Phonics & Reading

Reading Policy 2020-2021

At Simpson’s Lane Academy, we believe that every pupil has the ability to learn to read and that they have a fundamental right to access high quality literature from their very first day of school. In order to achieve this, we teach, develop and promote reading across the academy in a number of different ways.

Our aims as an academy are:

  • To equip all pupils with the necessary phonic knowledge and skills to allow them to access texts, at an age appropriate level.
  • To foster a love and appreciation of books across the school and beyond.
  • To ensure that ALL children across the academy have access to challenging, quality, age-appropriate texts.
  • To ensure that ALL children are being exposed to rich and varied vocabulary in order to address the word gap.
  • To provide a consistent approach in the teaching of reading comprehension skills.
  • To develop ‘accuracy’ and ‘depth’ in pupils’ responses to their reading.
  • To provide a clear structure for teacher’s delivery of reading which ensures full curriculum coverage and a progression of reading skills across all Key Stages.
  • To ensure that reading is given sufficient curriculum time across the academy

Phonics and Early Reading

Phonics is taught in accordance with the ‘Letters and Sounds’ documentation across the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. Our aim is to develop the children’s phonological awareness, ability to segment and blend words and to read tricky words by sight.

Our core principles of Phonics teaching are: 

  • That it is part of a broad and rich curriculum that engages children in a range of activities and experiences to develop their speaking and listening skills and phonological awareness
  • That it is multisensory- providing activities to enliven core learning and to embed phonic knowledge.
  • That it is time-limited- we aim that our pupils are confident readers, reading with a good degree of fluency by a minimum of the end of Key Stage 1
  • That it is systematic-  it follows a carefully planned programme reinforcing and building on previous learning to secure children’s progress
  • That it is taught discretely and daily at a brisk pace following the Letters and Sounds documentation
  • That there are ample opportunities to reinforce and apply acquired phonic knowledge and skills across the curriculum.
  • That those pupils who are struggling to keep up with the pace in the daily phonics session, receive swift support to allow them to get back on track. We are a ‘keep up’ not ‘catch up’ academy.

Programme of Teaching Expectations  


Main purpose



To develop awareness of sounds. To become familiar with rhyme, rhythm and alliteration

Continuous throughout Nursery and F2 as needed.


To introduce grapheme-phoneme correspondences

Up to 6 weeks


To teach children one grapheme for each of the 44 phonemes. Recognise common digraphs. Read tricky words.

Up to 12 weeks


To teach children to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants and polysyllabic words.

4-6 weeks (As a minimum by the end of F2)


To teach children to recognise and use alternative ways of pronouncing the graphemes and phonemes already taught.

Securing reading and spelling will continue throughout  Y1


Teaching children to develop their skill and automaticity in reading and building capacity to attend to meaning.

Securing reading and spelling will continue throughout  Y2

All phonics sessions occur daily and for a minimum of 25mins.

For those pupils moving into KS2 who are still not secure in terms of their phonics knowledge and/ or blending, additional intervention is put into place to ensure that they catch up quickly. The independent activities that these pupils access during their Whole Class Reading Session should also reflect and support their needs.

Teachers plan clearly structured sessions following the Letters and Sounds documentation. This includes:

  • Revisit/Review
  • Teach
  • Practise
  • Apply
  • Phonics activities are available throughout the continuous provision to ensure reconsolidation of adult led activities.
  • Pupils have access to fully decodable texts, which match their phonic knowledge.
  • For those pupils who are unable to keep up in class, additional phonics support is offered and this is tailored to a particular child’s/ group’s needs.

At Simpson’s Lane we start children’s reading journey by providing every child that starts in Reception with an amazing book bag package that includes; a book of nursery rhymes, a traditional story and a guide for supporting early phonics and reading at home.

We also ensure pupils have access to reading books online through the Phonics Bug site. Teachers inform parents of the current learning in Phonics and advise which books children should access to apply their phonic knowledge.

Children take home a reading book that is decodable as well as a book to read for the purposes of developing their comprehension skills and ensuring children have an enjoyable and rich reading experience. Pupils are encouraged to select a book for themselves which an adult at home may read to them.

Assessment of Phonics:

Our pupils are monitored daily throughout their phonics sessions to ensure that no pupils get left behind. If a child is struggling to embed the current learning, then swift and timely intervention is put into place immediately.

Pupils are assessed half- termly by their class teachers using the guidance set out in the Letters and Sounds Programme. The phonics leader monitors these assessments and provides support to class teachers in securing their judgement and next steps.

Y1 Phonics Screening Check

All children in Year One will be screened using the National Assessment materials in Summer Term. If children in Year One do not pass the screening test, they will be retested when they are in Year Two.

The Reading Strategy

The Reading Strategy is a trust-wide approach to develop reading comprehension skills. It takes place EVERY day from EYFS-Y6.  It incorporates age-appropriate, challenging texts, which are rich in vocabulary. The core texts are:

The Core principles of the Reading Strategy are as follows:

  • A 30-40 minute whole class text reading session (20 minutes EYFS and Y1)
  • Texts will generally last for one full term although no-fiction, poetry and play scripts are taught alongside this.
  • All pupils are included in this lesson and are exposed to high quality texts and discussions, despite potential barriers to their word reading and comprehension.
  • Teachers will identify children who are not yet on track to meet ARE for their year group and will plan sessions IN ADDITION to develop their decoding and fluency.
  • All year groups will have a reading response book. There should be approximately 3 pieces of written response per week. These may be independent, guided, formal or informal responses to reading. These books should reflect the pride and importance of reading.
  • All reading sessions have a clear learning objective so that pupils understand the reading skills they are practising. The children’s written responses should reflect the learning objective.
  • All reading sessions will begin with some form of direct vocabulary instruction. Teachers will focus particularly on Tier 2 vocabulary although Tier 3 words will most certainly be clarified too.
  • Oracy is a key driver in reading sessions and is used to support children in forming well developed answers and opinions around reading.

Teaching Sequence

Teachers will plan a sequence of lessons that are focused around a single objective/ skill of reading, and will incorporate a graduated release of dependence as the sequence progresses. This allows children by the end of the sequence to be able to answer questions independently and form opinions.


  • Whole class reading sessions should be planned carefully to ensure there is suitable and attainable challenge for all. One of the main strategies that the academy uses to differentiate is through considering the 5 strands of cognitive demand. These are used for test development purposes for both KS1 and KS2 end of term reading tests and support teachers in their planning of reading sessions.

The KS1 Reading Content Domains

  • The content domain sets out the relevant elements from the national curriculum programme of study (2014) for English at key stage 1 that are assessed in the English reading test. The tests will, over time, sample from each area of the content domain.

The KS2 Reading Content Domains

  • Teachers may reference the domains or skills in their daily teaching to support pupils’ understanding of these important skills for reading.
  • Whilst the Content Domains are based on the National Curriculum they do not represent the national curriculum programme of study for reading at KS1 KS2 in its entirety, and therefore it is essential that teachers still plan their lessons using the national curriculum.
  • Reading opportunities across the curriculum

Children must be given the opportunity to read and to apply the comprehension skills that they have practised in their reading sessions across the curriculum.  This should happen daily with pupils drawing inferences from historical documents in history, to reading and following instructions in PE etc.

Home Reading

All pupils will have a reading book to take home with them. Children from F2- Y6 are expected to read a minimum of three times each week. This should be recorded in their reading records by their parents for younger pupils, but as the child gets older, they will document their own reading journey throughout the week. The pupils’ teacher is responsible for checking these records and monitoring home reading. 

We promote and celebrate those pupils who read at home through our home reading challenge.  Pupils are rewarded each time they read at home. 

We endeavour to develop supportive relationships with our parents from the start of school. We offer regular events in school which parents are invited to attend. These events seek to provide parents with information about how they can support their child’s reading at home. 

If there is a concern around a pupil who is not reading at home, the class teacher will seek to contact their parent and offer support as required. 

Developing a reading culture 

At Simpson’s Lane academy, we strive to instil a love of books and reading to all of our pupils so that they excel not only in school, but are equipped with a life-long love of reading.

We have many ongoing initiatives throughout the school such as:

  • Reading trees are outside of each classroom with a range of high quality, age-appropriate books for pupils to take home and either read for themselves, or for a parent to share with them .
  • Author visits (Peter Murray our Patron of Reading)
  • Weekly reading assemblies with teachers sharing their favourite book.
  • A new school library for pupils to relax and enjoy books.
  • Close links with the local library.


Oracy is the ability to communicate effectively and as an academy, and a trust, we recognise the importance of developing oracy with our pupils. Working with Voice 21, we aim to elevate oracy to the same status as reading and writing.

Voice 21

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