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The Cambridge Primary School

The Cambridge

Primary School


Our Intent

The teaching of phonics and early reading is of the highest priority. We are committed to ensuring that every child will learn to read, regardless of ability, need or background.

When leaving the Cambridge, we aim for children:

  • To be excited and motivated to read for pleasure.
  • To demonstrate enthusiasm and confidence when discussing the wide range of authors, illustrators and text types they know.
  • To be curious to explore new texts and question what they have read.
  • To value the use of text as a tool for a gaining deeper understanding of areas of interest or for investigation including knowledge about themselves and the world in which they live.

Our Implementation

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

  • Daily phonics lessons-(20 minutes in YR and KS1). Our aim for all children is to make rapid progression so they become fluent readers as quickly as possible. We follow the Letters and Sounds Programme because it is a systematic, synthetic approach, which is recommended for teaching children to read. This programme is supplemented by the images, actions and rhymes of the Jolly Phonics programme to aid recall. All images on displays, flashcards and sound mats are consistent across the school.
  • 1:1 reading with adults-All children are heard to read at least weekly. They read their Phonic Reader.
  • Daily guided reading lessons-(10 minutes in YR, 30 minutes in KS1). The children are taught as a class. The lessons are planned to explicitly teach the comprehension elements of the National Curriculum. The elements are sequencing, retrieval, vocabulary, prediction and inference. They are taught through colour coded, engaging dog characters.
  • Home learning-parents are expected to hear their child read daily (10 minutes in YR and 15 minutes in KS1). 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 reading in the Reading Record and the number of times read at home is monitored as it is recorded on the 1:1 reading list.

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 Letters and Sounds 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 NC.
  • ‘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 developing 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 is supported by the English Lead.

How we inspire children to read for pleasure?

  • Story time-all children are read to by an adult at least once a day in every year group. There is a focus on re-reading stories from a variety of text types and genres (so all children see themselves as readers), in addition to discussions surrounding authors and illustrators. Classes may share a text chosen by the children, teacher or one of the ‘Favourite Five’ books. These are five books that are repeatedly shared over a half term, with the aim of studying an author, illustrator or text type. 
  • 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; 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.
  • 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. Current events include Book Buddies, Mystery Readers and World Book Day. Future events include visiting authors, 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 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-children are assessed using the National Curriculum objectives. These are organised into 3 terms on the individual Reading Target Cards. The children use these to self-assess and discuss their reading with the class teacher.

What support and information do parents receive?

Parents receive a reading booklet, with information on supporting their child’s reading development at home in addition to a booklet and bookmark with questions to support the development of comprehension skills. These are linked to the reading dog characters. There will be opportunities to attend phonics and reading workshops to gain further insight into how they can support their child. 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 their comments are welcomed in the home reading diaries.