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Phonics and Reading at The Hythe

The Reading and Writing curriculum at The Hythe Primary School is planned in line with the National Curriculum, which aims to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.


At The Hythe Primary School, reading is at the heart of all we do, and we aim for all children to read easily, fluently and with good understanding. We want children to develop a love of reading, enabling them to actively seek books as a source of pleasure, information and enjoyment. We want them to become enthusiastic, independent and confident readers. They need to have opportunities to read for interest, pleasure and information, and encouragement to select from a wide range of literature.

We are committed to providing vocabulary rich reading material and closely matched phonetically decodable books. We have created a bespoke reading retreat where children can immerse themselves in books, and we have created a new fiction library.


At The Hythe, high-quality systematic, synthetic phonics teaching has a high priority throughout EYFS and Key Stage 1. Phonics is taught daily for 20-30 minutes, following the Letters and Sounds programme supported by the Little Wandle Scheme, to all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.  Lessons follow the recap/teach/practise/apply format, and staff systematically teach learners blending and segmenting.

Phonics is applied and reinforced throughout the day through targeted activities in Continuous Provision in Reception (either independently or through teacher-led activities) and through application in all subjects in Years 1 and 2.

As soon as children start in Reception, they are introduced to books as a whole class. Children look at, share and talk about their books together.  Reading books are also introduced to children in small groups, with the teachers modelling how to read them.  

Parents are invited to attend a Reading meeting in the Autumn Term where they are introduced to the process of teaching reading, and how to support early reading is modelled to them.  Children in Reception take home folders that contain the phonemes they have learnt that week to practise at home. This, along with reading, is set as daily homework.

On entry to Reception, children’s phonic knowledge is assessed. Once the phase 2 sounds have been taught, some children may need extra targeted support in applying their blending and segmenting skills.  Phase 2 activities are planned into the continuous provision, and there are targeted adult-led sessions for those children who need to consolidate Phase 2. 

In Years 1 and 2, phonics continues to be delivered as a whole class, with some children receiving additional support in recognising phonemes and applying them to blending and segmenting.  All children practise early reading with fully decodable books, and every child is assessed on a half-termly basis. Once children are reading fluently, confidently, and with good comprehension (End of phase 5/6 Turquoise), they move on to book banded books.   

Before starting the book, the phonemes contained within the book are practised, and children and teachers blend and segment the words. The high-frequency words within the text are introduced, and any new vocabulary with its meaning being explained.

Comprehension skills are taught from the outset, with teachers checking children’s understanding of class books and individual readers and children being encouraged to generate their own questions.  

In Early Years and Year 1, children read three times a week as part of a group. The first session looks at introducing the book, keywords, understanding the meaning of these words, and using their phonics to read any new words. The second session encourages the children to reread the text to build fluency, but the teacher also models how to read with fluency and expression. The third session focuses on comprehension skills, including talking about what is happening, who the characters are or what might happen next.

All children from Year 2 onwards take part in a weekly guided reading session. Teachers use these to introduce pupils to a range of genres and to teach a range of techniques that enable children to comprehend the meaning of what they read. Teachers assess fluency as they read with the children, and interventions are implemented for those who need them. 

All classes enjoy a class reading book closely linked to their topic. These texts are high quality and selected to support children’s topic learning through the power of storytelling.

Timely interventions are planned for children working below expected levels as soon as needs are identified. The lowest 20% of all readers in all year groups receive interventions three times a week, either through additional phonics sessions or targeted reading sessions. They will also be offered small group tuition through the School Led Tutoring Program. All classrooms have their own class reading areas.


The Reading curriculum is evaluated through:

  • Phonics assessments
  • EYFS data
  • Phonics screening and phonics resits data
  • KS1 fluency and word recognition
  • Standardised scores from PUMA/PIRA tests
  • KS1 Reading SATs results
  • KS2 Reading SATs results

Teaching and learning are evaluated by learning walks, drop-ins, moderation sessions, pupil interviews and work scrutinies.

Internal moderation is carried out three times a year through pupil progress meetings. Additional moderation may take place with the Phonics and English Leads.

External moderation is carried out once a year with North Runnymede learning partnership schools. This analysis is used to identify areas of development and any children who are not making expected progress.

External moderation of the end of  KS1 outcomes in 2019 stated that there was a wide range of evidence used to form judgements of reading and that these were fully in line with the KS1 framework. Teachers showed good knowledge of the children, and there was support for parents in the reading records.

The school has a high level of focus on developing early reading skills, with phonics prioritised in Early Years and Key Stage One classes. At the end of each phase, children are confident in blending and segmenting using their learned sounds. Tricky words that are introduced during each phase should be spelt and read with confidence, and children will use these to support their learning across the curriculum. Additional phonics sessions are used when children are identified as needing support. This helps to quickly close any gaps and move their learning in line with children of their age. SEND and disadvantaged children will be supported with their specific needs in class and any additional phonics sessions. The curriculum provides challenge for all children, including SEND and disadvantaged pupils, that allows them to become increasingly confident and independent learners.