Glasshoughton Infant Academy

You are here: Curriculum - Reading & Phonics

Reading and Phonics at Glasshoughton Infant Academy

Learning to Read lessons

Learning to read sessions are introduced in Nursery, where children are taught a range of speaking and listening skills, in the form of different games and activities. Children will learn to orally segment and blend words through ‘sound-talking’. When children are ready, phase 2 phonemes and actions are introduced to the children. Children will learn to recognise each phoneme, say the sound and perform the action.

Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 follow our systematic synthetic phonics progression, linking to ‘Letters and Sounds’. Children are taught an action to go along with each phoneme in phases 2, 3 and 5. Actions for phases 2 and 3 are taken from ‘Jolly Phonics’. Actions taught alongside phase 5 phonemes have been developed by teachers at Glasshoughton Infant Academy and these are used consistently across school by all teaching staff. In addition to this, tricky words to read by sight are introduced daily. These are the words that cannot easily be segmented and blended to read, such as ‘you’ and ‘was’, or words with spellings which are unusual.

Our daily learning to read sessions are pacey and fun, involving lots of speaking, listening and games which encourage active participation by all.

Teaching Reading

At Glasshoughton Infant Academy reading is taught through ‘Learning to Read’ lessons and Guided Reading sessions, as well as other opportunities for independent reading across the curriculum as children become Scientists, Geographers, Historians, etc. We do not solely use one reading scheme. We use a combination of effective approaches, including Oxford Reading Tree and Floppy’s Phonics, along with an extensive range of supplementary materials. These ensure a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books are available to develop children’s reading range and foster a love of reading.

Reading Books

As mentioned above, we have a wide range of reading books available for children to access, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. All books are closely matched to children’s phonic ability, including books they read in school and books they are given to take home. Reading books are organised into phonic phases and are progressive across each phase, ensuring children are only expected to read books containing phonemes or spelling rules that they have been taught.

Children are given a reading book, or a pack of two reading books to take home weekly linked to their phonic or reading ability. Parents and carers are encouraged to make notes and observations about their child’s learning on Class Dojo, where teachers are expected to read and respond with appropriate feedback.

Guided Reading and Whole Class Reading

Guided reading is introduced to children in Nursery. Nursery children are taught to hold a book the correct way round, turn the pages correctly and talk about the pictures in small groups. Children in Reception and Year 1 complete weekly guided reading sessions in the same way, in small groups. They are expected to use their phonic knowledge to segment and blend words to read in order to develop their fluency when reading simple sentences. The books they read will also contain tricky words and high frequency words that they are taught to read fluently by sight during their Learning to Read lessons.

Children are taught a range of reading strategies needed for them to tackle unfamiliar words and develop their automaticity, pace, fluency and stamina when reading. Children develop their language comprehension by presenting their knowledge of the characters, the plot and the author’s vocabulary choices in various ways, including drama techniques, such as hot seating and freeze frames, the use of ICT, drawing, presenting and writing.

In Year 2, children take part in daily whole class guided reading where they work in mixed pairs to read a text; either fiction, non-fiction or poetry. The same text is read daily and then children are expected to develop their comprehension and understanding of the text through participating in learning activities which explore the characters, the plot and the author’s use of sentence types, punctuation and vocabulary. The ‘Readers Theatre’ is used during each session, allowing children to hear the teacher read aloud as the model and then echo reading parts of the text in order to develop intonation, tone, speed, volume, expression and use of punctuation. During each whole class guided session children will be allocated sections of text in their pairings and will engage in repeated choral reading; taking it in turns to read aloud to their partner. In addition to this, children also have an extra reading session with the teacher in a small group over a two-week period to continue to develop their fluency. When children in Year 1 are assessed as being “ready” to read independently and answer questions in a larger group, whole class guided reading is introduced for these children, mirroring the practice in Year 2.

Assessment of Reading

Assessment of reading is on-going. During small group guided reading sessions children’s word recognition and language comprehension achievements are recorded, as well as their individual next steps for learning and misconceptions. During whole class guided reading sessions teachers record on a whole class feedback sheet, where individual children who have exceeded the learning objective are identified, along with common misconceptions and children who need extra support.

At each of the three assessment points children’s phonic ability, including identifying and pronouncing phonemes correctly, reading tricky words and reading sentences with words containing phonemes taught, is assessed. Children are moved onto working within the next phonics phase when they are confidently applying learning from the previous phase in their reading. Books children read in school and take home are then re-matched to their new phonic phase.

Castleford Library

The Academy have developed strong links with Castleford library and we arrange visits for children in main school throughout the school year. Children have the opportunity to explore the library, learning about how a library works and how it is organised, as well as participating in story and rhyme sessions run by library staff.

School Library

We offer a daily lending library in Nursery where parents and carers can return previously read books and select a new book alongside their child. There is a signing in and out book for adults to write in.

In main school all children from Reception to Year 2 have an allocated time slot each week where they can visit the school library with a member of staff in small groups. They will return their book and select a new one. The library has a selection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books for children to borrow. Although children may not be able to read the entire book they take home independently, adults can read the book to children and ask them questions about the characters and plot.

Ways you can support your children at home:

Sharing and reading books with your child is a great opportunity for learning. Talking about the pictures and asking your child questions about the characters and plot will support them to develop their understanding of what they have read or heard. 10 minutes of reading a day can make all the difference.

The Letters and Sounds ( and Phonics Play ( websites have a range of free resources and interactive games to support your child to develop their phonic ability.