Elmley Castle C.E. First School

Elmley Castle C.E. First School

A Little Piece Of Heaven On Earth

Main Street, Elmley Castle, Worcestershire, WR10 3HS


01386 710279

Reading and Phonics

Reading and Phonics

'Phonics teaching is proving successful and helps pupils to become better readers over time.' OFSTED 2022

Here at ECFS we believe reading is one of the most important aspects of the school curriculum. If we can successfully equip our children with the skills to read, then they will have the very best opportunity to succeed in all other areas of the curriculum. Dr Seuss once said ‘The more you read, the more things you know, the more that you learn the more places you go’.

In KS1 we prioritise independent reading and we aim to read with your child/children at least twice a week. In KS2 independent reading is not carried out as frequently but this isn’t to say it is not as important. For most children at this stage, it is not learning how to read but more so learning to understand the content of which they are reading (please refer to the 5 pillars of reading'. Teachers assist in the choice of text for free readers to ensure they are benefiting from a wide range of text types. This is supplemented with class stories, group reading, mixed age group paired reading and library sessions.  

Creating a love for reading is always a key priority at ECFS. As you travel around the classes you will be greeted with interactive 3D wall murals which display age appropriate authors and book covers linked to our topics. Reading areas in all classes are cornered off, containing soft seating it is the perfect place to switch off and have time out with a book. 

With many of our teaching staff having busy family lives, we understand the pressures of reading with your child daily can sometimes become a burden. We therefore offer a 3 book policy:-

  1. All children from Reception to year 3 (plus older children who benefit from extra phonetical interventions) have a phonetically decodable book which they should be able to read independently.
  2. All children will be given a colour band book which is mostly decodable but will expose your child to new subject specific vocabulary. Or a free reader text for those who have completed the colour band sequence. 
  3. All children will be given the opportunity to choose a book from their class reading area or the school library and we encourage these to be read by an older sibling or an adult. 

Children are not expected to read all three texts each night but it makes it a more tailored approach. 

We use PM Benchmarking and the book band colouring system to assess our children's reading. Here is a simple breakdown of what level your child should be currently at and where they need to be aiming for next. 








Phonics and Spelling

We aim for all our children to develop a sound knowledge and understanding of letter sounds in order to give them the right tools for fluent reading skills. We use the Letters and Sounds phonic programme in the Early Years and KS1 which is supplemented with phonics play. 20 minute phonic sessions are carried out daily. Children are therefore grouped to their ability. 

If you would like to encourage your child to practice their sounds at home, please take a look at the free games on the Phonics Play link below. 


Early Reading Skills 

Shared Reading: Class Three have written and illustrated stories to read to Class Two


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