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phonics and Reading

Reading is at the heart of high-quality English teaching at Broke Hall. There is a clear reading structure that builds on children’s reading skills and confidence. Our priority is both the teaching of reading skills and the enjoyment of literature, enabling children to become lifelong, confident readers. As children begin to read, we focus on decoding, primarily through phonics in addition to other strategies, e.g. whole word recognition, rhyme and context. As children build fluency, comprehension skills become our main area of focus and are taught discreetly and as part of whole class guided reading lessons.

What does phonics look like at Broke Hall?

At Broke Hall Primary School, we intend to develop skills and confidence in reading, writing and communication. We believe that the teaching of phonics is vital for children to become competent readers and writers. We endeavour to teach phonics in a way that is lively, interactive and investigative. We aim for children to develop excellent phonic knowledge and skills along with an extensive and rich vocabulary.

Phonics is taught in a highly structured programme including daily 25-minute discreet phonics lessons across the Foundation Stage, Year 1 and Year 2.  We follow the Bug Club Phonics Scheme which provides a systematic, synthetic approach to the teaching of phonics.

For more information about the teaching of phonics, please visit our phonics page

What does reading look like at Broke Hall?

Early Years Foundation Stage

  •  The children in the Reception year are taught to read using a variety of strategies.
  • Through our daily literacy activities and the learning environment the children will acquire the fundamental phonic knowledge and skills they need to be confident in blending and decoding sounds and words.
  • Each phonics lesson will provide the children with opportunities in decoding.
  • Teachers and LSAs share picture and story books with the children throughout every day.
  • Resources used to support reading include the singing phonics songs, big books, story books, online resources, a variety of phonics games, flash cards and shared sentence construction.
  • Parents are engaged through regular comments in reading diaries, along with updates via Tapestry and information sessions organised by the Phonics Leader and Early Years Leader.
  • Reading books are changed frequently. The school currently uses a reading scheme linked closely to the phonics phases and units to ensure that pupils are given books matched to their developing phonics knowledge.
  • Once children have a reading book, they will read on a one-to-one basis with their teacher or an LSA as necessary; frequency is based on the assessment of progress of individual pupils.


  • When children move into KS1, they continue to participate in a daily phonics lesson in whole class groups.
  • Phonics lessons provide the children with the opportunity to practise the skills of decoding and blending as well as to recall sight vocabulary such as the tricky words.
  • These lessons are active, engaging and involve learning key sounds (phonemes) and their written representation (graphemes) using singing, interactive games and direct teacher input.
  • Additional booster groups are provided for those who need it to aim to ensure that no child is left behind in the development of their phonics knowledge.
  • Children learn to use phonic skills when reading and to apply their phonic skills to their written work. Specific skills for reading comprehension are explicitly taught and practised.
  • In Year 1, pupils will experience reading in small groups and as a whole class.
  • In Year 2, pupils take part in whole class guided reading sessions to further develop the skills required for reading via a wide range of texts.
  • Additional opportunities to develop reading are included during storytime (whole class) and the English lesson.
  • High utility words for Year 1 and Year 2 are explored each week using a variety of approaches.
  • When children have secure phonics knowledge and they are able to segment and blend words using the phase 2-5 GPCs, they are able to move onto reading books in the Oxford Reading Tree stages 6-11. Children will be closely monitored as they read these books and move onto the next stage when they are ready to do so.


  • Children’s independent reading is developed, reviewed and assessed using the Accelerated Reader programme along with regular quizzes.
  • Children also encounter a range of texts through whole class guided reading sessions, in which specific reading skills (e.g. understanding the meaning of words, summarising, inference and retrieval) are taught explicitly and practised.
  • During daily reading and English sessions, the children complete a range of reading activities. These include whole class reading, book reviews, dictionary and thesaurus work, library skills, reading for pleasure and completing quizzes using the Accelerated Reader software.
  • During reading sessions, there is an opportunity for each child to revisit and practise reading strategies and become involved in discussions about texts with the teacher and their peers.
  • Reading lessons in KS2 will follow the whole class guided reading approach. Children in each year group will have the opportunity to read and explore in depth a minimum of three high quality texts each year.
  • Each lesson will follow a planned, structured and differentiated approach in order to specifically teach the skills required for reading so that these skills are developed according to the school’s reading progression document.
  • To support the development of reading skills further, there are dedicated sessions which focus on specific areas of reading comprehension.
  • We ensure there is sufficient scaffold to support learners of all abilities and enable them to participate fully in the exploration of the text. Children have their own copy of the book to read and refer to during these sessions. 
  • We encourage children of all ages to read with increasing fluency and accuracy, and across a wide range of contexts, throughout the curriculum. Although comprehension is an important part of reading in school, we also emphasise the importance of reading for pleasure.
  • Pupils reading at home is celebrated and encouraged and this partnership with parents is documented in pupil reading records in KS1 and LKS2. In UKS2, Accelerated Reader is used as the primary way of tracking the amount of independent reading being completed at home.