Silkmore Primary Academy

Reading and Phonics


At Silkmore Primary Academy, we believe that reading is fundamental to each child’s education and underpins the success of becoming great communicators, readers, and writers. We facilitate this by putting reading as the epicentre to their education. Children are exposed to a breadth of texts through our engaging library; reading rich environments within the classroom; daily reading sessions and daily shared story time. Our staff promote a love of reading and encourage this within our children. We carefully select our whole class texts for each year group to ensure children build a literacy heritage from quality texts which promotes access to interesting and meaningful texts.

We believe that reading is a ticket to a successful and fulfilled future and ensure that each child will be able to read fluently, and with confidence, to support their forthcoming secondary education.

As a school, we are committed to developing a deep engagement and understanding of the six elements of reading.

These six elements are:





-communication and language

-love of reading



  • For all children to enjoy the pleasures of reading
  • For all children to become fluent and expressive readers
  • For all children to become independent and reflective readers
  • For all children to be exposed to a range of quality texts
  • For children to have developed a literacy heritage and an enhanced vocabulary range
  • For children to be confident in understanding texts
  • For all children to have an expanded imaginations and have a range of experiences through books
  • For children to be given the tools to decode words through the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics (Reception and Year 1) with half-termly assessments to ensure progress
  • For older children to be taught phonics who are at risk of not being able to read so they are able to decode words




Why Reading Matters

Reading transforms the human brain, which transforms the mind, which transforms the life of every reader.” Maryanne Wolf

Some children will start school with the exposure of millions more words than another child, mainly through a language-rich exposure through talk and books from home. Regardless of a child’s early experience, if they are taught to read systematically from the day they start school it will dramatically impact on their literacy development subsequently positively impacting their future life and their contribution to society. Children need to be taught to read and encouraged to keep reading.


  • Daily songs/rhymes with repetitive vocabulary for children to join in with
  •  Regular reading of books (at least twice daily) to share the enjoyment of reading and the joy of immersion in reading life
  • Regular book related talk, including the vocabulary within the text, to support them in developing their understanding of books and across the curriculum
  • Emphasis on spoken language both with peers and high-quality dialogue between teacher and child, underpinning the aim of reducing the gap between children from language rich homes and others
  • Re-reading stories allows the child another chance to explore the vocabulary and relate to the text
  • Role-play designed to develop spoken language and broaden vocabularly


Our pupils learn to read and write effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics program

Read Write Inc. Phonics The program is for:

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

  • Read common exception words on 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 pupils to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as pupils’ poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.

We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading rather than their writing. This is because it is known that pupils’ progress in writing will lag behind progress in reading, especially for those whose motor skills are less well developed.

In Year R we emphasise the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly. This is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress. This learning is consolidated daily. Pupils have frequent practice in reading high frequency words with irregular spellings – common exception words.

 We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding.

 Alongside this, the teachers read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils; they are soon able to read these texts for themselves.

Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud until they are confident to write independently. We make sure they write every day. Pupils write at the level of their spelling.

Reading for Pleasure

Children who enjoy reading and continue to read will positively impact their future education and life. Making sure children become engaged with reading from the beginning is the most important way to have an impact on their life. To encourage this at Silkmore Primary Academy we will:

  • Expose the children to an engaging range of quality texts

  • Read to each child, every day

  • Have discussions about books

  • Share our personal preferences and enjoyment of texts

  • Reward their engagement with books through a gift of a book (Book Vending Machine)

  • Populate their classrooms ‘Mini-Libraries’ with quality, engaging texts

  • Have weekly visits to the school library so they can select a book to take home and share with family

  • All children are signed up to the local library and visit as a class twice a year
  • Half-termly virtual author visits and the text added to their mini-library to access

Guided Reading

At Silkmore we do daily Guided Reading sessions from Y2 to Y6 to ensure children are exposed to a range of quality texts, engage in quality dialogue around language and vocabularly and share thoughts and ideas, ensuring books are central to their education.

 Our guided reading sessions focus on developing fluency through a modelled, shared, echo and partner reading process to build prosody and confidence in their reading. Vocabularly is explicitly taught and comprehension facilitated through opportunities for high quality dialogue. 

Guided Reading sessions are underpinned by a focus on high-quality dialogue between both peers and teacher to pupil to extend pupils thinking and provide opportunities to explore themes and concepts in depth. This is facilitated by providing a safe space to discuss ideas and move learning on through effective questioning and assessment. 

Developing Talk

Becoming skilled, fluent readers starts at the earliest of stages and exposing children to conversations and vocabulary

  • children are read to every day

  • in EYFS and KS1, children join in with rhymes and songs

  • we have discussions with children throughout the day, modelling high expectations of vocabulary

  • we promote language rich environments to ensure that children continue to be exposed to new vocabulary

  • we ‘magpie’ new vocabulary and explore the meaning before adding it to our vocabulary display

  • thinking out loud, modelling new language for children

  • paying close attention to what children say

  • rephrasing and extending what children say-validating children’s attempts at using new vocabulary

  • deliberately connecting current and past events ‘do you remember when…?’

  • helping children articulate in well-formed sentences

  • Using ‘talk to your partner’ in all sessions to ensure all children are engaging in discussion

We will avoid asking children to take turns in coming up to the board, reading words, taking feedback from individual children or playing games which involves taking turns to ensure all children are participating at all times.

Spoken Language/Language Rich Environments

A language-rich environment is one in which adults talk with children throughout the day. The more children take part in conversations, the more they will understand once they can read and the more vocabulary and ideas they will have to draw on when they can write.

  • High quality dialogue between teacher and student throughout the day

  • Opportunities for peer discussion encouraged to articulate their understanding and share ideas-talking in partners and giving feedback-avoid ‘hands up’ so as not

  • Opportunities for group work and discussion to share ideas and build on others vocabulary

  • Reducing the noise of classrooms to enable children the chance to concentrate and engaging with reading and writing

Story Time

At Silkmore we prioritise reading and ensure every child is read to every day during our shared story time. Children are exposed to quality, thought-provoking texts (see book list) and are read to in an expressive, engaging way. Teachers will breathe life into the words to captivate the children’s interest and promote a love of reading. Children will emphasise their personal love/excitement for the text and introduce the text before commencing reading. In classes where the text will be re-read (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2), on the first read, the children will have been told the name of the author and the title, and the story has been introduced, the reading should start: ‘This is a story about Amir, whose dad gives him advice on how to deal with a monster under his bed.’ The first reading should be left to weave its own magic, with no questions, no explanations and no requests for the children to predict what might happen. On the second reading, asides, voices and actions can explain the meanings of new words in context. If the story is read aloud in a similar way each time, the children can gradually join in with particular words and phrases, and even respect the pauses.

Mini Libraries

Each classroom will have a mini library, to showcase the most important aspect of the area, the books. Time is spent carefully selecting, displaying and promoting books to make sure it is the books themselves which capture the children. This is a place for children to browse the best books, revisit the ones that the teacher has read to them, and borrow books to read or retell at home.

​Home Readers


  • RWI Book Back Books-correlating to their phonics learning to ensure they are decodable
  • Ebook of their RWI session book- to practise reading (assigned by teacher)
  • Library Book (non-decoable)-to share with a family member at home-encouraging relationships and a love of reading

Whilst children are learning to read (pre-ditties) they will be assigned an ebook for blending alongside their library book to share with family


  • Book band book (loosely guided to ensure children are not limited with their choices)
  • Access to Oxford Reading Buddy to select from a range of ebooks
  • Library book-to read alone or to share with a family member

Home School Diaries

Home school diaries are given to each child to enhance communication between home and school. When children are heard read the staff member with provide and constructive comment which can be shared with parents. The comment will praise the reading skills identified and provide developmental next steps. Parents/carers can also record when a child has read at home and leave a comment.

Extra Support

To ensure all children can keep up, children in need of extra support/practice will be identified by their phonics assessments and will be allocated an intervention during pupil-progress meetings. This includes children in KS2 to ensure rapid progress and that the word-rich difference does not get wider.

Interventions will be facilitated as set out in the Pupil Progress Meetings by a staff member trained in RWI and in a calm, quiet area.

Teachers will prioritise the lowest 20% of readers to ensure no one is left behind and all children become readers.

Language Comprehension

Within Reception and Year 1, reading comprehension is entwinned in the RWI sessions, relating to the book they have learnt to decode.

With a strong start in reading and readers becoming more fluent, teachers can then spend more times developing children’s comprehension and written composition.

Texts to be shared in each year group to build a literacy heritage of quality texts for each child to promote access to interesting and meaningful reading materials.

Click here to see the exciting and quality texts children are exposed to during their time at Silkmore Primary Academy

Parents and Carers

We invite parents/carers in for regular parents’ evenings to discuss their child’s progress and we hold parent workshops to support parents with how they can help their children read at home and communicate the importance of teaching children to read.  


Reading and Phonics 

There’s no friend as loyal as a book…

Ernest Hemingway


Please contact Mrs R.Trickett, Phonics and Reading Lead at Silkmore Primary Academy, for further information on reading or phonics.