Reading Subject Statement

Reading Leader: Mrs C Knowles

When teaching children to read, it is our intent that:

From Early Years, children will be emerged into a language rich curriculum through high quality text which will support and enrich the wider curriculum. Children will have the opportunity to be fluent, confident readers who are able to successfully comprehend and understand a wide range of texts. They will develop a love of reading, a wide knowledge of authors and a deeper curiosity and understanding of the world around them. The wider curriculum is seen as a vessel to learn language which in turn will support the reading fluency for all children. We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills, and so we want to encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school through good quality texts.


The implementation of our reading curriculum

Our children are immersed into a world of reading and books throughout their time at Star Academy. We ensure that children have access to high quality books through reading areas, our library, whole class shared stories and through a range of text which help to drive and underpin the wider curriculum. The children have regular access to fiction, non-fiction and poetry in English lessons as we use the power of the written word to underpin our writing.


Early Years

Alongside the teaching of phonics, children in our Early Years are immersed in books and the language of books. Each topic is taught through a selection of books. These books are read and reread to the children and then added to the reading areas as a book for the children to access through the year. Books are accessible as an area of continuous provision both indoors and outdoors.



In KS1, the children continue to learn phonics through Song of Sounds phonics scheme and the children continue to be immersed in high quality text. Books are linked through the topics to enrich the wider curriculum and to link children’s experiences. The Literacy Counts scheme guides teachers to use high quality texts  in their teaching of writing.

Daily teaching of reading is timetabled throughout the school and questioning techniques are used to deepen comprehension and extend children’s range of vocabulary.

Word aware starters are used in the wider curriculum to further support language acquisition and vocabulary.



In Key Stage 2, the children continue their learning journey using the Collins Big Cats reading scheme and a choice of free readers from our beautiful library. High quality text continue to be a feature as we progress through school with books enhancing and enriching the wider curriculum.

We actively teach reading through a reciprocal read approach (please see below) and develop comprehension further thorough Cracking Comprehension, a scheme which supports the quality first teaching of explicit reading skills.

Additional vocabulary is taught through Word Aware in the wider curriculum.



Reciprocal Reading

Reciprocal Reading: prediction, clarification of vocabulary, questioning and summary. Working with small groups ensure that there is regular and thorough teacher assessment of reading skills taking place.


Cracking comprehension

Cracking Comprehension is used to support the teaching of specific Content Domains. Children can practice embedding skills developed through Reciprocal reading on a cold text. It allows further diagnostic assessment to take place.


Reading at home

Children are able to access books at home in a variety of ways: scheme book, free choice book, access to e-books through Collins e-books and EPIC, an online library. We ask parents to read with their children on a daily basis and to record this practice in a reading record book.



We assess during our teaching sessions using summative assessment-for-learning techniques: assessing knowledge and skills against the relevant objectives during our Reading Squads.

Phonics is assessed half termly to ensure that children are learning at pace.

Book benchmarking takes place regularly, as needed. This ensures that new reading skills are practiced using instructional texts and books sent home are easy and pleasurable.

From Y1-Y6, we also use NTS formative assessment tests at the end of every term. These are analysed to inform next steps through the Rising Stars MARK/ Shine scheme.



Classrooms and learning areas support and enrich the learning of all children. As well as being rich, vibrant and welcoming, the environment is an important way to engaging children, by promoting a love of reading. All classrooms have a reading area which is pride of place and allows them to peruse books and make choices about their favourite genres and authors.


Working with parents

Parents and family members are vital to, and considered as partners in their children’s learning and progress: we actively encourage their involvement through:

  • A reading record book
  • Discussions about their child’s reading and current book
  • Parent consultations
  • Workshops to support the practice and enjoyment of reading at home



Song of Sounds is a DfE validated systematic synthetic phonics programme.

Song of Sounds is a child-centred, multi-sensory and creative approach to phonics that delivers results. Children make dramatic progress because the approach is exciting, interactive, and engaging but at the same time rigorous in its sequence of progression of skills and understanding.

Song of Sounds – Parent Guide

Stage 1 sounds taught in Reception Song of Sounds – Stage 1 2022 – YouTube

Stage 2 sounds taught in Year One Song of Sounds – Stage 2 2022 – YouTube

Stage 3 sounds taught in Year Two Song of Sounds – Stage 3 2022 – YouTube

How will my child learn the letter sounds?

Children in Year R will begin to learn all the letter sounds as soon as they start school. Each letter sound has an action and a song which will help your child to remember the letter that it represents. Children work through the initial sounds at a surprisingly fast rate; one letter sound will be taught each day, and as your child becomes more confident, they will find that the actions are no longer necessary.

The letter sounds will not be taught in the order of the alphabet; they have been chosen in groups of four letters at a time because they then enable a progression through the recognition of simple words, starting with three-letter ‘CVC’ (consonant-vowel-consonant) words such as c-a-t and t-a-p.


Teaching sounds and ‘tricky words’

We teach the initial sounds in the order below, across 4 stages as part of our Song of Sounds programme. You can use this grid to help support your child by pointing at each sound and asking your child what it is. Their confidence and speed will progress much faster than you think, but try not to move them on faster than they are being taught the sound groups in school.


Stage 0 covers pre-school, encouraging children to listen to sounds around them and develop their sound knowledge.


Stage 1 is covered in Year R, starting with these sounds which will be taught in the order below:

s, a, t, p i, n, m, d g, o, c, k ck, e, u, r h, b, f, ff, ll, ss

The second phase of Stage 1 adds the following sounds and ‘digraphs/trigraphs’ – a combination of two or more letters that represents a single sound:

j, v, w, x y, z, zz, qu ch, sh, th, ng
ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow,

oi, ear, air, ure, er

Tricky Words

During Phases 3 and 4 of the Stage 1 phonics programme in Year R, we start to add ‘tricky words.’ These are words which cannot be ‘sounded out’ but instead will need to be learnt by having lots of practice. These words are introduced gradually as children become confident and secure in the basic sounds introduced earlier. Again, you can use the grid below to practise, but try not to rush ahead!

Phase 3 Tricky Words

he she we me
be was you they
all are my her

Phase 4 Tricky Words

said have like so do
some come were there little
one when out what


Children will move on to Stages 2 and 3 in school years 1 and 2, during which they will encounter more complex sounds and patterns and continue to build their phonetic knowledge to give them the skills they will need to write with increasing vocabulary in the upper year groups.

In June 2024, all pupils in Year One will be assessed for their phonics reading. Follow the links below to find examples of previous assessments:

Phonics screening check: 2022 materials – GOV.UK (

Phonics screening check: 2019 materials – GOV.UK (

I’ve got an older child. Is Song of Sounds different?

If you’ve got an older child, don’t worry- reading hasn’t changed! We have adopted the programme as a way of engaging children even more with their early learning in phonics, but the books we send home and the approaches to sounding out words are broadly the same as those used to learn early reading skills by Key Stage 2 children before the introduction of Song of Sounds.

Our annual reading evening in September will support you to help your child when reading at home, so please don’t worry if this is new to you.