Great Smeaton Primary School

English - Phonics and Reading 

Subject Leader: Miss S Sadiq


A fundamental part of every child’s educational journey here with us at Great Smeaton Academy Primary School is to learn to read.

We value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our children to become lifelong readers. We believe reading is key to academic success and so to ensure this, we have an agreed whole-school approach to the teaching of reading.

Our goal is that every pupil will learn to read. In this school children are taught to develop pleasure in reading, motivation to read, vocabulary and understanding and listen to and discuss a wide range of high-quality poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

As such we are committed to ensure that every pupil will have opportunities to read widely and frequently to develop both pleasure in reading and the motivation to read. It is our intention that all pupils are immersed in a range of high-quality texts, providing opportunities for them to read, discuss and evaluate texts read and to become familiar with rich and varied vocabulary.

English Lessons


Synthetic phonics programme from YR to Y3:

We use Little Wandle to teach phonics and graphic knowledge (common exception words and tricky words). Children in EYFS and KS1 have a daily phonics session lasting for 20 mins. Early reading books match our phonics programme as these books have been carefully selected to support and reinforce the phonics being taught. Children take these reading books home each day and books are changed on a regular basis. We provide parent reading workshops which explain how phonics and reading skills are taught. The national screening check takes place in Year 1.



Terrific Texts

The children  exploring  high quality texts as part of their English work through our 'Teaching Sequence' approach to teaching English. Quality texts are analysed by children whilst thinking as a 'reader' and as a 'writer.' The  texts are also used as a model of good writing and to provide a stimulus for the children’s own writing. This involves a lot of talking about the texts, developing the confidence to offer ideas and then reshape them in the light of other contributions, deepening their understanding and developing their vocabulary.


Shared Reading

Children hear, share and discuss a range of high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts through our whole class English teaching. We ensure children of all ages learn comprehension strategies and are able to respond to texts. We explicitly teach the following key reading skills to ensure that the children understand what makes a good reader:

  • Using background knowledge to understand text
  • Predicting
  • Understanding vocabulary: developing strategies for this including recognising what they don't understand
  • Asking questions and “wondering” about the text
  • Visualising
  • Developing inference
  • Summarising


Vocabulary is developed by ensuring that the learning environment in all classrooms is word rich. Pre-teaching of vocabulary is delivered where needed and links are made to topics, as it is recognised that reading comprehension relies heavily on knowledge. Our broad curriculum aids reading comprehension by ensuring that children gain knowledge of the world in which they live and bring such knowledge to their reading.


Guided Reading Lessons

In addition to whole-class teaching of reading, guided reading lessons take place regularly.  Once a week, within these sessions, children explore carefully selected texts deeply in an adult-led discussion group. Reading skills which have been taught in the whole-class sessions are also reinforced in guided group sessions and children have the opportunity to read for pleasure, selecting their own choice of reading materials. We use ‘Reading Gems’ to guide children to explore the different skills which form part of the ‘toolkit’ which effective and fluent readers use.


Class Reads

Class teachers read aloud to children. They demonstrate the skills of fluent reading, using expression and exploring vocabulary in context. Books are selected taking into account the age and interests of the children. Sometimes, books are specifically selected to link to the topic being studied in class to create discussion opportunities which include learning vocabulary and build on from classwork. We have also selected a range of books to ensure the children have the opportunity to hear some classics, poetry and books with non-standard formats.


Additional Support

Phonics and Reading interventions are provided for individuals and groups of children where appropriate. These activities focus on phonics, word reading for decoding and / or reading comprehension skills. All programmes are rigorous and systematic with regular assessments and impact evaluations.


The Reading Challenge 

When we consider the some of the benefits of reading found from research, including:

Mental Stimulation, Stress Reduction, Increased Knowledge, Vocabulary Expansion, Memory Improvement, Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills, Improved Focus and Concentration, Better Writing Skills, Periods of Tranquility/Improvement of Wellbeing and Free Entertainment

it is easy to see why reading is generally considered to be the gateway to learning across the curriculum. We have reading activities built into our timetable every single day, and encourage the children to read as much as possible to an adult and/or independently at home.

Our Reading Challenge promotes regular reading at home by recognising children who read 5 times a week or more to an adult at home and record it in their reading diary with a chance to win a magazine:

Parents and Carers can help by encouraging their child’s participation in the challenge by reading regularly with them and signing their Reading Diary.               

Our Library - The hub of our school!


Literally and metaphorically at the centre of our school is our newly re-stocked School Library. 

A fundamental part of every child’s educational journey here with us at Great Smeaton Academy  Primary School is to learn to read. We believe reading is key to academic success and we value reading as a key life skill, and so are dedicated to enabling our children to become lifelong readers.

Access to a rich and broad range of carefully selected reading materials can help to broaden our knowledge and understanding of our world and give us insight into many areas of learning, as well as access to many imaginary worlds too! 

Our library provides all children with endless choices of reading materials across all genres, including suitable texts for all age groups and reading abilities for both reading for pleasure and curriculum reading. New stock is regularly added in response to children's requests as well as parental, staff and national recommendations. 

Our Library displays and School Newsletter also features book recommendations.