Reading and Phonics



Reading Intent

At Willow Bank Infant School we believe that reading is a key life skill and our aim is to provide an environment which promotes the love of reading by putting books at the heart of our curriculum. We will ensure children’s phonic knowledge is secure, enabling them to become fluent readers at an early stage. By doing this our aim is for our pupils to choose to read for pleasure, achieve excellent outcomes and are ready for the next phase of their education.


Reading Implementation

We use the synthetic phonics programme Read Write Inc: a systematic method of daily teaching of phonic sounds and then learning to blend these sounds to read and spell words.

Phonics is taught daily to all children in EYFS, Year 1 and those in Year 2 who have not completed the programme. Children are taught in small, homogenous groups by teachers and support staff who receive regular training and support to maintain the quality of teaching to ensure all pupils make rapid progress. Children begin their phonics journey on entry to EYFS. Children are regularly assessed (every 6-7 weeks) and grouped accordingly until they have completed the programme.

Within our RWI lessons, children read a wide range of engaging phonic books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words. Within the teaching sequence, children re-read the stories to develop their accuracy, fluency and confidence.  

In addition, children are taught to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as children’s poor articulation, or problems with blending.

After reading the RWI Storybook at school, the children take home a RWI Book Bag Book matched to the their colour group along with a red word book which is used to practice their red (tricky words), in addition they take an alternative decodable reading scheme book home to read.

Regular RWI assessments (half termly) ensure an appropriate home reading book is selected so that all children experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. 

Alongside this, the teachers read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to children, which they are soon able to read for themselves, to instill a love of reading. Books are carefully chosen to be representative of the children in our community, whilst being ambitious in the content, ensuring we are exposing all children to a wide variety of vocabulary and genres.

Children who are not making the expected level of progress in phonics and reading will receive fast-track tutoring, additional 1:1 support or small group interventions, to ensure that no child gets left behind. These are closely monitored half termly by the SLT.

Once the children have completed RWI the children move to a Reading Scheme of work called Mastery readers. This enables children to deeply understand the text and answer inference questions confidently.

All children in the school visit the well-stocked library weekly to chose books to take home and share with family. This helps ensure we are creating lifelong readers.

Parents are expected to listen to their children read at least 3 times a week which is recorded in their reading diaries.


Following the rigorous implementation of the RWI programme alongside any additional interventions, children will confidently recall and apply the 40+ sounds, blending and segmenting to accurately read and spell.  

Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.