Reading and Phonics


At Henleaze Infant School, it is our ambition to create a reciprocal and interactive reading community to foster a deep love of books. Through reading a range of high-quality texts, from a range of genre, we will transport our children into new worlds, enable them to discover new information, support their emotional, social and cultural development, and make them think and question the world we live in. Children’s life outcomes are greatly improved by becoming successful, enthusiastic readers; therefore, our aim is for all pupils to meet or exceed age-related reading expectations.


Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. To ensure we are developing expert, enthusiastic readers who can understand and respond to texts, we teach de-coding skills through a ‘phonics first’ approach, with daily phonics teaching. In addition we explicitly teach comprehension skills, and provide regular opportunities for children to read for pleasure.

High-quality texts form the cornerstone of our literacy provision. The development of oracy, vocabulary, and grammar is planned around a class text, chosen to extend children’s vocabulary. We encourage story-telling to enable children to master new words.

We facilitate access to fully decodable books that are matched to each child’s phonics knowledge and follow the Unlocking Letters and Sounds validated SSP programme. As a partner school, we worked alongside Unlocking to develop their programme, therefore high quality pedagogy is embedded in our school. We develop fluency through re-reading texts and enable children to experience success right from the beginning of their reading journey through precise matching of knowledge and skills to texts.

Each class has an appealing reading space, where children can discover their favourite types of books and where teachers and children can engage in informal book-talk. Classroom book selections are linked to class topics, offering opportunities for children to apply their skills across the curriculum, as well as offering a range of stories to share. Books are celebrated in book-themed days, including World Book Day and through the library Service summer reading challenge. Our school library provides an enriching, social reading environment where children are able to access a wide variety of texts to inform and entertain. Children across the school are able to take home a book each week from our library to share with an adult.

In school, Reception children begin with one-to-one reading skills sessions, followed by alternate weekly guided reading or one-to-one reading sessions with the class teacher. Year 1 and Year 2 children engage in a weekly guided reading session where they are exposed to a range of texts. Teachers select books that match and challenge childrens’ reading attainment and provide space to practise expression, prediction, information retrieval, and comprehension skills. Linked reading activities are provided so children can practise and consolidate their skills.

Across the school, as part of our English offer, whole-class reading sessions are delivered to support children’s skills in fluency, expression, and comprehension. This time allows children to explore texts in depth, develop vocabulary knowledge, share their thoughts, and talk about their reading. Teachers model and extend comprehension skills – supporting children to develop prosody and to make inferences and deduction through a shared connection to the text.

We actively encourage home support and involve parents in supporting reading through the provision of information in meetings, informal parent-teacher meetings and through information shared on our website. We are also able to offer the opportunity for parents to become Reading Rangers – providing 1:1 support to readers throughout the school.

Phonics Statement

At Henleaze Infant School, we use Unlocking Letters and Sounds, a DFe validated SSP programme. We begin teaching phonics in the first term of Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. In Reception, children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘common exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4. In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to de-code and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the National Phonics Screening Check. In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery and any child who does not meet aggerated expectations in Year 1 will continue to receive support to close identified gaps. To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to catch up through bespoke 1-1 precision teaching, and segmenting and blending interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have impact.

Whole School Curriculum Map for Phonics

Whole School Progression Map for Reading

Click below for full map of reading skills and knowledge taught

Supporting Reading and Phonics learning at home

Reading with your child at home

For home reading, children read books so that they can practise and apply, reading skills that have been taught at school. Books are very closely matched to a child’s current  phonics phase so that each child can achieve success in their reading. 

Please read with your child every day to develop their blending, decoding and fluency skills. We ask that you record this in their reading log book by writing a positive comment about your child’s reading. To encourage reading further, each daily read contributes towards a mark on their reading bookmark. There are different certificates that children will receive as part of our ‘Read for the Stars’ incentive.

Click here to find out about our whole school reading incentive called Read for the Stars.

To further support you in helping your child read at home, please watch the video below. It was made by St Peter’s School who we work closely with, alongside the Literacy Hub.

As children progress beyond phase 5 phonics, they move onto our coloured book band scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills and become avid, expert readers. Regular assessment is done by teachers to ensure your child is reading on the correct book level. This closely follows the phonics progression of our scheme.

For more information on questions to ask to during reading click here.

Phoneme Pronunciation

Our teachers help support learning at home by regularly posting links to information on our class blogs. Examples include:

Please click here to watch a video to see the correct pronunciation of phonemes (sounds).

Examples of the actions we teach to support Phase 2 phonemes

Action for s

Action for a

Action for t

Action for p

Action for i

Action for n

You can click here to view the Phase 2 phonemes with a description of the corresponding action, the correct letter formation and the image children that will associate with the phoneme.

Other information and useful links

To view examples of common exception words, click here.

For information about Reception reading, please follow the links below:

For information about Reading in KS1, please follow the links below:

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