Reading and Phonics

Reading at Appletree

Our ambition at Appletree is to provide a coherently planned and sequenced reading curriculum which equips all learners with the knowledge and skills needed to become independent, fluent, life-long readers. 

At the heart of our strategy is our drive to foster a love of reading, enriching children’s learning through carefully designed vocabulary rich, teaching activities that utilise imaginative stories and thought provoking texts.

Reading is at the core of our curriculum and school culture, with staff having a shared understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to build towards end points in each year and phase. National Curriculum objectives are creatively, systematically and explicitly delivered in order to prepare learners for their next steps, close any gaps and target the highest number of children attaining expected standard or higher.

Regular assessments inform the teaching of phonics, comprehension and fluency to ensure all children make good progress. 

Parents as Partners

Here at Appletree we recognise that parents are the first and ongoing educators of their own children. We value the vital role that they play in supporting their children’s learning and help them to actively participate in school activities. These effective  partnerships enable children to flourish. 

Equity and Excellence

We firmly believe that personal and social circumstances should not be an obstacle to achieving educational potential. Our carefully structured, skills based curriculum  supports and engages all children so as to narrow the gap between the most and least advantaged learners, while  improving  outcomes for all.



The Appletree Reading Journey

There are several components to the way we teach reading at Appletree.

Daily phonics: Reception, Y1 and Y2

In Reception and Key Stage 1 we use the Read Write Inc phonics programme. This provides a structured and systematic approach and is designed to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers. Children have daily phonics lessons and are encouraged to practise  skills taught throughout the school day.  To ensure that the best progress is made, children are assessed regularly. As children complete the programme and know most of the common grapheme-phoneme correspondences, phonics is taught through spelling patterns taken from the 2014 National Curriculum English Appendix 1 spelling document.

Guided Reading: Reception-Y4

In Key Stage 1 , children are taught reading skills in small group reading sessions. In these sessions there is a focus upon decoding, improving fluency and understanding. In Key Stage 2, the children are taught specific reading skills. These skills include inference, prediction and interpretation.

Daily Class Story: Reception-Yr 4

Each day, children across the school enjoy a class story. This important part of the school day fosters a love of reading through: exploring new vocabulary, questioning and discussion, making connections to the children’s own lives and experiences, modelling proficient reading skills and exploring story structures. 

Class Reading Spine Books

In each year group we have developed a reading spine of classic and essential reads. The aim is for every child to experience the pleasure and challenge of great literature. These ‘must have’ stories,  build children’s language and create shared and deeply imaged common memorable experiences.

Reading for Pleasure: Nursery-Yr4

Our reading for pleasure pedagogy encompasses: reading aloud, informal book talk and recommendations, social reading environments and independent reading time. Children choose books based on their interest and have access to a wide variety of quality reading books both fiction and non-fiction.  

Books to Share:Nursery- Yr 4

Each week, children receive a book to share at home with their parents and carers. Together, through these texts, they can share adventures and new experiences. It allows adults to ask questions, discuss new and interesting vocabulary, talk about what has happened and make predictions.

Home School Reading Books: Reception-Yr4

Our core reading scheme in Reception and Key Stage 1 is made up of fully decodable Read Write Inc. Phonics Book Bag Books, Dandelion Launchers Readers and Collins Big Cat Phonics Books.

These synthetic reading schemes demonstrate clear phonetic progression, introducing a few letters at a time and ensuring children have a thorough and secure understanding of these before moving on. As children move through Key Stage 1 they continue to apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words until automatic decoding has become embedded and reading is fluent. To improve fluency and comprehension we encourage children to read the same book several times at home. Books are colour banded throughout the school to provide a breadth of reading which engages the children across their school reading journey. In Key Stage 2 scheme books and ‘real’ books are used to widen children’s reading experiences and to promote reading for pleasure.


As we believe that reading is key to all learning, the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of statutory assessments. Children have the opportunity to enter the wide and varied magical worlds that reading opens up to them. 

Through the teaching of systematic phonics and reading enquiry, our aim is for children to become fluent and confident readers by the end of Key Stage 1. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. 

How we measure the impact:

In Reception and Year 1: Read Write Inc. half termly checks ensure that pupils are placed within the correct teaching group and that progress is being made.

In Year 1 children sit the National Phonics Screening Test. Those children who do not meet the national expected standard re-sit the test in Year 2. 

In Year 2 attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One 

In Years 1-4 Salford  Reading Assessments are carried out at the end of each term.

As a Year 4 reader, transitioning into middle school, we aspire that children are fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as use their reading skills to unlock learning and all areas of the curriculum.  

Phonics: How to support your child at home
Free eBook library from Oxford Owl for Home
Ages 3-11
Reading by age: Nursery to Year 4