Reading & Phonics Curriculum


At Highfield School, we strive to achieve the highest standard for all children entrusted to our care whilst ensuring that they are equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding to support their future learning. We believe that Reading is a complex skill with many components and therefore have adopted a consistent approach to the teaching of these skills throughout the school. We believe that Reading is a valuable and rewarding experience and that the importance of laying a firm foundation in this crucial area will enable our children to become enthusiastic, independent, and reflective readers. Success in Reading at Highfield School will have a direct impact upon progress in all other areas of the curriculum and will be crucial in developing our children socially and academically, both during their time at Highfield School and in their future lives.

Aims and objectives

  • To deliver a structured and consistent whole school approach to Reading
  • To develop a range of reading strategies and skills: fluency, accuracy, understanding and response to different texts
  • To understand the sound and spelling system and use this to read and spell accurately
  • To rigorously monitor and assess children’s progress in Reading and identify those who require extra support and intervene at an early stage
  • To develop a love of books and reading
  • To create a whole school reading culture through a language rich environment within classrooms and the wider school environment
  • To develop the knowledge of different authors, poets and illustrators
  • To use conventions of library organization and ICT systems to access texts and locate information
  • To recognize the value of parents/ carers as essential components to supporting and developing reading skills and love of reading.

Teachers are given clear guidance on approaches to secure conceptual understanding, sequential knowledge development and progression in lessons, through effective CPD, planning and in class support. Each year group has a designated AHT to provide input and support with planning with the subject leader then having a whole school oversight. Planning, which ensures pitch is appropriate and challenge is evident, comes from the 2010 Primary Framework and the Assessment and Progression in Reading document. These documents provide an overview of objectives and coverage, which are then broken down into small, sequential and progressive steps in learning. Each year group has a Reading folder that contains information to support planning.

Foundation Stage – Planning in the Foundation Stage is taken from the children’s interests and planned with reference to the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage.



Aims and objectives

  • To deliver high-quality phonic teaching which secures the crucial skills of word recognition that, once mastered, enable children to read fluently and automatically enabling them to concentrate on the meaning of the text
  • To establish consistent practice, progression and continuity in the teaching and learning of phonics and spelling throughout the school
  • To differentiate phonics and spelling work according to the needs of pupils, so that all pupils are given sufficient challenge at a level at which they can experience success
  • To give children word work strategies that will enable them to become fluent readers and confident writers

The Rose Report (2006) makes it clear that ‘high-quality phonic work’ should be taught systematically and discretely as the prime approach used in the teaching of early reading. The progression of the Letters and Sounds programme used in school provides the structure for all phonics teaching.

Beginner readers will be taught:

  • Grapheme–phoneme correspondences in a clearly defined, incremental sequence
  • To apply the highly important skills of blending (synthesising) phonemes in the order in which they occur, all through a word to read it
  • To apply the skills of segmenting words into their constituent phonemes to spell
  • That blending and segmenting are reversible processes

High-quality phonic work will be most effective when:

  • It is part of a broad and rich curriculum that engages children in a range of activities and experiences to develop their speaking and listening skills and phonological awareness
  • It is multisensory providing, encompassing activities to enliven core learning
  • It is time-limited, to promote confident readers by the end of Key Stage 1
  • It is systematic, that is to say, it follows a carefully planned programme reinforcing and building on previous learning to secure children’s progress
  • It is taught discretely and daily at a brisk pace following the structure: revisit, teach, practice , apply from the Letters and Sounds programme
  • There are opportunities to reinforce and apply acquired phonic knowledge and skills across the curriculum and in such activities as independent, shared and guided reading and writing

We aim to encourage all children to reach their full potential through the provision of varied opportunities to access phonics. We recognise that our phonics planning must allow pupils to gain a progressively deeper understanding of the phonetic structure of the English language as they move through the school to ensure all children are provided with the key tools needed to become a fluent reader. Careful thought will be given to the provision of appropriately structured work for children with SEN, often through intervention groups. The school have a variety of strategies to enable all children to have increased access to the curriculum through a broad – based, multi-sensory, visual, auditory and kinaesthetically planned phonics sessions.

The most able children within our school, including those children who are Gifted and Talented, are identified so that their individual needs are acknowledged. Planning attempts to ensure that the level of challenge is appropriate to their specific needs.