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Southover CE Primary School

Reading and Phonics at Southover School

English and the teaching of English is the foundation of our curriculum. Our aim is to ensure every single child becomes primary literate and makes good progress in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. 



At Southover, we are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers and we believe reading is key for academic success. We want pupils to develop a love of reading and become enthusiastic readers. We aim for pupils to have a good knowledge of a range of authors and be able to understand more about the world in which they live through the knowledge they gain from texts.  At Southover, we want all children to have an understanding of the importance of reading. All pupils will be given the opportunity to read a broad range of text types and genres. We want pupils to be able to see themselves in stories and for them to be confident choosing their own books and recommending books to others.


We believe that the acquisition of phonics is a crucial skill that children need to become proficient and confident readers and writers. We teach phonics within an environment rich in quality texts where reading for enjoyment is promoted and children’s comprehension of language is fostered.

We intend to equip children with the key strategies for reading (through our teaching of phonics) and provide many opportunities (often with cross-curricular links) for discussing and understanding texts. As teachers, we provide children with an enthusiastic and positive attitude towards reading by being ‘reading teachers’. We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills. At Southover, we aim to have a positive home-school partnership, which will provide parents and carers with the knowledge of ways to enhance the skills being taught in school through high quality texts.


We believe that all pupils should have the opportunity to be fluent, confident readers who are able to successfully comprehend and understand a wide range of texts.




At Southover, from Reception onwards, we follow the Sounds Write programme. Sounds Write is a highly structured, multi-sensory, incremental and code-oriented, instructional approach to teaching children to read and spell. Sounds Write ensures children are taught all key elements of conceptual understanding, factual knowledge, and the three essential skills of blending, segmenting and phoneme manipulation necessary for learning to read and spell. 

All children in Reception and Key Stage 1 receive a whole class daily phonics lesson so all children achieve the automaticity that underlies the fluency of every successful reader.  Teachers use the correct terminology with the children, such as phonemes, graphemes, digraphs and trigraphs, as they are introduced. Some children may require additional focused phonics to support their level of need and this will be delivered by either the class teacher or teaching assistant. Children in Key Stage 2 who have not yet acquired the necessary phonics knowledge for reading and writing will continue to have phonics sessions.

To create life-long, enthusiastic readers, we:

  • Within lessons, teachers and teaching assistants target support for slower graspers to enable them to achieve at an age-related level wherever possible. Outside of lessons, interventions (like ‘Every Child a Reader’) take place to support children struggling with their decoding and comprehension skills.
  • Regularly promote and encourage reading for pleasure. Independent reading occurs daily (during registration for 10 minutes or at any other given time); a class story is read by the teacher to the children daily which is chosen from our Southover Reading Spine; writing units are often text-driven; children are required to read regularly at home as part of the homework policy in KS2; and a variety of texts are used to support the learning in foundation subjects.
  • Have class libraries and a school library which have a broad variety of books for children to choose from. We will ensure that we have a wide selection of books and books with lead characters that are representative of the multi-cultural society we live in, reflect the diversity of life and so that all children can see themselves in stories.
  • As teachers, will encourage reading by being reader teachers - discussing books with the children, recommending books to their individual tastes, creating displays and areas which celebrate reading (such as the library, books and displays in classrooms), and connecting with authors (such as via Twitter, Skype and writing letters).
  • Provide twilight sessions for parents to attend to find out more about how to support their children as readers. Training for parents and carers if they want to become reading volunteers where we provide a variety of strategies for helping children decode and comprehend a text. 
  • Promote reading via a range of events: World Book Day, Roald Dahl Day, interactions with authors via Twitter, sponsored reading, in school competitions, author visits, 500 words competition, books used in assemblies.

EYFS and KS1:

  • In Reception and Key Stage One, every child takes home a Phonic Book. This is closely matched to the sounds the children are learning in their daily phonics lessons.  The children also take home books from other reading schemes, predominately Oxford Reading Tree. Oxford Reading Tree is progressive and features familiar characters that build confidence with our early readers and different styles and genres as the children progress.
  • The use of helicopter stories in EYFS allows children to recall stories through drama activities.
  • During the Summer Term in Year 1, pupils undertake a Phonics Screening Test which assesses their ability to apply what they have learnt. After this, or beforehand dependant on teacher discretion, lessons move towards whole class reading lessons that take the same model as Years 2 to 6.


  • All children in Y2 and all of KS2 take part in 40-minute whole class reading lessons four times a week. Scaffolds are used to support disadvantaged and children with SEND. A range of text types are used throughout the year. A range of ways of reading the text are explored (teacher reads to set the pace/tone and then individual children read aloud, partner reading, echo reading, choral reading).

The class novel is used two times a week to ensure understanding and to allow the children opportunities to discuss key themes through PSHE questions. Some classes have a display for the class text with names of characters, key events in the plot, setting and predictions for the children to refer to. Reading Dogs are used to teach the variety of reading skills to the children and are regularly displayed/referred to in lessons.

  • Pupils are regularly encouraged to read at home. In LKS2, parents will comment on their children’s reading weekly. In UKS2, pupils or their parents can log their reading activity in their reading journal.
  • Reading interventions take place for those children that are below the age-related expectations. This may include 1:1 reading with an adult or small group interventions for comprehension.
  • Phonics and spelling interventions also take place to help with reading.




We intend for our children to have a thirst for reading a range of genres, including poetry, and be able to participate in discussions about books. They can also read books to enhance their knowledge and understanding of all subjects on the curriculum, and communicate their research to a wider audience. Children will have seen people like them represented in books, allowing them to feel a sense of place in the world and they will demonstrate compassion to their peers, community and the natural environment.

Pupils of all abilities will be able to succeed in all reading lessons, building on their prior knowledge. Summative assessments will be entered into Target Tracker each term. Teachers will use their professional judgement to determine whether a child is working within age-related expectations, above or below. They will base their judgements for the most part on the quality of the written outcomes pupils give after structured teaching within the agreed reading skills. Teachers may also complete reading assessments (e.g. past SATS papers, Twinkl assessments, Testbase) to provide another piece of evidence to support their assessment judgement. The percentage of pupils working at ARE at the end of each key stage will be above national averages. The percentage of pupils working at Greater Depth at the end of each key stage will be above national averages.

By the end of their time at Southover, all children should be competent readers who are prepared to read fluently and with confidence in any subject ready for their forthcoming secondary education.


Phonics Progression at Southover