Reading and Phonics


At Abbey Hey, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We believe reading is key for academic success and so to ensure we have a holistic approach to the teaching of reading, we implement the following.

  • At Abbey Hey, we use a synthetic phonics programme called ‘Read Write Inc’ produced by Ruth Miskin. Read Write Inc is a method of learning letter sounds and blending them together to read and write words. As part of this, children have daily phonics sessions in small groups where they participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities that are matched to their developing needs. The teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Children work through the different phases, learning and developing their phonics sounds and knowledge. Texts used during guided reading and texts that are sent home are closely matched to children’s phonics ability.
  • Children take part in daily Guided Reading lessons, where children are exposed to a range of different texts and can demonstrate their understanding and thinking behind these.
  • We are very lucky to have a wide range of reading books in our school, including texts that reflect the diversity within our school community. All children from Nursery to Year 6 choose three reading books to take home (a fiction text and a non-fiction text which match children’s reading level, plus a reading for pleasure text). These reading books are changed weekly.
  • Each classroom will have a selection of books in their classroom which are directly linked with the class topic. This offers opportunities for the children to apply their reading skills across the curriculum.
  • Children are read to each day by their class teacher. This could be a book that the teacher recommends to the class or a recommendation from a child.  
  • Each classroom has a reading area that is filled with books suitable for their reading age. This is a comfortable place for children to read throughout the day.
  • Children have the opportunity to take part in ‘Reading Buddies’, in which children mix with other children from different year groups and share a book together.
  • Children who are not yet ‘free readers’, will work through our school reading scheme – these are levelled books which match the children’s current reading age. We expect family at home to read these books with their child daily and make comments in their child’s reading record.

By the time children leave Abbey Hey they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry, and participate in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader.


All teachers will know where their children are by:

  • Using Read Write Inc assessments to identify children’s phonics level.
  • Using PIRA assessments
  • Completing phonics screening checks at the end of Year 1 and then, where needed, in Year 2 and beyond.
  • Completing teacher’s formative assessments within class.
  • Setting Accelerated Reading tests weekly to ensure children’s reading books match their reading ability. Once children have completed reading an AR book, they must take an online quiz. When children have completed 3 quizzes and scored 80% or higher, they then move onto the next level.
  • Analysing pupil voice and questionnaires.
  • Teachers in EYFS will regularly assess children against the Development Matters statements.

All teachers will know where their children should be by:

  • Attending continuous CPD for all teaching staff.
  • Having a secure understanding of year group expectations and good understanding of year group progression in reading and phonics.
  • Being provided with three planning days per year, in addition to their PPA, to plan their reading and phonics curriculum.

All teachers will know how to improve children’s progress by:

  • Delivering Read Write Inc sessions daily in Nursery, Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and where needed in Year 3;
  • Delivering a cycle of Guided Reading lessons, using a wide range of different texts;
  • Using question stems which are used to inform questions based on the class text;
  • Using a Reading Chest with a mixed set of questions, one from each content domain, as appropriate to the guided reading text;
  • Providing a list of unknown vocabulary which appears in the class text;
  • Celebrating a love of reading through sharing high quality texts in a range of situations across the curriculum, in school and external reading competitions, trips to the local library, giving children the opportunity to independently reading for pleasure books, visits from authors;
  • Using myON to promote reading at home and engage parents with online home learning, alongside the use of Reading Records for parents to improve communication about reading.
  • Providing children with high-quality supplementary texts which support reading throughout the wider curriculum;
  • Providing children with access to high quality reading areas withing classrooms and around the shared areas of school, which include a range of texts to support independent reading;
  • Providing parental workshops which will support parent’s understanding of the importance of reading, improve parent’s knowledge and skills, along with improving and maintaining home school links and relationships.


Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.  It is also measured frequently through the use of Read Write Inc phonics assessments, these are carried out every 6-8 weeks.


Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. Teachers continually use formative assessments to inform the planning of Reading. PIRA tests are use termly across KS1 and KS2 to identify gaps in learning. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.

We give all children the opportunity to enter the magical worlds that books. We promote reading for pleasure as part of our reading curriculum. Children are encouraged to develop their own love of genres and authors and to review their books objectively. This enhances a deep love of literature across a range of genres, cultures and styles. Our reading curriculum underpins all other subjects within our school. The impact of this is shown within pupil voice and questionnaires.

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