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The Cambridge Primary School

The Cambridge

Primary School


“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” Frederick Douglass

Our Intent

The teaching of phonics and early reading at The Cambridge Primary School is of the highest priority. We are committed to ensuring that every child will learn to read, regardless of ability, need or background. Giving pupils the key skills in English, enables them to access material in all curriculum areas, and provides a foundation for their learning throughout their school career and beyond. We are committed to inspiring every child to be excited about books and motivated to read for pleasure.

At the Cambridge Primary School, we intend:

  • for every child to be a reader
  • for early readers to have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently
  • for children to understand what they have read
  • for children to respond with curiosity about what they and others have read
  • for children to become enthusiastic and motivated to read for pleasure
  • to develop children’s confidence in reading a wide variety of genres and text types
  • to develop children’s knowledge of a wide range of authors and illustrators

Our Implementation

When are children taught to read and when do they practise their reading skills?

  • Daily phonics lessons-Our aim for all children is to make rapid progression, so they become fluent readers as quickly as possible. We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Programme because it is a systematic, synthetic approach, which is recommended for teaching children to read. 
  • 1:1 reading with adults-All children are heard read at least weekly. They read their Phonic Reader book.
  • Group reading practice sessions and guided reading lessons-The children are taught in small groups and as a class. The lessons are planned to explicitly teach fluency and the comprehension elements of the National Curriculum. The elements include sequencing, retrieval, vocabulary, prediction and inference. Children in Key Sage 1 are taught through colour coded, engaging dog characters whilst Key Stage 2 use VIPERS. 
  • Home learning-parents are expected to hear their child read daily even when they are fluent readers. They receive a weekly letter outlining the sounds and tricky words their child has been learning (in addition to other home learning). They are encouraged to record all reading experiences in the Reading Record.

What is the reading system?

The reading system consists of:

  • ‘Phonics Readers’ that are fully decodable books from a range of reading schemes to introduce a wide variety of literature. They are organised in groups (book boxes) that match the teaching sequence of the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme and will match as closely as possible, the sounds and words each child is currently learning. The children should be able to decode the words by sounding out and blending, and not by using any other strategy (e.g. the pictures). A child will keep their ‘Phonics Reader’ for a week with the intention of reading it daily to develop fluency and pace as recommended in the National Curriculum.
  • ‘Family Readers’ are aimed at developing and inspiring a love of reading through the shared experience of reading together. These books contain sounds and tricky words that do not match those the children are currently learning, so they are not expected to be able to decode them. The ‘Family Reader’ can be changed daily. Children can also read books from home or the library as a family reader.

Progression through the reading system

To move to the next book box, children must be able to blend words and recognise high-frequency words in the book box and within their phonic phase. The child should be reading with good fluency and decode with 90-95% accuracy. They should be able to retell the main points they have read and answer simple literal retrieval questions. This is based on teacher judgement and supported by ongoing assessment. 

How we inspire children to read for pleasure?

  • Story time, when the children are read aloud to on a daily basis in every year group. This is for the children’s enjoyment with the main aim of motivating them to read for pleasure. Additionally, it will develop their knowledge and confidence to discuss a wide range of authors, illustrators, variety of text types and genres. They may share a text chosen by the children or teacher.
  • English lessons-planning is linked, inspired and supported by high quality, engaging and relevant texts. Stories form the basis for weekly continuous provision in Reception and an English teaching sequence in Key Stage 1 and 2; leading to daily discussion about the text.
  • Children are encouraged to discuss and respond to what they and others have read in lessons, story time and at any other opportunities.
  • Weekly ‘Chatter Books‘ sessions in every year group to develop an intrinsic love of reading. Children take ownership of the session structure under the guidance of the class teacher, participating in informal book talk activities such as recommending texts, drama and exploring authors and illustrators. This also enhances teacher knowledge of the children’s reading practices.
  • A range of regular events to engage pupils with the joy and wonder of a wide range of text types, so they are confident, enthused and motivated to read for pleasure. Events include Book Buddies, Mystery Readers, World Book Day, virtual bedtime stories and reading challenges.
  • A supportive learning environment with inviting book corners in every classroom, so children have access to engaging books. We are developing our main library of topic books so they can be available to support the children’s interests and topic learning.

How do we assess reading?

We build a picture of a child’s reading behaviours, including their views on reading, by gathering evidence from:

  • Phonics, reading practice sessions and guided reading lessons
  • 1:1 reading
  • Running Record Assessments
  • Reading Comprehension Assessment papers
  • Reading events

YR-children are assessed against the Reading statements in the Development Matters document.

KS1 and KS2-children are assessed using the National Curriculum objectives. 

What support and information do parents receive?

Parents of children in Reception and Key Stage 1, receive a reading booklet, with information on supporting their child’s reading development. This booklet also includes questions to support the development of comprehension skills linked to the reading dog characters.

There is further information for supporting reading at home in the Reception reading records and in the Supporting Reading at Home area of this website where there are Home Reading Cue Cards and Bookmarks

There will be opportunities to attend phonics and reading workshops to gain further insight into how parents can support their child. Phonics and Reading Workshop 2020

Every week, parents receive a home learning letter containing focus sounds and words from the week’s learning with suggested games and activities to embed them.

Parents are expected to read with their children daily, complete the phonics home learning task and comment in the home reading records.