these, Eve, extreme
i-e – like, time, slide
o-e – home, bone, pole
u-e – rule, June, flute

Phase 5 tricky words:
oh, their, people, Mr, Mrs, looked, called, asked, could

 Phase 6 Letters and sounds

Approx. age: 6–7 | Year 2
In Phase 6 children will read with increasing fluency. They will have learned most of the common letter-sound correspondences and can read familiar words automatically without needing to sound out and blend.

Children will work on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters, and so on.

50 of the best!
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