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English - Reading

Reading at Northlands – Our Philosophy

Pupils who can read are overwhelmingly more likely to succeed at school, achieve good qualifications and subsequently enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding career. In addition to its substantial practical benefits, reading is one of life’s profound joys. OFSTED 2015


Reading for pleasure is reading that we do of our own free will, anticipating the satisfaction that we will get from the act of reading. It also refers to reading that, having begun at someone’s request, we continue because we are interested in it. Clark and Rumbold, NLT,

At Northlands, we strive to equip all children with the skill set to be able to read fluently and confidently so that they can comprehend and enjoy a wide variety of different text types. Through a range of resources and techniques, children will develop the ability to read with enjoyment across numerous genres whilst nurturing an interest in words and their meaning; building their comprehension of a given subject and a critical appreciation of what they have read.


Implementation of reading across the school

Reading at Northlands is taught and celebrated in a range of ways. Some of these are generic across the whole school, whilst others are specific to key stages. These may be implemented but the class teacher, an LSA or voluntary readers such as parents and governors.

  1. Shared reading using a big book or text
  2. Daily phonics lessons using the Jolly Phonics scheme
  3. 1:1 reading with an adult
  4. Big Read Lessons
  5. Weekly comprehension sessions
  6. Sharing of a class text at the end of the day
  7. Lexia (intervention)
  8. Reading + (intervention and online home resource)
  9. Reading of texts linked to topic work
  10. In school and local library visits
  11. Reading for pleasure opportunities
  12. A programme of author visits, workshops, Scholastic book fairs, regular competitions and theme days



The evidence is clear the children learn to read best when they are taught using a robust programme of systematic synthetic phonics. OFSTED 2015

Synthetic phonics is the ability to blend or combine sounds, to make spoken words and to read written words. There are over 40 sounds in English but only 26 letters that are used to represent these sounds, therefore some sounds are written using more than one letter. It is essential that the children are fluent in saying these sounds that go with these letters.


In reception and year 1, children have daily phonics lessons for 30 minutes.

We follow the Jolly Phonics Handbook for teaching phonics in early years and KS1. This scheme provides a multi-sensory approach where the children learn each sound with an action, song and visual story. Body movements, along with their ears, eyes and voice helps the children to remember the sounds.


Teaching phonics is divided into five basic skills:

  • Learning the letter sounds
  • Sounds are introduced to children attending Nursery at the rate of one sound per week.
  • The first 42 sounds are introduced at the rate of one a day in Reception.
  • Once the first 42 sounds have been mastered, children will be given a Jolly Phonics reading book (any child who has not yet mastered these sounds will be allocated an alternative resource).
  • Alongside these 42 sounds, the children learn to read simple, decodable words from their ‘word box’.
  • Initially, only one way of writing each sound is introduced. Afterwards, alternatives are introduced.
  • Each lesson should contain some revision of letter sounds already taught.


Learning letter formation

See writing policy


Blending – for reading

Aural blending – initially the teacher will call out sounds to make a word and the children will learn to hear the word from putting those sounds together.

The children then move onto looking at the letters in a word, saying the sounds themselves and listening for the word.

Identifying sounds in words – for writing

Children listen for all the sounds in words and link these to letters for writing them down.


Tricky words

These are frequently used words where the spelling is irregular or the words use phonics knowledge that the children have not learnt yet:

  • Pace – three new tricky words a week.
  • Tricky words a divided up into six colour-coded groups.
  • All infant classes to display tricky word flowers.

For children struggling with reading, we have ‘keep up’ interventions outside of the daily phonics lesson to provide additional time for those children to practise learning the sounds and/or blending sounds to read words. Group interventions take place in year 2 for children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in year 1.