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Reading & Phonics

at Didsbury CE Primary School


Reading is given the highest priority at Didsbury CE. We have the expectation that every child has the opportunity to learn to read to their highest potential and enjoy and experience the pleasure, excitement and adventure that engaging with books brings. Reading for pleasure is a high priority at Didsbury CE and a daily ‘read aloud’ story time is embedded in our school day in every class.

Through our reading curriculum we aim to teach the following attitudes: curiosity and interest in the world around us, independence, critical appraisal, pleasure and thoughtfulness, confidence, perseverance and respect for other views and cultures. We believe that reading is a right, not an option and that it is at the heart of learning. 

Our reading curriculum is designed to raise our aspiration through learning about amazing people in the books that we read and being inspired by the people that write them. We aim to celebrate diversity through reading about a wide range of people, places, cultures and beliefs to broaden our horizons and learn about the world’s rich tapestry. We also aim to build, develop and improve our use of vocabulary through immersing ourselves in books, whilst purposefully studying their words and messages.

We aim to enable all children, whatever their background, to develop articulacy in their responses to what they read and teach them to appreciate deeper meanings within texts.

We promote health and well-being through connecting with a book as a way of developing our feeling of wellness. Finally, we strive to make all our school community passionate, lifelong and vociferous life-long readers. 


Children at Didsbury CE follow the Letters and Sounds approach to phonics. There is a vision of progress that is set out for nursery and reception, and children are monitored and assessed to ensure they stay on track. Additional support is offered to children who are not on track.

In nursery, children also begin to learn the sounds that the individual letters make by using the Jolly Phonics songs.

In reception, children use phonics first reading books using a variety of reading schemes, such as Rigby Star, BBC Active and Floppy’s phonics. They are taught in small guided reading groups in line with their phonic development.

In years 1 and 2, children continue with small guided groups and read daily using the carousel approach. Children continue with a phonics first approach but this is then broadened to include a range of reading strategies. 

In years 3 to 6, children continue through the book bands and then they become free readers and select books from a variety of sources. Reading in KS2 is taught through a mixture of guided/shared reading and whole class comprehension.

Year 1 Phonics Screening

Children in Year 1 will sit the Phonics Screening Check in June each year. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2. During the Phonics Screening Check, children are asked to read 40 words. Most of these words are real words but some are pseudo-words. Pseudo-words are included to ensure that children are using their decoding skills and not just relying on their memory of words they have read before.

It will assess phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1. It will check that your child can:

  • Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words e.g. n-igh-t
  • Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
  • Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as ‘pseudo words’.

Parents are informed of their child’s progress from the checks in the end of year school report to parents.

Intent – why we teach what we teach

At Didsbury CE, it is our intent that the most important gift that we can give to our children is the power to read. We are a reading community and we provide an ambitious reading curriculum that gives children the opportunity to enjoy and engage with books from a wide range of authors and genres. Through reading, we give children a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Literature especially plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables to pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. The skill of reading helps pupils to participate fully as members of society. 

Implementation – how we teach what we teach

At Didsbury CE reading in EYFS is taught through the Reading early learning goal. Children have the opportunity to read through daily shared and guided reading sessions as well as participating in reading activities in the workshop areas both indoors and out.

In Key Stage 1, children participate in daily reading activities through guided and shared reading and activities on the reading carousel.

In Key Stage 2 children continue with guided reading in year 3 and move to focussed, whole class comprehension work in years 4-6. Some children will continue with guided reading activities if this is beneficial to them. All KS2 children continue to get opportunities for independent and shared reading through daily literacy activities.

In EYFS, children take home a weekly bedtime book. In years 1-3 children follow the book banding system and take books home weekly that are closely correlated to their guided reading band. In years 4-6 as children become more confident readers, they can choose from a range of texts in the classroom. All children from Nursery to Year 6 have a weekly library session and can select books from a varied collection.

Impact – how we measure what we teach

The impact of this reading curriculum is that children will be literate, their lives will be enriched and they will be inspired to further explore the world of books and the creative and informative opportunities that this offers. The children’s learning journey in reading is assessed each half term using the current assessment framework and reported on formally to parents at the end of each academic year. The progress of each child will be tracked throughout their time at Didsbury CE Primary.

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