Reading and Phonics

At Belgrave our main aims for reading are to:

  • To promote a love of reading for pleasure
  • To develop children’s confidence to read unfamiliar words.
  • To ensure children are challenged by books and interested in the content.
  • To develop vocabulary and language skills.



At Belgrave we want children to learn to read so that they can enjoy a wide variety of stories and poems, develop their acquisition and understanding of language, feed their imaginations and develop an awareness of authors and author styles. We also recognise that children need to read to find information which will support and enrich their learning and enable them to fully access our curriculum.

We aim to develop a love of books and learning by providing our children with access and exposure to a wide variety of text throughout their time at Belgrave.  We even have a ‘50 books to read before you leave Belgrave’ because our children and families love an extra challenge!

Oval Callout: It’s comfy in our           reading corner. It’s like a tent.
To wider promote reading we encourage visits to the local library, visit the library van, participate in national days such as World Book Day, we have visiting book fairs and invite authors and story tellers into school. We participate in the extreme reading challenge and summer reading challenges at the local libraries.  We have pupil leadership roles as ‘Book Worms’ who promote and encourage reading through leading assemblies, looking after our library and reading books and run competitions.  We have an outside ‘Reading Hive’ where children can choose to read during playtimes.  We have different reading events to promote reading such as a ‘Bedtime story session’ in the hall with children and parents after school.   We regularly have whole school text immersion weeks, where we will all explore, investigate and respond to the same text, this creates cross age shared reading and learning opportunities.   It is practice across the school that our children will have the opportunity to enjoy a class story time, in every year group.  Children are involved in selecting the book which can often lead to an interesting discussion.  

Early readers are encouraged to develop their language skills and storytelling through the use of high-quality picture books.  They also share and take home a wide range of poetry, stories, information and E-learning books from the beginning of their reception reading journey. 

Phonics is taught every day in Reception and Year 1; this includes whole class, small groups, 1:1 individual support and intervention groups for children who need additional support.  Phonics continues alongside spelling teaching in Year 2; additional phonics support is given every day for children who have not passed the phonics screening or who are not confident applying phonics to their reading or writing, this is in small groups or 1:1.  In Key Stage 2 children who need additional support to develop phonic skills will have support in class from their class teacher and intervention which specifically revisits phonic or phase gaps. 

We start teaching children to read by using a structured, synthetic phonics approach-that is teaching the sounds that letters make so that children can “decode” the words on the page. Children are taught to segment and blend words for reading. Once children can do this, they are able to read books, with words, that match the sounds that they know. Children are taught “tricky” and common exception words alongside this phonic approach so that they build up a sight vocabulary of words that cannot be sounded out (decoded) hence their name, tricky words.  We follow the Letters and Sounds phases and use Monster Phonics Scheme to support our teaching.  This involves images, songs, actions and props linked to each sound taught which lends itself well to a multisensory teaching approach.  We use ‘Active Learn’ electronic books and real books for children to access at home as well as school. 

This structured approach for learning to read continues through Reception, Year One, Year Two and beyond if required.

Oval Callout: We like finding out about things in           information books.
Year 1
As children progress through school, they will learn to read and understand texts using this phonic approach and other strategies such as the use of picture clues, the context of the word, meaning of the word, etymology etc.

Oval Callout: I really like reading. You can think that you’re involved in the story
Year 2
Children in Reception, Year One and Year Two will read in guided groups at least once a week (some will read twice or more) where they are given the opportunity to apply their reading skills with a group of children of similar reading ability.   In addition to the group reading sessions, we encourage children and parents/carers to read together, at home, every night. Some children will read individually or in small groups and some children with SEND (Special educational Needs) may be supported to read every day in school. 

In Year Two children read in guided reading groups with other children of similar reading ability. As their reading skills develop pupils learn the skills of reading and understanding a text through the analysis of vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and summary.

Oval Callout: Reading introduces you to new vocabulary. 
Year 5
Oval Callout: I like reading because when you watch something on T.V. the picture is there, but when you read you create the picture in your head.    Year 3
In Years Three and Four, children read together in guided reading sessions with a member of staff at least once a week. Again, we encourage children and parents/carers to read together, at home, every night.  Some children will read twice a week in school.  Children who need additional support with comprehension will have small group intervention where comprehension skills are broken down, modelled and practiced together. 

In Years Five and Six, children will read with a member of staff once a week, we continue to encourage children and parents/carers to read together, at home, every night. Comprehension skills continue to be supported and taught, children who need additional intervention or support will have group or 1:1 time with staff to develop their skills, confidence and interest in reading. 


  • Books are banded by colour in Key Stage 1 to brown and Numerical order in Key Stage 2. Books are banded by number from Band 11 onwards
  • We use books schemes from Storyworld, Lighthouse, Project X, Phonics Bug books, in addition to other selected books
  • Books have been purchased to cover a wide range of abilities to interest all children, for example there are books to meet the needs of older readers who are not yet fluent at the expected level
  • We monitor children’s progress at least once per week on our Reading Record sheet
  • Provide a stimulating range of genre, e.g. books (Narrative, Non-fiction and Poetry), comics, newspapers and magazines in the Book Area within each classroom
  • Introduce children to a wide range of books, authors and genres
  • Value parental input and communicate through Home School Books at least once weekly
  • Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 daily phonics sessions in addition to reading
  • Introduce and discuss new vocabulary
  • We model the correct pronunciation of letter sounds e.g. saying the pure sound ‘p’ instead of ‘puh’.  This helps when blending sounds to read 
  • Splitting phonetically decodable words into individual sounds before blending them together to read
  • Teach ‘tricky’ ‘High Frequency’ and ‘Common Exception’ words
  • Encourage parents to read with children at home and discuss books
  • Workshops for Reception parents in 1st half term. Parents are also invited to phonics workshops to watch teachers teach to encourage participation and understanding of how to develop children’s understanding of phonics
  • Each year group has an expectations overview of the year which describes where we are aiming for children to be by the end of the year; this includes strategies for how parents can support their children at home with reading and phonics
  • Buddy reading sessions between Year 6 and Reception children and Year 5 and Year 1 children
  • PM Benchmarking is sometimes used alongside teacher assessment to gain reading ages or areas for development
  • Short task reading comprehension cards are used with individuals and small groups to develop wider reading skills
  • When children do not read regularly at home we would highlight this during discussion with parents.  We offer support and strategies but are mindful that there might be different reasons why we may need to offer additional support in school for reading


  • Guided Reading books will be selected by the teacher to further learning, or by the children to engage interest
  • Books will be available in ‘Book Area’ in class for independent reading
  • Time is allocated during school day for children to read for enjoyment
  • Whole class story is a valuable part of each day in every classroom, the text may be selected by the class teacher for a quality rich immersion or can be voted for by the children based on prior reading or author interest
  • We ensure we have books to inspire reading and learning across the curriculum; we order book packs linked to topics or subjects from the Local Authority library service to support our school resources
  • The teacher will provide guidance to parents through planners, about the focus for the Guided Reading session and of ways to help at home to help their child progress
  • Recording reading comments in Home School books is an important part of our Home-School Partnership
  • Active Learn E books used in and out of school for children in Reception and into Year 1
  • Our Annual Action Plan for reading prioritises areas for us to develop; for example we are currently developing children’s exposure to a variety and breadth of different authors and encouraging a love of reading
  • We have a range of volunteers who support reading throughout school.  Volunteers are taught the strategies we use in school when reading with children.  This additional reading opportunity is welcomed by staff and thoroughly enjoyed by our children
    Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1
  • Children read books banded at the appropriate colour level as well as reading phonics phased appropriate books.
  • We plan ‘Reading Activities’ including, phonic activities, games with High Frequency Words, Paired Reading, Individual Reading, Word Searches, Use of Apps on the IPad, Discussions of books etc. which may be used for a morning activities or independent tasks
  • Staff keep the weekly Reading Record with details of strategies children are applying. The record may be for an individual, pair or group
  • Children take Guided Reading books home to share with parents, alongside Individual Choosing books for Independent Reading. Independent books may be at an ‘Easier’ level. These are chosen by the child from the appropriate band
  • Children will change their choosing book when needed and will take this home
  • Individual reading can boost the children who need additional support/ extension books or where they cannot be grouped with children within a level
  • Word and Phonic checklists are carried out with children at regular intervals throughout the year and phonic data is recorded and tracked at least termly in order to monitor progress
  • Tricky word bookmarks are sent home in Reception to support learning and sight recognition
  • Phonics resources are also sent home so that parents know which sound or phase children are working on
  • High Frequency words and Common Exception words are sent home in Year 1 and Year 2 and are printed in our Home school books/planners
  • Reading will be assessed by teachers and recorded each term; if children are not making enough progress this is identified with the headteacher and SENCO and intervention or further support is put into place
    Key Stage 2
  • Reading skills will be taught through focussed guided reading which may form part of a lesson or be a separate activity
  • Children are expected to set amounts each week depending on the book or the task set by the staff. The following reading session will include time to check understanding, address any queries or questions linked to what has been read and to compare opinions
  • Words lists for Lower and Upper Key stage 2 are printed in our Home school books/planners and lists given to children to learn to read and spell
  • Key Stage 2 children will progress through the numbered reading bands. Band 11 (choosing/ reading own books) when they have reached white level
  • Key Stage 2 children will be able to choose a book from the number banded books or bring a book of interest from home which they will have opportunities to read at school
  • Children take Guided Reading books home to share with parents, alongside Individual Choosing books for Independent Reading, these are chosen by the child from the appropriate band
  • Children will change their choosing book when needed and will take this home
  • Guided Reading in Key Stage 2 may be using a newspaper, leaflet, poster, a page in a book etc. and this session will be well planned to extend the children’s higher order skills
  • Children will be encouraged to read from a variety of genres during these sessions
  • Reading will be assessed by teachers and recorded each term; if children are not making enough progress this is identified with the headteacher and SENCO and intervention or further support is put into place.

Files to Download

Belgrave Primary School, Five Ashes Road, Westminster Park, Chester CH4 7QS

Tel: 01244 421332 | Email:

Good Diabetes Care in School
fmsis Logo
School Games Gold
No Outsiders Logo
Local Living Wage West Cheshire
The Basic Skills Agency