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‘Let your light shine.’ Matthew 5:16

Enabling children to flourish and succeed

Reading and Phonics


At Waltham-on-the-Wolds we want our children to become enthusiastic and engaged readers, and to develop a life-long love of books.


We introduce the children to a range of good quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books through reading to them and with them.


In the early stages of reading, we teach children to decode words using phonic skills as their main approach alongside teaching sight vocabulary. We use the Read Write Inc programme as our reading scheme to develop a systematic approach to learning how to read. Once grasped, the focus for developing reading is understanding and comprehension.


Children are taught the essential skills of reading (decoding and comprehension) whilst also using a rich and varied range of literature to further extend their knowledge and vocabulary. Our culture of reading helps children to foster a love of books and encourages them to read for pleasure.


We have a wide range of books that inspire children to learn to read; these are carefully matched to the children’s reading ability and interests. We also have a small but well-stocked library where the children can borrow books to enjoy and read at home as well as in school.


As part of our daily routine, each class enjoys stories or novels being read to them where they can dig deeper to find hidden meanings and to be transported into the world of that book. 

Our Reading Strategy


Our aim is that every child leaves Waltham-on-the-Wolds CE Primary School a confident, fluent reader who loves reading and has a reading age that at least matches their chronological age.


Our Approach to Reading


1. Daily Reading Lesson
* EY’s / Y1 – Daily  Read Write Inc Phonics Lessons.
* Y2 – Daily RWI / Reading lesson.

* KS2 – 30 mins Daily reading lessons with a focus on reading skills.

2. Children Read to Daily
* EY’s / KS1 / KS2 – Children are read to each day.


3. Reading For Pleasure
* Mini Libraries in each class of quality books to engage emotions; show diversity; show different perspectives; different genres; include favourites from previous years so all children can access.
* Key Stage 2 will undertake the ‘Starbooks’ Reading Challenge.


4. Reading Records
* Completed at home and in school to share the love of a new story.


5. Promote a Love of Reading
Teachers model a love of reading and are excited about books.
* A wide range of authors and genres are discussed.
* Opportunities to share books, opinions and authors.

* Special events / activities e.g. World book day, reading buddies.


6. Reading at Home
* Reading Books are sent home at least twice a week and if the books need changing more often, then they will be changed.

* EYFS / KS1 children take home a weekly picture book for the parent / carer to read and share with the child.
* Additional support will be given to children who don’t have this opportunity.


7. Reading Every Lesson
* Teaching sequences linked to quality texts and novels.
* Reading and interrogation of texts incorporated where possible into all lessons.
* Quality modelling and engaging with texts as a Historian, a Geographer, a Scientist, etc.


Catch Up


Some children may require additional support in Reading. This is achieved by:


  • EY’s / KS1 interventions in addition to normal Reading Strategies for the lowest 20%

         * Additional Phonics.
         * Small Group Work.


  • KS2 interventions in addition to normal Reading Strategies for the lowest 20%
    * Additional Phonics.

         * Better Reading Programme.
         * Small Group Work.
         * Small Group Book sharing to develop retrieval, inference and comprehension.


  • Vulnerable Groups
    * SEND children are heard reading by an adult at least 3 times a week (in addition to the normal Reading Strategies).
    * Diversity and Equality in all books.


  • Storytelling 
    * Opportunities for children to listen to, act out and discuss stories
    * Opportunities for children to tell stories.
    * Stories read by teachers, adults, authors, visitors (including audio books and Author     Zooms).

Read our full strategy here



At Waltham, phonics is taught daily to all children in Reception and Key Stage 1. We use the Read Write Inc programme to teach children the phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (how the sounds are written).


Our children learn 'pure sounds' and parents are encouraged to reinforce this at home.


The children are taught to read words by blending, which means saying each sound and then pushing all the sounds together to make a word. The children are taught to spell words by segmenting, which means sounding out words and writing down the sounds they can hear.


By the end of Reception children are expected to know all of set 1 sounds. Set 1 sounds are the initial letter ‘speed sounds’, which children are taught to recognise rapidly. They are taught in the following order: m, a, s, d, t, i, n, p, g, o, c, k, u, b, f, e, l, h, sh, r, j, v, y, w, th, z, ch, qu, x, ng, nk.


By the end of Year 1 all children are expected to know all set 2 and 3 sounds. When children progress to Set 2, they will learn more representations of the sounds (e.g. ay as in play, ee as in tree and igh as in high). Every sound has a list of green words linked to it, so your child can ‘sound out’ and ‘blend’ words containing the new sound they have just learnt (for example s-p-r-ay = spray). 


When learning their Set 3 sounds, they will be taught that there are alternative graphemes for each sound, e.g. ee as in tree and ea as in tea.


The children then move away from learning sounds and focus on spelling rules and patterns.


At the end of Year 1 all children in England take a test called a ‘Phonics Screening Check’. They have to read 40 real and nonsense words. We call them nonsense words or ‘Alien words’ and the children practise reading them every day.


Each child in Reception and Yr1 has a daily, minimum 20-30 minute phonics lesson. In Yr2, children access a balance of both phonics and spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) lessons based on their individual needs and attainment.


Reception and KS1 children are either taught in small groups, based on regular assessments so that children’s learning needs are accurately matched to the correct provision. Additional small phonic sessions or interventions are delivered by teaching assistants and overseen by the class teacher, to provide complimentary teaching.

Any child that does not complete the phonics programme will continue learning phonics throughout Year 3/4 during interventions.


Find out more information on the Read Write Inc website by following the links below:


  • Read Write Inc Phonics - reading and writing kits developed for parents who want to support their child’s phonics learning at home.
  • How To Videos - a series of videos to help parents better understand how phonics is taught in school.
  • Reading at Home - advice for parents on supporting children at home.


From Year 2 to Year 6, our comprehensive spelling programme combines the teaching and application of spelling rules and patterns with elements of punctuation and grammar appropriate to their ability and age.


Older children are set weekly spelling lists to learn, based on their spelling focus in class. These are tested on a weekly basis.


Find out more information in the documents below:


Pure Sounds

Still image for this video
Learn how to correctly pronounce the pure sounds your children learn in school.


Home Reading and Reading for Pleasure


Developing readers will bring home levelled books each week. Independent readers will bring home self-selected books from their book corner or the library. Please spend time reading with and talking to your child about what they read, and help them to use their reading record to record their enjoyment of reading.


Below are recommended reading lists for each year group.


Please visit Books for Topics  for more suggested reading and the Oxford Owl website which has over 100 free e-books for you to enjoy with your child.


There are more ideas in our children's section:


Summer Reading Challenge


The Summer Reading Challenge, presented by The Reading Agency, is delivered in partnership with public libraries and funded by Arts Council England. The Challenge encourages children aged 4 to 11 to enjoy the benefits of reading for pleasure over the summer holidays, providing lots of fun as well as helping to prevent the summer reading ‘dip’.


Each year the Challenge motivates over 700,000 children to keep reading to build their skills and confidence.


This year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme is Gadgeteers, created in partnership with Science Museum Group and illustrated by top children’s writer and illustrator Julian Beresford.


This year’s theme ‘Gadgeteers’ will spark children’s curiosity about the world around them. With resources and activities from the Science Museum Group, the Challenge focuses on inspiring children to see the science and innovation behind everyday objects, showing that reading and science are for everyone.


The Challenge and the accompanying book collection will show that imagination can unlock endless possibilities, and the library is where this starts. Through taking part in the Challenge, with free packs from public libraries or on the children’s website, children will be able to join six fictional ‘Gadgeteers.’ The characters use their curiosity and wonder to understand the science behind a whole range of interests from fashion and technology to cooking and music.


The Challenge will launch in libraries in Scotland and N.I. on Saturday 25 June and in England and Wales on Saturday 9 July. Children can also join in the fun online, here on the official Challenge website.

World Book Day 2022

The Redmile Reader

Celebrate Black History Month All Year Round by Reading some Wonderful Books

Lovemybooks is for parents, carers, teachers, schools, and early years staff, created by literacy experts. Free and ad free with over 250 activity pages full of creative book-based ideas.


Click on the picture below to be taken straight to the website.


Wild World Heroes, Summer Reading Challenge 2021

Take part by visiting your local library or complete the challenge on-line. Go wild for reading with the Summer Reading Challenge! Join the Wild World Heroes for a summer reading adventure and discover how you can help take care of o...