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Phonics and Reading at The Hythe


At The Hythe Primary School, reading is at the heart of all we do and is a key driver for our curriculum.

It is our intention to foster a love of reading to ensure that all pupils are able to read fluently and with confidence by the time they leave key stage 1 and in key stage 2.

We, therefore, intend to encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop: knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live; to establish an appreciation and love of reading; to gain knowledge across the curriculum, and develop their comprehension skills. 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 are developing a new library area.


  • High-quality systematic teaching of synthetic phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage 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 Foundation Stage, Year 1 and Year 2.
  • Planning is based upon Letters and Sounds.  Lessons follow the recap/teach/practise/apply format. 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 introduced to children in small groups with the teachers modelling the reading of the books.  Parents attend a Reading meeting in the Autumn Term where they are introduced to the process of teaching reading and supporting early reading is modelled to them. Children in Reception take-home phoneme folders which 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 is continued 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.  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 book are introduced as well as any new vocabulary with its meaning being explained.
  • Comprehension skills are taught from the very beginning of reading with teachers checking children’s understanding of class books as well as individual readers and children being encouraged to generate their own questions.  
  • All children from Year 2 take part in daily guided reading sessions. 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. Fluency is assessed by teachers as they read with the children and interventions are put in place for those who need it. 
  • 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, key words and understanding the meaning of these words, as well as using their phonics to read any new words. The second session encourages the children to read the text again 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 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 intervention is planned for those children who are 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 is evaluated by learning walks, drop-ins, moderation sessions, pupil interviews and work scrutinies.

Internal moderations are carried out 3 times a year unless teachers wish to moderate with the English lead more frequently. 

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

KS1 outcomes were moderated by external moderators in 2019.  The moderator summarised 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 the sounds that they have learnt. 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 in need of 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 both in class and with 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