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Click on the image to find out more about reading in our Reading Policy

Early Reading & Phonics

At Carmountside Primary Academy, we strive to teach children to read effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme (RWI) which includes teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words as well as spelling and accurate letter formation.

We passionately believe that teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary school. These fundamental skills not only hold the keys to the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances.

When your child is learning to read there are two crucial things to learn:

  • the sounds represented by written letters
  • how to blend the sounds together to make words.

Synthetic Phonics is a way of teaching reading.

Children are taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sound(s) they represent – Children can then start to read words by blending (synthesising) the sounds together to make a word.

At Carmountside we teach phonics through a programme called 'Read Write Inc Phonics'. This is a fun, interactive programme where the children can practise blending and segmenting letters to make words, and practise their letter formation skills. 

Click on the Read Write Inc Phonics picture below to find out more:


Click the 'phonics' image below to find out how we teach the children to pronounce the letter sounds in phonics.


In Key Stage 2 we teach reading by each year group studying a whole class quality text together.

Core texts have been chosen specifically for each year group. Year on year the texts will become harder, more demanding and longer. Using a whole class book develops reading stamina as well as the love of reading as children are able to really know the book and characters. If possible the text links to and is a ‘hook’ for the Learning Challenge or Science topic but the most important thing is the quality of the book. The quality of the text determines the level of engagement and opportunities for deep thinking. Teaching of Reading through a quality class text means that the teacher can plan activities which allow children to access reading skills. It also allows the teacher to work with the children that need it the most at that time. Differentiation can be achieved in many ways: the difficulty of the text the children are working on; the questions the teacher is asking them; the level of support they are receiving. The outcome of the lesson can be oral or written. Teaching the whole class the same objective allows the teacher to focus on one objective in depth and better prepare children for the expectation of written responses at the end of KS2.

Developing an atmosphere of a ‘Book Club’ is crucial for successful whole class reading and ensures children are engaged and ‘excited’ about the book they are studying. Talk/discussion, sharing opinions and beliefs about the reading is crucial. Oral practicing and rehearsal of answers to questions is crucial before any written answers take place. The teacher models how to read, fluency and the skills being taught during the sessions. A lot of practice of reading and discussion of the text happens before any writing.


Keep Up Not Catch Up!

At Carmountside we want all our children to become lifelong readers and specifically to leave our school being fluent readers whom understand and enjoy what they are reading. We identify those who are at risk of falling behind their peers immediately- whatever their age. Priority is placed on reading to enable all children to access the curriculum. It may take longer but every child needs to master the alphabetic code.

All interventions will closely link to the programmes in place. RWI is used across KS1 and some of our children in KS2 remain part of that programme if their phonic development requires it. Children are regularly assessed in RWI with the aim to take them off the programme (in KS2) as quickly as possible in order to access the curriculum. Where a child has specific reading difficulties it may be appropriate for them to remain on the RWI programme, taught in small groups whilst their class does Whole Class reading. Some children may also require daily one-to-one tutoring to enable them to ‘keep up’.

Other interventions such as ‘Switch On Reading’ and ‘Better Reading’ may also be used to advance children’s reading.

Reading Books

Children who are on the Read Write Inc programme will take home a copy of the Read Write Inc book they are currently reading in class or the book they read the week before. This book is carefully matched to the child's ability and its familiarity means children can practice their accuracy and fluency of reading.

A Book Bag book is also taken home. These books are closely matched to the existing Read Write Inc. Phonics Storybooks to reinforce childrens classroom learning of phonics at the appropriate level, helping them to make even faster progress in reading. Read Write Inc. Phonics Book Bag Books fit into the existing Read Write Inc. timetable, providing an additional opportunity for structured practice.

Please ensure children bring their book bags every Wednesday when reading books will be changed by your child's reading teacher.

As children progress from Read Write Inc onto other books, they will be benchmarked to ensure their books continue to match their reading ability. 

Reading Across the Curriculum

Reading in subjects other than English provides an excellent opportunity for children to put into practise what they have learnt. We particularly use reading widely across the curriculum to help children with their vocabulary development. The texts selected in our curriculum have been carefully chosen to serve different purposes, depending on how they will be used within the curriculum. Some of the texts are our core texts e.g. they are explored through Book Talk, studied for their grammatical features and used to inspire writing. Others have been selected to support the core text e.g. non-fiction texts used to research a historical or geographical aspect of the story.

The benefits for children from reading information books and science/geography/history/etc -rich story books are:

  • the learning of information and ideas, with real-life examples which raise pupils' awareness of the wider reach of the subject
  • the learning of skills and of what it means to, for example, ‘work scientifically’ as many books include practical examples and suggestions for investigations
  • promoting an interest in different subjects and fuelling curiosity and a sense of wonder
  • increasing the possibility that children will continue to engage with certain subjects beyond school.
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