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Reading and Phonics at Grasmere


At Grasmere Academy we follow the DFE - validated systematic synthetic phonics programme Read Write Inc.  This programme teaches children to read sounds and blend them into words.  They apply their phonics knowledge during lessons to read and comprehend storybooks that are carefully matched to the sounds they know.  

Developing Early Reading - Read Write Inc.

In our Two Year Old provision and Nursery, the children access pre-phonics activities.  The activities develop speaking and listening skills to lay the foundations so that they will be ready to begin our formal Read Write Inc. phonics programme in Reception.  We encourage and support them to get attuned to the sounds around them in readiness for the oral blending and segmenting skills.  

Their curriculum is split into different aspects; listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing), tuning into sounds (auditory discrimination) and talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension).

Throughout Reception,Year 1and Year 2, children at Grasmere Academy take part in daily Read Write Inc. phonics sessions.  Children in KS2 access these on a daily basis where appropriate.  Each session lasts for 20 - 45minutes and the programme is designed to teach children to read fluently and accurately.  Regular assessments take place to make sure the children are taught in the right group to match their ability.  Once a child has completed the phonics scheme, they will move into a spelling group )see writing curriculum). 

At the end of Year 1, every child completes the statutory National phonic screener check, which is designed to test a child's ability to decode words (including nonsense words) using their phonic knowledge and strategies.  For the past few years, children have been required to read 32 out of the 40 words correctly to meet the required standard.  Any children who do not meet the standard must re-take the test in Year 2. 

The Oxford owl website has excellent information for parents regarding phonics, especially video clips that allows you to hear how each letter sound/phoneme is pronounced.

Developing reading throughout the school

At Grasmere Academy we are passionate about reading and actively encourage children to read for pleasure from a very early age.  Staff at all levels seek to find as many opportunities as possible to promote positive attitudes towards reading, as we recognise the huge importance of reading in child development.  We ultimately aim for the children to 'want' to read through intrinsic processes. 

Reading enables children and adults to;

  • Achieve goals

  • Develop knowledge and empathy

  • Understand the world

  • Imagine different possibilities

  • Build social relationships

  • Undertake activities

  • To enjoy and make the most of the written word

Our school library is continually developing and gaining current texts for the children to explore and to escape into. Each child has the opportunity to visit the library and independently choose a reading for pleasure book to enjoy at home with their families.  Classes also visit the local public library, where they have access to a wide variety of texts, bringing a book back to school to enjoy and share.  Each member of staff has access to the Schools Library Service, allowing us to borrow an extensive range of books each term that link to current projects.  

Children taking part in the Read Write Inc. phonics programme, bring home a decodable phonics book that is closely matched to their reading ability every 3/4 days. 

Children on the spelling programme take part in Benchmark assessments, that provide them with a book that is closely matched to their reading ability from a combination of schemes such as Oxford Reading Tree and Heinemann Rapid (this provision is currently being extended Summer/Autumn 2022).

Within our Guided Reading sessions, children are taught to develop a wide range of skills, including: retrieval, inference, prediction, clarifying, questioning, sequencing and summarising.  They also develop a wide knowledge and use of vocabulary through reading high quality texts, carefully chosen by each reading teacher.  Children in Years 1-6 participate in guided reading sessions four times a week, usually as a whole class.  They develop their ability to talk about texts and link different books together.  At Grasmere Academy, we also build upon the children's knowledge of authors and illustrators, connecting with many through Twitter, making the whole process more 'real and purposeful'. 

Reading at home

At Grasmere Academy, we believe that reading with young children is one of the most important things parents/carers can do to help with their child's education. 

The Open University Reading for Pleasure website 'supporting reading at a home', is great for hints and tips for encouraging your child to read at home. is another website that you will find useful. provides super advice and support around the importance of sharing a book, song or rhyme from as early as possible with your child.  

Killingworth Library is a very useful resource for you to use to encourage your child to choose books independently and enjoy at home. 

Each child also has access to Oxford Owls on their home device, this enables access to a wide range of digital books.  Please ask staff for login details. 

Recommended reading lists

At Grasmere Academy we have created and are continually developing our whole school reading spine.  This will expose the children to books that are of a high quality, beautifully written and illustrated and will stay with your child forever.  By the end of their time at Grasmere Academy, the children will have experienced a huge variety of fiction, non - fiction, poetry, graphic novels and other genres.  The spine represents and reflects the diversity of our school and the wider community.  

Please follow our engaging reading activities on class SeeSaw and Twitter accounts.

It is our belief that at Grasmere Academy, that if a child doesn't like to read, they just haven't found the right book yet! It is our pleasure to help them find this and unlock the door to a love of reading. 

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