Learning and Living Together

Reading and Phonics

Reading at Cale Green Primary School

Reading is at the heart of the curriculum at Cale Green. We believe that learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. Our aim is to teach children to become confident and competent readers by learning how to word read and by developing comprehension skills. We also want your child to love reading and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read. Parents are actively encourages to be involved in their child’s reading journey throughout their time at school.

Reading is encouraged across the curriculum and our curriculum theme planning identifies significant high quality texts which support our learning challenges.

Early Years

We recognise that being able to read is the most important skill children will learn during their early schooling and has far-reaching implications for lifelong confidence and well-being. Children at Cale Green begin their learning journey by being immersed in an environment where the development of speaking and listening skills is prioritised so children hear and use a broad range of vocabulary from an early age. To provide rich language experiences we model appropriate vocabulary, share books, sing songs and rhymes, play imaginatively and take part in a range of Phase One Letters and Sounds activities both in adult-led activities and in continuous provision. This ensures children are talking, listening and using a range of vocabulary, in preparation for discreet Phase 2 phonics teaching.

We hold open sessions for the parents and carers of children in our Nursery and Reception classes, so they can see and take part in multi-sensory phonics sessions, and invite family members in to our Early Years classes to tell or read a story to a group as a ‘Mystery Reader.’ Play Club bags are used to engage families in early reading activities and incentives such as the ‘Reading Rocket’ and a ‘Reading Bingo’ list engage families in reading a range of texts at home.

Home-school reading books are given to children in both Nursery and Reception. Our Induction processes emphasise the importance of families engaging in reading of both books and environmental print. We start with non-worded picture books and move on to decodable texts as the children learn letters and sounds so that they can use their new learning straight away. One to one reading takes place daily with a volunteer from the ‘Beanstalk’ charity, teachers, teaching assistants and with the bi-lingual teaching assistant. Information regarding reading is shared in children’s online learning journals and their reading diaries so that parents can see how their child is progressing and how they can help.

Each of our Early Years classrooms has enticing book areas which house a range of texts including fiction, non-fiction, favourites, picture books, decodable texts, number books, rhyming books and bi-lingual texts. In addition, texts are provided in our print-rich provision areas to support and extend learning. Adults regularly read with the children for fun: individually, in small groups or to the class. Shared stories feature as part of our daily routine: as a stimulus for challenges, to introduce concepts, to reinforce rhythm and rhyme, to stimulate discussion or simply to instil a love of reading. ‘Book’ language is introduced and reinforced as part of this.

‘Tales Toolkit’ is well embedded within our Early Years provision and practice. This introduces the elements which create a structure for stories: character, setting, problem and solution. Using props and their imaginations children create their own stories and retell familiar stories. Once this is embedded, ‘Talk for Writing’ is used to further explore both familiar and known texts.

Key Stage One

Within Key Stage 1 we place great emphasis on building on the lover of reading we have fostered in the Early Years. We teach reading using a variety of reading schemes such as Oxford Reading Tree, Project X, and Story Worlds. Children read every day either though guided reading sessions or are listened to read individually either by the class teacher, teaching assistant or volunteer.  We aim to listen to children read daily during guided reading sessions and a minimum of once a week individually. 

Teachers regularly read to the children too, so that the children can hear how a good, fluent reader sounds. It is a time for children to enjoy books, while providing language rich experiences and opportunities to extend the children’s vocabulary and comprehension skills, as well as support their writing. Children are encouraged to write book reviews and discuss their favourite authors, recommending titles that could be shared as part of our class novel as well as creating a culture for reading for pleasure.

Each year group has a ‘Reading Bingo’ book list which encourages children to read a variety of authors and types of books during the year. The list contains many wonderful, carefully compiled, books. There is a variety of fiction, including picture books.  The books on the list are linked to year group expectations.  Copies of the books are available in each child’s class and they are welcome to change them as often as needed. As well as being able to take Reading Bingo books home, each class has a timetabled slot to use the school library where they are able to take books home to enjoy.

School provides several workshops during the year to support parents/families with supporting children become fluent and confident readers.  Additional support is provided for children who may find the early stages of learning to reading difficult/challenging. This may be in the form of additional 1:1 reading support, small intervention work or additional phonics support. School also provides after school clubs to support children alongside their families become more secure within their phonic learning which will support reading at home.

Phonics at Cale Green

We use ‘Letters and Sounds’ as our primary systematic approach to teaching early reading and phonic knowledge.   Our systematic approach is adopted by all staff to ensure a consistent approach. Children are taught phonics according to which phase they are working on and are regularly assessed and monitored to ensure good progress. Children are taught in groups based on ability not on age. There is regular movement between the groups which are delivered by teachers at teaching assistants.

Further details about Letters and Sounds can be found at:


Key Stage Two

As the children move into Key Stage 2, we begin to explore how the writer has used language to keep the readers’ interest. We look at the features of a range of different fiction and non-fiction texts, discussing the use of different layouts and sentence structures and also provide a greater element of challenge and to further develop their comprehension skills in line with the expectations of the National Curriculum.

Children take part in daily extended reading lessons, which support comprehension and the learning behaviours which support dialogue, through shared quality texts. They also continue to have an individual reading book, moving on to ‘free readers’ when it is assessed as appropriate. In addition, children share high quality texts through which the full range of English reading and writing skills are taught, as well as opportunities for reading across the curriculum.  

Children who may struggle to access age-related texts will attend a 20 session intervention called the ‘Leicester Inference Programme’ to accelerate their decoding and comprehension skills. Some pupils may also be invited to join the Key Stage One phonics sessions if there are specific gaps in their phonic knowledge.

Reading Bingo continues to have a focus throughout Key Stage 2 with a careful selection of modern and classic titles to ensure that each child develops a breadth and a reading stamina as they progress towards Year 6.  

Reading Volunteers

There are a number of volunteers working in our school, including some who are trained by the charity ‘Beanstalk’. They regularly read with targeted children.

Author Visits and Prizes

Throughout the year, we aim for all children to have exposure to high quality authors, illustrators and texts. In recent years, our children have met many children authors including the children’s laureate, Lauren Child; Cressida Cowell, Nick Butterworth, Chloe Inkpen, Alex Smith and Onjali Rauf and have benefitted from their inspirational stories and journeys.

Book rewards and vouchers are presented to children for a range of different activities. The post prestigious prize in school is given when children complete their Cale Green Star Chart. The children visit a book shop and choose a book. This is then presented to the children with a book plate in the front during a special assembly and the child’s achievement is included in the school newsletter.

Each year the children visit, and are encouraged to join, our local ‘Edgeley’ library.  The school also takes part in the annual Summer Reading Challenge, Stockport Book Awards and World Book Day activities.

Reading Ambassadors

At Cale Green, we have a well-stocked library filled with non-fiction books as well as housing picture books and novels. Each class has the opportunity to visit whenever and wherever possible.  A group of our most enthusiastic readers from Key Stage 2, Reading Ambassadors, look after the library alongside Mrs Beecham, our librarian. In addition, fluent Year 6 readers along with the Reading Ambassadors are Reading Buddies to less confident readers lower down the school. This is a much valued responsibility post and one that year 6 pupils aspire to as they work on their own reading.

The school has two subject leaders who are responsible for reading- monitoring and evaluating the different reading programmes. They also ensure that books and resources for the teaching of reading are purchased through the school budget and through fund raising efforts of the active Friends of Cale Green (FROcGs). Reading for pleasure and to raise standards is a core focus for everyone at Cale Green Primary School.    

Liz Adie – Early Years

Emily Best – Key Stage 1 / phonics

Sarah McHugh – Key Stage 2

Summer 2020



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