English – Reading and Phonics


At Abbots Farm Infant School, we aim to provide pupils with the tools to learn to read accurately. This equips them with the decoding ability which is a crucial element in reading success.   The systematic teaching of phonics  has a high priority throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1.  At Abbots Farm Infant School, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of year 1. We also value and encourage the pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills. The school’s shared vision is that every pupil learns to read quickly and continues to read – widely and often. The aims of our phonics and reading curriculum is to develop children who: 

  • apply the skill of blending phonemes in order to read words. 
  • segment words into their constituent phonemes in order to spell words. 
  • learn that blending and segmenting words are reversible processes. 
  • read high frequency words that do not conform to regular phonic patterns. 
  • read texts and words that are within their phonic capabilities as early as possible. 
  • decode texts effortlessly so all their resources can be used to comprehend what they read. 


    At Abbots Farm Infant School we use Bug Club Phonics. This programme is the product of seven years’ research, which produced remarkable gains in reading and spelling among those children who followed the programme. Through the teaching of Bug Club Phonics, the children are taught the essential skills needed for reading. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Early Years, and Key Stage 1. Extra support is provided to those in Year 2 who have not passed the phonics screening in Year 1 and interventions are planned for those children who are working below expected levels.  Children who attend pre-school are provided with a daily phase 1 phonics activity, with a focus on sound awareness.  Children in Reception focus on reading and writing the basic 40+ phonemes (units 1-12) followed by the alternative spellings of these phonemes acquired in Key Stage 1 (units 13-30).  Decodable readers are introduced at the end of Unit 2. This enables children to apply the taught strategies and enjoy contextualised reading early on 

    Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is delivered in a whole class format because this has been shown to foster a sense of social inclusion and boost the performance of the children who are progressing more slowly.  However, differentiated questioning is used within the lesson to ensure that all children are fully engaged.  Our school has a proportion of EAL and SEND pupils and so we follow the WELLCOMM Intervention which equips children with the language skills they need to thrive in Phonics lessons.   

    Decodable readers are introduced at the end of Unit 2 in Reception. This enables children to apply the taught strategies and enjoy contextualised reading early on.  Children read the same text in ability groups for three high quality sessions.  The first session has a focus on decoding, the second on comprehension and the third on prosody and expression.  Pupils will have read this book three times before taking it home to share with parents and carers.  Pupils also take home a self selected reading book where parents and carers are encouraged to read to the children, and encourage them to ask and answer questions as well as make comments on what they have heard.  As pupils move into Year 2 whole class reading is introduced.  Pupils are fully immersed into high quality literature and discussions held around vocabulary, content and plot.  It is a two week cycle with the first week  solely reading and discussion and the second week focussing on answering questions linked to the Key Stage 1 reading content domains.   

    Whole class story times are prioritised within the daily timetable.  High quality texts are selected, and children are encouraged to vote for which one they would like to listen to.  


    Teachers regularly assess the pupil’s phonics knowledge using the phonics assessment at the end of each phase. These regular assessments are recorded electronically and allow teachers to quickly identify any gaps in learning and thus inform planning.  

    If children are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making good or better progress. Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. 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 also measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods: 

    • Discussions with children about their learning (pupil voice). 
    • Coaching with teachers focusing on children’s reading ability and habits. 
    • Coaching with teachers focusing on planning to ensure that all classes have a consistent coverage of the curriculum. 
    • Coaching with teachers in lessons to continuously improve our teaching of the reading and phonics curriculum. 
    • All coaching provides opportunities for professional dialogue between teachers and phonics/reading lead which is reflective. 
    • Termly formative assessment grids are used to assess attainment and progress.  Judgements are made against statements on the planning grips.  Emerging, expected, exceeding indicators are used to ensure consistency of assessment across all year groups. This allows for data analysis to identify any gaps of knowledge or skills. This can then be identified for teacher’s future planning.