Early Reading and Phonics

Statement of Intent

We aim to plant a love of reading in every pupil throughout their time at Heddington so that they may harvest enjoyment. We do this through the creative use of high quality texts and a range of engaging activities which not only promotes a love of reading but provides the foundation for communication and language as well as writing.  Teachers are reading role models in the way that they discuss and promote books as well as modelling reading for pleasure. We wish to demonstrate to them that through reading, they are able to escape into other worlds, where they can dream and experience differences in environments and cultures alternative to their own. Children are encouraged to be independent in their book choices with regular access to the wide range of books in the school library in both Key stages 1 and 2, teaching and inspiring them to broaden their understanding of the world, themselves and their spirituality. We believe children become excellent, motivated readers through being exposed to a rich range of authors and illustrators. 

We teach children both how to learn to read and to read to learn. Learning to read focuses on the teaching of phonics, being able to decode and blend sounds. Reading to learn focuses on the reciprocal reading skills children require to read for pleasure and to develop subject knowledge. These skills are taught explicitly in our daily guided reading lessons, in groups or whole class. We plan our English lessons around high quality core texts, which also link to the topics and themes for that term.

What do we want Children to Gain from Early Reading and Phonics?

We want children to…

  • Become enthusiastic and motivated readers
  • Have confidence in reading a wide variety of genres and text types
  • Have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently with understanding of what they have read.
  • Have a love of literature and an enjoyment of reading for pleasure
  • Use texts to provoke thought and spark imagination.

How we Implement

How we Implement Reading

We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children.


To see our Little Wandle presentation to parents, please click here.


There are some videos below that might be useful at home. Please speak to us if you need any help or support though. 


Support for parents - tricky words - FS2 Autumn Term

Support for parents - tricky words - FS2 Spring Term

Support for parents - tricky words - FS2 Summer Term

Support for parents - tricky words - Year 1

Support for parents - tricky words - SEND Phases 2 - 5

Support for parents - tricky words - Rapid catch up

Early reading and phonics

In the early stages of reading children’s phonics knowledge is developed through daily phonics lessons. As a school we follow ‘Little Wandle’ which is a rigorous, easy-to-use systematic synthetic phonics teaching programme for early reading and writing success. Children in foundation stage and key stage one have daily phonics sessions where they are taught sounds, blending, segmenting, grapheme-phoneme correspondences and letter formation through carefully planned interactive lessons. There are also plenty of opportunities for children to apply their phonic skills throughout the day as well as at home.

Along side our phonics teaching, we use reading VIPERS (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve and Sequence/Summarise) across the school to teach key reading skills. Children also have the opportunity to apply their reading skills at home by regularly taking home, phonetically decodable books that are carefully matched to their current level of reading development. Children in foundation stage and key stage one also take home their phonics folder so that they are able to review and apply the phonics learning they have been doing in school at home. Children across the school are also encouraged to take home a reading book chosen from the library to share at home and read for pleasure.


Please click here to see the teaching sequence for phonics

How we Assess Impact

Our Early Reading and Phonics Co-ordinator is Mr Humphries