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Elmhurst School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust

Phonics and Early Reading

"I like it when other people read us stories but I also like reading by myself as it helps me to get better at my reading and I can use my Phonics to help." - Year 2 Child

Curriculum Intent

We ensure that every one of our pupils can read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities and we have a relentless drive to succeed in this mission.​

We want children to aspire to become authors, publishers, editors, librarians and proof readers as well as becoming avid lovers of reading.  

We are aiming for every child to be a successful and thoughtful reader.  Children 'learn to read' so they can 'read to learn'.  Reading underpins children’s access to the curriculum and it clearly impacts on their achievement. This is why we are so passionate about it.  Children who enjoy reading and choose to read benefit not only academically, but also socially and emotionally.


We introduce children to Phase 1 Phonics in Nursery and we build upon this with daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1.  We are aiming for 95% of our children to leave Year 1 as confident readers who enjoy reading, having passed their Phonics Screening check.   


Enabling our youngest readers to read successfully allows children to creatively build upon these basic skills as they become more fluent readers.

Curriculum Implementation

To be able to read, children need to be taught an efficient strategy to decode words through daily phonics lessons. It is essential that children are actively taught and supported to use phonics from the start of their reading journey in Nursery as the only approach to decoding. We understand that phonic decoding skills must be practised until children become automatic and fluent reading is established.


Fluent decoding is only one component of reading. Comprehension skills need to be taught to enable children to make sense of what they read, build on what they already know and give them a desire to want to read.


Reading increases children’s vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Furthermore, children who read widely and frequently also have more secure general knowledge. 


We follow the Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme 'Little Wandle: Letters & Sounds Revised' for the teaching and learning of Phonemic Awareness and Phonics in Reception and Year 1. We understand the importance of ensuring that every one of our pupils can read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities and have a relentless drive to succeed in this mission. A strong to start to developing phonemic awareness is essential to give children the skills needed to read independently.  The children receive daily phonics lessons and Reading Practise Sessions 3 x a week. 


We have ensured that our phonics teaching and learning informs our 'Big Cat Collins' reading book scheme.  Phase 2, 3, 4 & 5 'Big Cat Collins' books are fully decodable and show a culminative progression in phonics which match our 'Little Wandle' SSP programme.  All staff are aware of the reading stage expectations for each year group and robust assessment systems are in place to ensure we accelerate learning and respond quickly to children not meeting the expected standard. Keep Up support is provided to children in Reception and Year 1 who have gaps in their learning. Children who require phonics support in KS2 follow Little Wandles 'Rapid Catch Up' programme. 


Through prioritising budget on Early Reading and Phonics we are confident that our school is well resourced and equipped for the teaching and learning of 'Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds Revised' and the systematic reading of 'Big Cat Collins' phonics books.  We work hard to ensure that all of our children have access to stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction to develop their vocabulary, language comprehension and love of reading.

If you would like further information on Phonics or Early Reading or how to help your child at home then please get in contact with our Phonics and Early Reading Leader, Mrs Zoe Nelson on 01296 481380 or

Page last updated: 08/03/23