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Cutcombe Church of England First School

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Phonics and Reading



Reading is a complex skill with many components. Successful approaches to the teaching of reading should encourage children to use a variety of strategies in their pursuit of meaning.


It is important to lay firm foundations in this crucial area of the curriculum and establish a consistent whole school approach to the teaching of reading. At Cutcombe and Exford Schools we value the importance of reading not only as a life skill but also as an opportunity for enjoyment and escapism. We believe that success in reading opens doors to a world of knowledge.  Children who read regularly or are read to regularly have the opportunity to open the doors to so many different worlds! More importantly, reading will give your child the tools to become independent life-long learners.




● To develop a love of books and reading.

● To develop reading strategies and skills: fluency, accuracy, understanding and

response to different texts.

● Develop children`s experiences through a variety of text including the use of libraries, ICT and other available media.

● Develop the ability to use and manipulate a variety of texts, both fiction and non-fiction.

● To create a strong, embedded reading culture through a rich language environment within classrooms and the wider school environment.

● To deliver a structured and consistent whole school approach to reading.

● To recognise the value of parents / carers as essential components in supporting and developing children’s reading skills and love of reading.

● To rigorously monitor and assess children’s progress in reading and identify those who require extra support and intervene at an early stage.

Reading Rope - We ensure each strand of the Reading Rope is considered when planning and delivering reading sessions.



In Reading, pupils have access to a variety of books from a range of reading schemes, including a wealth of authors to support children with their reading skills.  This is because children learn to read in different ways. 


At Cutcombe CofE First School we use Read Write Inc Phonics (RWI) to give your child the best possible start with their literacy. We have put together a guide to how the RWI programme works together with some useful links.


Once the class teacher is happy with a pupil’s reading and comprehension of books within a stage they will progress to the next step.  Teacher judgement is supported by RWI assessments and comprehension (verbal and/or written) assessments.


Reading to an adult


Children are listened to by a variety of adults, including their class teacher, classroom assistants, head teacher and volunteer readers.  


Those children accessing RWI will take part in a focussed group reading session four times a week, in small groups which match their ability and phonic knowledge.  Those children who have exited the RWI programme will have guided reading activities to complete at least twice a week. In addition to this group reading, children will also be heard reading individually to a member of staff at least once a week. 


Incentives to read


To encourage children to read, we have an initiative called the Reading Rainbow. Each time an adult hears a child read they tick off a box on their reading rainbow.  There are ten boxes on each coloured bookmark and seven bookmarks in total.  When a child has completed all seven coloured cards, they have read a rainbow.  Each time a coloured bookmark is completed, this is shared in our Friday Celebration Worship.  When a child completes a Rainbow, they are rewarded with a reading badge or similar reward.  Many of our children read for pleasure, for some this incentive is extremely effective and they take great pride when their reading is recognised in Celebration Worship.


Shared reading


We believe in developing a love of reading and storytelling from an early age.  We have a selection of books we regularly share with the children.  These books are taken from the Pie Corbett Reading Spine or the Read Write Inc, Linked Text list.


The children also have access to the school library and mobile library bus (currently unavailable due to Covid restrictions) enabling them to borrow books to share at home.


Reading environment


Every class will have access to a reading area that invites children to come and read a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts reflecting genres, cultures, gender and race.


There is a designated Reflection Area where children have access to Bibles, Christian stories and written prayers reflecting the ethos of both schools.


Every class will have a range of books available to pupils that reflect their current class topic. ICT in the classroom through laptops, iPads and interactive whiteboards will be available for children to access digitally written materials to support their learning in all curriculum areas.

Working in partnership with parents


The teaching of reading is greatly enhanced if there is strong communication and support from parents.

At the early stages of reading, Reception children will bring home a sound book and later a blending book with just one word on each page. Please have fun with your child in helping them to say the sounds then read the word aloud. Books with short sentences will follow when your child is ready.


Children may bring home three types of books:


  1. A fully decodable book from the Read, Write, Inc. Scheme which they will be able to read to you independently.


  1. A sharing book – one which your child has chosen themselves which they will be able to read with support from you. Some words may include sounds which they have not yet been taught.


  1. A library book – a fiction or non-fiction book from our school library which you can enjoy together.



Parent Workshops

Unfortunately, it has not been possible to invite parents in for a Phonics and Reading workshop this year, due to Covid-19 restrictions.  The information in the PowerPoint from 2019 is still relevant.


As it has not been possible to invite parents in, we have used the online platform of Tapestry to support parents with the early stages of phonics.  In addition we have signed posted parents to the Read Write Inc (RWI) materials available online.

Parent Reading Workshop November 2019

Blended learning


Tapestry is the chosen platform for Reception and Key Stage 1 children in both schools.  Years 3 and 4 in both school, use Google Classroom as their chosen platform for online learning.  Through these platforms we can communicate with parents and children and set reading comprehension tasks as appropriate.  In addition, children at both schools have access to free eBooks via Oxford Owl.  Cutcombe children also have access to eBooks via Bug Club.


Through regular assessment at least half termly we are able to closely monitor a child’s individual progress and provide additional support as necessary.  Progress in reading is discussed at pupil progress meetings held termly.  To assist these discussions a range of assessments take place. 


  • Termly reading ages using Salford Reading Test
  • Half termly RWI assessment for those children accessing the programme
  • Summative assessment while hearing children read
  • Written comprehension
  • Phonics Screening in Year 1
  • Phonics Screening in Year 2 - for those children who do not achieve the pass mark in Year 1.  For this year (2020) all Year 2s will take the phonic screening in the Autumn Term as they were unable to take it in Year 1 due to Covid-19.
  • End of KS1 SATs and Teacher assessment



Specific intervention strategies are put into place to support children who have not made the expected progress.  These include

  • Targeted reader – heard to read individually at least 4 times a week
  • RWI 1:1
  • Flashcards for tricky words and common exception words


Prior to starting an intervention, entry data is obtained and specific targets are set.  At the end of an intervention or when interventions are reviewed exit data is obtained.   Impact of the intervention is measured by the amount of progress from entry and exit data and whether targets have been met.   This information is held by the SENCO and shared with staff and parents as appropriate.

How do we choose books for Story Time?


Pie Corbett is a literacy expert, who designed the Talk 4 Writing programme.  As a school we are gradually implementing this approach to deliver our English lessons.  To support this we will be using Pie Corbett's Reading Spine to choose the books we share with each class during story time.  


During the third Read Write Inc. session the children will listen to the linked text.


We love children to recommend books for other children and happily share children's suggested stories during story time.  


The idea of having a bank of stories the children know well is to build their inner kingdom of stories. Not only will this encourage children to read for pleasure but they will be able to apply some of the ideas and strategies used by the authors in their own writing.