Learning to Read at Chisenhale

We aim to provide a rich and stimulating learning environment that encourages all children to learn to read and love to read. Reading skills are taught during daily Literacy lessons as well as in Guided Reading and Phonics.

During Guided Reading in Early Years and Key Stage 1, the teacher provides support for small groups of readers as they learn to use various reading strategies (context clues, letter and sound relationships, word structure, etc.). Comprehension is also a key aspect of Guided Reading, whereby children develop a deeper understanding of the content they have read through careful and planned questioning. In KS2, Guided Reading becomes a whole class activity where the teacher structures questions around skills such as inference and prediction and encourages the class to unpick a variety of texts and use evidence to support their points of view.

Individual Reading is also a key aspect of our approach to teaching reading. Targeted children have the opportunity to read one-to-one with an adult where children benefit from having focussed time on an area for development 

Each class has its own reading area, which we aim to make as inviting as possible. Within each reading area, there are a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books, some of which are linked to the class topic in order to extend children’s interest and knowledge. Each class also has access to levelled books which helps us to track children’s reading progress at the earlier reading stages.

We know that the more children read, the better equipped they will be to engage in all aspects of the curriculum. Children take their reading books home each day to practise their reading skills and share their learning with their families. A home school reading diary is provided for each child so that adults at school and parents/carers can communicate about the progress that is being made. In KS2, parents/carers write their signature in the diary to show that reading has happened at home. Children are required to read or share a book at home for a minimum of 10 minutes per night in Early Years and KS1; 15 minutes per night in LKS2 and 20 minutes per night in UKS2. Year 5 and 6 are required to write one sentence about what they have read the night before and show it to their class teacher when they arrive at school the next morning. 

Our school uses Letters and Sounds to teach reading (and writing). It is a phonics resource that was published in 2007 as part of the National Strategies initiative. It builds children's speaking and listening skills and prepares them for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills.

Children begin Phase One in Nursery and then they are taught the remaining phases in Reception and throughout Key Stage 1. Below is a summary of each phase:



Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One      

Seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending (putting sounds together to make a word - for reading) and segmenting (splitting a word up into its separate sounds - for spelling).

Phase Two

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three     

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes (written sounds) such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes (spoken sounds) not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions.

Phase Four

Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five

Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing them.

Phase Six

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.


The school uses a range of reading scheme texts for individual reading and (some) guided reading, which are colour coded using book bands. They offer very specific levels and enable us to target children’s individual needs. In addition to this, the children have access to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction from both the classroom and the library collections. We are proud of our library at Chisenhale and open it up at lunch times for children to read for pleasure.