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 during English lessons as well as in Guided Reading and Phonics.



At Chisenhale Primary School we use THE Partnership Phonics Programme. This is a systematic synthetic phonics programme based on ‘Letters and Sounds’ which promotes the use of phonics as the prime route to reading unknown words. 


Here is the link to access support for phonics from The Partnership website:


All children receiving phonics instruction read decodable books matched to their phonics knowledge both in school and at home. For this, we use the Bug Club decodable reading books. The children in Reception and Year 1 take home hard copies of these books and the children in Year 2 have access to these online when reading at home through


THE Partnership Phonics Programme is designed for daily teaching sessions (from early in Reception) in a clearly defined, incremental sequence. This sequence enables children to read and spell many words early on. It progresses from simple to more complex phonic knowledge and skills, cumulatively covering all the major GPCs (grapheme-phoneme correspondences) in English. This structured route aims for children to meet or exceed the expected standard in the Y1 PSC (Phonics Screening Check) and all national curriculum expectations for word reading through decoding by the end of KS1.


There are four key concepts that we teach to all pupils, these are:

  1. Letters are symbols (spellings) that represent sounds.
  2. A sound may be spelled by one, two, three or four letters:

E.g. dog   street   night   eight

  1. The same sound can be spelled in more than one way:

E.g. rain   acorn   cake   day

  1. Many spellings can represent more than one sound:

E.g. head   seat   break


There are three key skills that we teach to all pupils, these are:

  1. Blending: the ability to push sounds together to build words.
  2. Segmenting: the ability to pull apart the individual sounds in words.
  3. Phoneme manipulation: the ability to insert sounds into and delete sounds out of words. This skill is necessary to test out alternatives for spellings that represent more than one sound


Common exception words:

Common exception words enable children to read texts. These words are kept at a minimum in the early phases. For example:

        I           go        to        no        into     the


The national curriculum refers to these as ‘common exception words’ because they contain grapheme phoneme correspondences that are unusual or have not yet been taught. Common exception words are built into each phase of the programme, and it is not an expectation that children will be provided with lists of words to learn.


Each lesson is built around direct teaching sessions (revise, hear, read, write, apply), with extensive teacher-child interaction. Throughout each session, children are expected to actively engage in the learning and each lesson involves a multisensory approach. The lesson structure provides a consistent approach where children get to know what is coming next and minimum time is spent explaining new activities. The teaching and learning activities are interesting and engaging but firmly focused on intensifying the learning associated with the phonic goal.  Any computer resources used by schools must match the order of GPCs and not be used to replace direct teaching by the teacher.


Assessment is carried out at regular intervals with top-up sessions provided to support children who are at risk of falling behind.


A parent workshop was run during the autumn term for Reception parents/carers to share how we teach phonics and how you can support you child's reading at home. The presentation from this can be accessed here: 





During Guided Reading in KS1, the teacher and support staff provide support for small groups of readers as they learn to use various reading strategies (context clues, letter and sound relationships, word structure, etc.) using the Bug Club books. 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 uses the focus core book being explored in the English lessons as a stimulus. The teachers structure questions around skills such as inference, prediction and summarising, and encourage 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.


Every class has daily story time allowing the children time to hear texts read aloud and get lost in their imagination and themes of the book. Great thought is given when selecting the texts we share, aiming to represent our Chisenhale community. This year we have been developing a list of key story time reads with the staff and children and this will continue to be added to over time.


Each class has its own reading area, which we aim to make as inviting as possible, promoting reading for pleasure. 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. We are proud of our library at Chisenhale and open it up at lunch times for children to use and have weekly slots for classes to visit.


We know that the more children read, the better equipped they will be to engage in all aspects of the curriculum. In Reception and KS1, the children access Bug Club decodable texts either having hard copies of these books or online matched to their phonics teaching and progress. They also take home a book from the reading area of their choice to enjoy as shared reading with their family, and hence these can be beyond their reading ability.  


In KS2, children also 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. 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 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.