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Poplars Community Primary School

Courage, Honesty, Aspiration, Kindness, Collaboration

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Phonics & Reading


We endeavour to teach children to read independently, as quickly as possible, and believe this is one of the core purposes of a primary school. These fundamental skills not only hold the key to the rest of the curriculum, with 75% of vocabulary coming from reading, but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances.  


We teach children to read effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme (RWI), which is delivered in small groups, tightly focused on current attainment in reading. It incorporates the teaching of synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words as well as spelling and accurate letter formation.  


We teach pupils to:  

  • Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills 

  • Read ‘tricky’ words on sight  

  • Understand what they read 

  • Read aloud with fluency and expression  

  • Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words 


Alongside this children in KS1 and KS2 learn how to comprehend text in discreet Reading lessons, using a range of texts and genres. The texts used are often short extracts. The focus is to develop skills to become complete readers, including knowledge of decoding, skimming, scanning, comprehension, fluency and prosody. As children move through KS2, they are taught to become more analytical as readers – being aware of authorial intent and the implication of historical and cultural context on a piece of writing. A progressive, detailed curriculum ensures all areas of content domain are covered through the year and this is built upon, with clear progression from Y1-6. 


To compliment this, we ensure children are read to, enjoy, discuss and work with a set of core books. These ‘essential reads’ are a store of classics, creating a living library inside a child’s mind. This is the ‘Reading Spine’. 


We believe great books build the imagination. The more children read aloud expressively, the more children are able to savour, discuss and reinterpret literature through the arts, the more memorable the characters, places and events become, building an inner world. Each book develops the imagination and equips the reader with language. Great stories speak to us as individuals and some children will return to certain books again and again. Reading develops the ability to think in the abstract; to follow lines of thought.  


Our reading curriculum is further complimented with varied opportunities to both use books as a vehicle for learning and further promote a love of reading. Experiences include: The Big Read, taking part in World Book Day and World Poetry Day, Bedtime Stories and English themed days.   


Read Write Inc. is taught from Nursery through KS1, or until the programme is completed.  

RWI is taught in: 
Nursery – children are introduced to RWI 
Reception to Year 2 – children are taught in groups closely linked to reading ability 
KS2 children who have not yet completed the programme 


A daily one hour lesson for KS1 is complimented with a book to take home which is carefully matched to ensure children are able to read fluently and confidently. Phonics packs and teaching videos are sent home with children who need extra support and communication with parents supports children to access this. Children are also encouraged to choose a library book of interest, promoting a love of reading. As children progress on their reading journey, books are selected independently, from a range matched to their reading ability. This ensures children enjoy the books they read. 


In addition KS1 and KS2 children have discreet Reading lessons, to develop reading comprehension. A range of text and genres are used. Clear progression mapping and half termly reading outcomes are in place to ensure progression.  


Time is allocated for all children to read to an adult weekly, giving the opportunity for even the most confident readers time to read out loud and talk about reading with an adult. Reading levels/genres read are carefully tracked to ensure books are appropriately matched and children are exposed to range of authors and genres.  


We have a well-stocked library and a weekly timetabled slot for all classes. In addition, the library is open during lunchtime and children are encouraged to use the library. 

All classes have a class reader which are read to children by an adult. Choices are inspired by children’s interests and chosen carefully. In addition to this we have a school Reading and Poetry Spine. 


Across the year, we utilise both formative and summative assessments to ensure we have ongoing information about children’s word reading and comprehension skills. These assessments inform our planning, provide clarity around children’s next steps and identify children in need of targeted interventions. Alongside teachers assessing children formatively throughout the year through reading lessons and 1:1 reading, we also assess in the following ways: 


  • RWI assessments are completed half termly and children are regrouped where necessary to ensure they continue to make progress. Assessment may also be carried out between these assessment points if a child is making rapid progress or needs further consolidation.  

  • In KS2, Speed Reading Assessments are carried out termly with all children. 

  • At the end of each term, PIXL assessments or previous SATs tests (in Y2 and 6) are used and a QLA carried out to support teacher assessment and identify reading priorities for the next term.  

  • Statutory tests are taken (phonics screening in Year 1, KS1 SATs and KS2 SATs) and results reported and used to inform whole school reading priorities.  


Through our Reading curriculum children will: 

  • be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning  

  • be able to read fluently both for pleasure and to further their learning 

  • be able to succeed in all English lessons because learning will be appropriately scaffolded  

  • have a wide vocabulary and be adventurous with vocabulary choices  

  • make good and better progress from their starting points 

  • build a good knowledge of core books 


Assessment and Monitoring in English:  

  • Lesson observations, book monitoring and learning walks. 

  • Skills progression evident in children’s books. 

  • Bespoke CPD for teachers, in response to monitoring. 

  • Gathering pupil voice – to check understanding, understanding of key skills and knowledge, progression, confidence in discussing English. 

  • Moderating pupils work in school and in cluster meetings with other schools to ensure accurate assessments are made. 

  • Tracking pupils’ progress each half term in Reading through summative assessment. 

  • Check for Understanding used as a formative assessment tool and informs subsequent planning and intervention.  

  • Pupil progress meetings ensure different groups (including EAL, PP and SEND) and individual progress is monitored, and interventions organised to support good and better progress. 

  • Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support reading at home, and contribute regularly to home-school records.