Reading and Phonics

At Clifton Green, we firmly acknowledge the pivotal role of reading in the educational success of our pupils. It serves as a cornerstone for nurturing rich vocabulary, influencing high quality writing and it also provides a gateway to success across other subjects. But more than this, we aspire for our children to cultivate a genuine passion for reading; one that unlocks a world brimming with adventures and opportunities! Within our school, reading is woven into the fabric of daily life. Children experience the joy of being read to, indulge in ‘Reading for Pleasure’ and actively participate in insightful discussions about books

We use a book-based approach in our English curriculum which develops reading comprehension and writing composition, whilst also fostering a whole school love of reading and writing. We have used our extensive knowledge of our pupils, community and our curriculum to carefully select core texts for each class to be studied in depth. We look for books that broaden children’s horizons; deal with sensitive or difficult issues; offer a diversity that our context does not offer; and for books that are fun, exciting or just wonderful! These are identified in our Reading Spine documents. 

Please click on the links below to view the Reading Spine for each year group:

Coming soon…

Reading for Pleasure

Reading for Pleasure is an important part of our reading offer here at Clifton Green. We ensure children develop a love of reading and are exposed to a range of interesting and relevant authors. We promote a love of reading in the following ways:

  • Whole class reading sessions which include a range of books that are mapped out to ensure children have a rich reading diet, vocabulary is explicitly taught and children can learn key phrases in the book.
  • Book areas within the classroom which have a careful selection of books, including books by the focus author.
  • Teaching of poetry, which includes performing and learning a range of poems by heart using ‘Poetry Basket’.
  • Daily storytime.
  • Use of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised ‘Foundations for a Love of Reading’ stories in nursery.
  • Alongside children’s decodable reading book, children also take home a reading for pleasure book each week. In each year group,  children will take home a range of book by authors, including some which they have read in class.
  • ‘Going for Gold’ reading incentive for reading at home.


We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised DfE validated Phonics programme to plan and provide daily, engaging Phonics lessons. In Phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent different sounds and that these can be used in a variety of combinations and put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing.

Our Phonics teaching starts in Nursery and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, we aim for all our children to be able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. At Clifton Green, we also model these strategies in shared Reading and Writing activities, both inside and outside of the Phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on the development of language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for Reading and Writing in all subjects.


How we teach Phonics and Early Reading in Early Years and Key Stage 1

  • In Nursery, children follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised ‘Foundations for Phonics’ guidance. The focus is on daily oral blending and language development through high quality stories and rhymes. They also use ‘Singing Phonics’ to enrich and develop oral blending skills, listening and attention.
  • In Reception and Y1, children follow the progression within the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday.
  • Phonics starts in Reception in week 2 to ensure the children make a strong start. Lessons start at 15 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing quickly to 30 minutes. By the end of Reception, children will have been taught up to the end of Phase 4. 
  • By the end of Year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of Phase 5. Year 1 lessons are 30-45 minutes long.
  • Children in Year 2 recap any gaps in their phonics knowledge in the autumn term.

Reading practice sessions

  • Children across Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (and beyond if appropriate) apply their phonic knowledge by using a fully matched decodable reading book in a small group reading practice session.
  • These sessions are 10-15 minutes long and happen three times a week. There are approximately 6 children in a group.
  • The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. 
  • The children then take the same book home to ensure success is shared with the family.
  • In Reception, these sessions start in week 4. Children who are not yet blending take a wordless book home.

How do we assess phonic knowledge?

  • In Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned) and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment.
  • Children identified as at risk of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – these sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
  • In Reception and Year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker.
  • Children in Year 1 complete the statutory Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
  • Children who do not meet standard in the Phonics Screening Check in Y1, will complete this in Y2. Support continues to be put in place for these children.

How you can help support Phonics at home:

If you are a parent/carer and you would like more information about how to support your child with Phonics at home, please follow the link below to find the Reception and Year 1 overview, as well as videos of the sound pronunciations, letter formation sheets and other helpful resources. Children may also like to access the games and activities available on the Phonics Play website (see link below). 

If your child is in Year 1 and you would like to know more about the statutory Phonics Screening Check, please watch the video below:

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