Reading and Phonics

At Brierley we recognise the importance of reading.  We understand that a child’s journey to becoming a reader starts with a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics.  We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds phonics programme which starts with foundations for phonics in nursery where children are taught how to tune in to different sounds and repeat patterns.  In Reception and Year 1 our children work through the phonics phases and are taught a new sound each day with the fifth day of each week focusing on recapping and reviewing.  Additional phonics teaching takes place daily for any children who need extra practise.

Our reading books are colour banded and each child is given a book which is carefully matched to their phonics knowledge, providing them with the opportunity to practise the sounds they have been taught by reading books at home as well as in school.  Once a child is secure in phonics they continue to move through the banded books, accessing a wide range of quality texts appropriate for their age.   In addition to this, children take home a ‘share book’ which provides an opportunity for children to share a quality text with an adult.  Staff keep a log of what children are reading and support them in choosing books of a wide range of genres and authors.

Our main focus is for our children to have the skills necessary in order to be able to read books as soon as possible and to do so with automaticity, fluency and expression.  This is something which is specifically taught in reading lessons and is also encouraged to be practised at home through daily reading with an adult. It is important that our children have a good understanding of what they are reading and the vocabulary they come across in books.  Reading skills are taught through group and whole class lessons using texts which are linked to English units of work, topics from other parts of the curriculum and books which have been chosen to suit the interests of the children.  Many of these texts can be found in our reading spine. Children are heard on a one-to-one basis as well as during whole class and group choral reading sessions.

Not only do we want our children to be readers but we are also passionate about instilling a love of reading in each and every one of our children.  This is modelled by the teachers during daily ‘drop and read’ sessions, where teachers read a book to the children for enjoyment and engage the children in book talk linked to what has been read.  Children at Brierley are exposed to a wide range of quality texts, genres and authors with regular opportunities to read throughout the curriculum.

Book Corners

All of our classrooms feature bright, stimulating and inviting books corners for children to sit and read in and we regularly invest in high quality texts for the children. In our book corners you will often find children’s recommendations and reviews of their favourite books. We have also recently launched our author focus strategy where we have strategically planned to ensure that by the time children leave us in year 6 they have read many books by significant authors, including Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo, Julia Donaldson, Mick Inkpen and lots more. Every year we partake in World Book Day, everyone, including staff, come to school dressed as their favourite book character for the day.


Each year we endeavour to invite at least two children’s book authors to school. The authors, such as Stuart Reid and Alan Gibbons often perform whole school assemblies and individual class workshops. The children thoroughly enjoy their visits.

Guided Reading

Guided reading is a daily occurrence throughout the school and in this time children have further opportunity to engage with high quality texts and show their understanding through a range of responses such as drama, extended writing opportunities and reader’s theatre. We also ensure that throughout their time at school children regularly hear adults reading aloud.

Promoting Early Reading

In Foundation Stage we have ‘Stay and Play’ sessions for parents that specifically focus on them reading with their children and we create opportunities where parents who wish to can come in and read a story to their child’s class.

Levelled books

We send home levelled books for children across the school to ensure that children are reading books with a good level of challenge. We use the Every Child a Reader (ECaR) reading levels, numbered 1-30. Once a child reaches level 30, they become a free reader. Children’s reading is monitored regularly by the staff and we encourage the children and parents to communicate using their reading diary so that in partnership we can help parents to help their child at home. We hold a Reading Workshop for parents each year, here we are able to teach parents and carers how we teach phonics and reading at Brierley. We offer advice and provide free quality reading books for them to share at home with their child.

Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher should you have any questions or queries.

Reading in the Curriculum

Throughout our school, learning is planned in a cross curricular way and we routinely use books as our starting point for a topic. In the past we have planned a whole term’s worth of learning around texts such as; Pirate Post, Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, Traction Man and lots more. Using a high quality text as a basis for learning really engages the children and helps to develop quality writing as well as stimulating learning in other areas of the curriculum.

ECaR & Switch-on Literacy

We have a trained ‘ECaR’ (Every Child a Reader) teacher in school, who is trained in the ‘Reading Recovery’ approach. We also have a fully trained teacher and three teaching assistances trained in a new reading and writing intervention called Switch-on. Both ECaR and Switch-on offer significant help to our least able readers which, in most cases, results in a dramatic improvement in their progress.

If you feel that you would like some advice with early reading strategies please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Bridgett, who will be delighted to help you.