How We Teach Reading

Holy Trinity Rosehill CofE Primary School – How We Teach Reading

Encouraging children to read for enjoyment is key to success as a reader, therefore we choose texts that will excite and encourage children to read. Throughout the year, we promote reading through competitions, live webcasts and reading rewards. We believe our children should be enthusiastic, independent readers, who appreciate the benefits of reading for pleasure.

Reading in Nursery

Children who attend our Nursery will focus on Phase One Phonics activities which include:

  • Environmental sounds in preparation for early reading as they move into Reception
  • Instrumental sounds
  • Body percussion (e.g. clapping and stamping)
  • Rhythm and rhyme
  • Voice sounds
  • Oral blending and segmenting (e.g. hearing that d-o-g makes ‘dog’)



We use the systematic synthetic Essential Letters and Sounds programme for our phonics teaching (ELS). Sessions run each day with whole class teaching sessions, alongside interventions and extra activities throughout the day. Children are taught to recognise sounds (phonemes) and letters (graphemes), how to read decodable words, as well as more tricky Hard to Read and Spell Words (HRSW) – also known as Common Exception Words.

Once children have learnt the sound and the letter, they apply their phonics skills and knowledge to read Essential Letters and Sounds reading books covering a wide range of interest levels. These books are used during the sessions and then sent home for reading at home.

To best support us in teaching your child to read, we ask that you read the decodable text provided by the school four times across the week. Spending 10 minutes a day reading with your child will hugely support them on their journey to becoming an independent reader.

For children, re-reading words and sentences that they can decode (sound out) until they are fluent (read with ease and precision) is a key part of learning to read. By reading texts several times, children have the greatest opportunity to achieve this fluency.

Reading and discussing books with your child is a great way to get them hooked on reading. Playing games when you are out and about, such as eye spy or asking your child if they can recognise letters and words on signs, is another easy way for your child to begin to practise their reading.


Reading Scheme

Once the children have acquired a proficiency in phonics, we use the Collins Big Cat Reading scheme, which uses non-decodable words and supports children with their fluency and comprehension in Reading. Children continue to be given reading books according to their ability and age suitability. There are also activities in the back of the reading books to check children’s understanding of their reading.

We encourage parents to listen to their child read 3 times each week and to make a quick note whenever they read at home.


Please note that the reading scheme is not a ‘tick list’: Children could read a few books from one colour band before moving on to another. As the books are banded on both ability and age interest, children may move into different coloured bands because the content is more suitable for that particular age range. It is more important that your child is able to talk about and understand the books that they have read, especially the new vocabulary that they may encounter when reading.


Year 1 – Year 6 

Each class timetables English daily, where children take part in whole-class shared reading and/or writing every day. Comprehension skills are taught throughout the school, so that children learn to read for meaning. Children will also have the opportunity to share a book with members of staff to develop their fluidity of reading.


Supporting Reading at Home

Even when children begin to read independently, it is important to find time to share a book or ask them about the characters and plot of the stories that they are enjoying. One of the best ways to model good reading is to let your child see you reading too or to take a trip to your local library.  Ask your child to look out for any of their weekly spellings in the books that they are reading, so that they are applying their word knowledge.

We only use pure sounds when decoding words (no ‘uh’ after the sound). 

We will send new books home weekly which are fully decodable for your child. Please find below “Guide to Reading at Home with ELS”

ELS Reading Record Information


Documents to Support you at Home

Phase 2 – grapheme sheet
Phase 3 – grapheme sheet
Phase 5 – grapheme sheet