Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Early Reading and Phonics at Limeside

Our reading pedagogy is grounded in the reading model provided by Scarborough (2001) and the ‘Reading Rope’ and enhanced by Cain et al’s (2011) Reading House - an understanding that ‘reading is the sum of many parts.  

We deliver a broad and balanced reading curriculum and reading for pleasure provides the context for all reading instruction and reading practice. We nurture literate identities and a love of reading. Our early reading curriculum provides our children with rich opportunities to develop language, phonics, knowledge about print and how books work. Reading comprehension is taught explicitly, practiced daily and, along with vocabulary, is a golden thread applied across all curriculum subjects. We are a family of readers, have a love of literature, and lose ourselves in a wide-range of high-quality texts. We talk about books, we think critically about books and we recommend books.


  • Reading – a golden thread across all curriculum subject
  • Read-Aloud – reading aloud to our children daily
  • Independent Reading – daily reading practise at just the right level and tracked through Accelerated Reader
  • Comprehension – taught daily following a VIPERS approach
  • Guided Reading – a small group approach for catch-up and closing the gap
  • Home Reading – pupils select from a range of texts at their easy level


  • Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised taught from the beginning of Reception to the end of Year 1
  • Phonics Catch-Up in Year 2 and KS2
  • Guided Reading using well-matched decodable books to develop decoding, prosody and comprehension
  • Home reading using Big Cat phonics e-library


  • Taught as a Golden Thread with specific pedagogy used in all lessons.
  • Traced, revisited and linked over both key stages.
  • Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary explicitly shared and taught using cognitive science to embed knowledge. 

How we teach phonics

We ensure children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. We follow the Little Wandle Foundations for phonics programme throughout the nursery year which provides a strong foundation for the love of reading. Phonics lessons intensify from Reception and from this point we follow Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Discrete phonics is taught daily, is whole class and commences from week 2 autumn 1. We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers. Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences), and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.

We know that Year 1 is a crucial year for literacy acquisition and our timetable reflects the time and intensity required for children at this stage of their development to catch-up, keep-up, and to close the gap. We continue to follow the Little Wandle programme and reading instruction is taught, guided and practised through decodable texts that follow a clear sequence of progression.

Any child who needs additional phonics practice has daily Keep-Up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.

The balance between the two skills of word recognition and language comprehension changes as children acquire decoding skills and progress from learning to read to reading to learn for information and pleasure. As teachers, our main priority should be to instil a love of reading, enthusing and motivating children to want to learn to read for pleasure, whilst working alongside teaching children to decode and encode.

Being able to read opens up the whole world for children. Being able to decode is only a part of reading. Wanting to read, wanting to find things out, wanting to find out what happens next, these are the behaviours that propel children to become readers hence the need to offer a balanced approach. Teachers are skilled in balancing decodable texts and natural language texts to guide reading and this will vary and is dependent on the amount of phonics practise children require.  

Blending and segmenting, recognising split digraphs, recognising tricky words by sight are essential elements of teaching early reading skills but you become a reader when you are driven to read out of a thirst for knowledge or out of a joy of being lost in a story. Just like we need air to breathe, children need to hear and read stories it is so vital to our development as complex human beings. Our phonics programme is therefore enhanced through a canon of high-quality stories and picture books, all of which are mapped and linked to our cumulative progression in phonics.

Our balanced approach ensures that children are exposed to a range of texts which ensures they develop a love of reading, their text experiences are wide, varied, interesting and engaging.

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