Olton Primary School

Learning Together, Achieving More

Early Reading

“You can find magic wherever you look.  Sit back and relax all you need is a book!” – Dr. Seuss



Our key aims are to ensure that children are able to read accurately, fluently and with understanding, and that they develop a life long love of reading, being able to read for pleasure and for information.


In line with the EYFS statutory framework and National Curriculum Programmes of Study for reading at Key Stage 1 and 2 which consist of word reading and comprehension, through our reading curriculum we seek to develop children’s phonemic awareness, phonic ability,  fluency, vocabulary and  language and reading comprehension.



Research informs us that systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) is the best way to teach children to decode.  We use a structured programme called Read Write Inc (RWI) in the summer term of Nursery, and then throughout Reception, Year 1 and for those children who take longer to crack the phonic code, into Year 2 and Year 3.  We use RWI as a basis for our direct teaching of early reading and writing. 


In Read Write Inc. Phonic lessons, children learn to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension skills.  They do this by decoding letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills.  


They learn to form each letter, spell correctly, and compose their own ideas step-by-step. 



Read Write Inc. is for:

  • Pupils in Reception and Year One
  • Any children in Year two who need a little extra time to catch up.


In Read Write Inc. Phonics, children:

  • Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills
  • Read common exception words by sight
  • Understand what they read
  • Read aloud with fluency and expression
  • Write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
  • Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
  • Acquire good handwriting


In addition we teach children to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning.  This provokes the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as children’s poor articulation or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.


Teaching and Learning


Throughout the programme, children learn the English alphabetic code: the 150+ graphemes that represent 44 speech sounds.  Children will rapidly learn sounds and the letter, or groups of letters they need to represent them, in three sets of Speed Sound Lessons.  Simple and enjoyable mnemonics help all children to grasp the letter-sound correspondences quickly, especially those who are at risk of making slower progress or those who are new to learning English.  This knowledge is taught and consolidated every day.  High frequency words that are not phonically regular are taught as ‘red’ words and are practised frequently.


Lively phonic books are closely matched to children’s increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘red’ words so that, early on, they experience plenty of success.  Repeated readings of the texts support their increasingly fluent decoding.


A thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion help teachers ensure that children comprehend what they are reading.



We group children homogeneously, according to their progress in reading.  We make sure within their groups, children read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and common exception words.  This is so that, early on they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers.  Within their groups the children read the books three times.  On the first read, children focus on accurate word reading; the second, on developing fluency; and the third, on comprehension.  Fluency and comprehension increase with each repeated reading.   Re-reading and discussing these books with the Read Write Inc. each supports their increasing fluent decoding and understanding.



Children learn to:

  • Read new sounds and review previously taught sounds;
  • Sound out the names of characters and unfamiliar words;
  • Understand the meaning of new words;
  • Read the story (first read)



Children learn to:

  • Read the words in the story speedily;
  • Track the story, ‘jumping in’ when the teacher hesitates;
  • Read the story with increased speed (second read).



Children learn to:

  • Predict the outcome, after listening to a story introduction;
  • Discuss and compare key moments in the story;
  • Read the story with a storyteller’s voice (third read);
  • Answer questions about the story;
  • Read the same story at home;

We assess the impact of our phonics scheme using the Read Write Inc. assessments.  Children are assessed and grouped according to their phonic knowledge.  Each child reads books that match their phonic knowledge.  Ongoing assessments means that groups are constantly adjusted to ensure the best progress for each child. 


To ensure and develop learning, pupils will be continually assessed using a variety of strategies:

  • Formative assessment- observation, questioning, marking of written work.
  • Summative assessment – children are assessed at the end of each half term.


Assessment information is recorded using the Read Write Inc. assessments tracked half termly.  These are then scrutinised by the subject leader to inform new groups for the next half term and are used to identify children for one-to-one tutoring and support.

Parent video: What is Read Write Inc Phonics

Parent video: Understanding Phonics

Parent video: How to say the sounds

Language Rich Environment


We want children to love listening to and joining in with stories, nursery rhymes and poems right from the start of Nursery.  We have identified which nursery rhymes, songs and poems children will learn in Nursery, Reception and Year 1.  We have also carefully chosen, throughout school, starting in Nursery, which stories children will listen to and get to know well – our Book Spine.   We have daily story time sessions, where children listen to a range of stories and through these, develop a bank of stories that pupils enjoy listening to again and again. Also in Nursery and Reception, we have purchased Yoto player which allow children to select a book card and listen to their favourite stories being read to them. 

Parent video: Why read to your child?

Parent video: 10 things to think about when you read to your child