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English - Phonics and Reading

Our school British Values Statement can be found in our Key Policies section of the website.


Through the study of reading at Bridgewater, pupils become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as non-fiction and media texts. Our reading curriculum ensures that pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. It is also adaptable, flexible and meets the needs of all our learners. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. 

Our vision is that the children of Bridgewater Primary School leave us as well-rounded, competent readers where they are able to effectively use the English language to facilitate their future learning and communication. 

Through our reading curriculum we aim for our learners to:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding;
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information;
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language;
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.

Phonics, Word Recognition and Early Reading

In the Early Years phonics is introduced to the children from the outset of their time in Reception. Phonics is delivered through whole class sessions, enabling all children to have exposure to the sounds. Any children who need additional phonics have this through additional intervention.

The ‘Sounds-Write’ programme of study is used to teach daily phonics in both Reception and KS1. Sounds-Write is validated by the Department for Education (DfE) in England as an effective systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP). The Sounds-Write approach is based on the sounds in speech and moves to the written word. It focusses on what the learner needs to understand about the English alphabet code in order to become a fluent reader and speller of English:

  • conceptual knowledge
  • alphabet code knowledge
  • skills they need to employ the conceptual and alphabet code

Sessions are interactive and use a multisensory, code-oriented, comprehensive approach to reading and writing. This approach also marries with our writing strategy by promoting encoding at the same time as decoding.

Children in EYFS and KS1 receive a daily phonics session. The lowest 20% are monitored and carefully assessed with timely and appropriate interventions being put in place such as pre-teaching. They are also heard read more frequently. The programme is continued as an intervention within KS2 for pupils who need to secure their phonetical knowledge and understanding.

Independent reading stage books are from the Sounds-Write scheme and are carefully chosen by teachers to aid and challenge our pupils.  Every child has access to a phonetically decodable book which is suitable for their reading attainment as well as a library book to develop reading for pleasure.

Language Comprehension

Bridgewater Primary School, we place reading at the heart of our curriculum. All teaching staff are highly trained in the approaches and practices of Bridgewater Primary School and their teaching enables all learners to make good or better progress. We provide a rich and varied curriculum that will stimulate and interest all pupils and enable them to apply their reading skills in a wide variety of contexts.

Dedicated whole-class reading comprehension lessons are taught from Reception to Year 6 with a focus on skills drawn from the National Curriculum. These skills are developed and supported through the Bridgewater Reading Strategies:

           Introduced in Key Stage 1:


           Built Upon in Key Stage 2:


Pupils develop their reading skills through whole class and small group book talk lessons, 1:1 reading opportunities, library sessions, independent reading and daily sharing of a class story. This provides pupils with further opportunities to explore challenging texts, discussing their themes to deepen their understanding. Children also encounter reading opportunities across the wider curriculum. During shared and independent reading, children are gradually empowered to take responsibility to self-assess, monitor their own reading and extend independent comprehension skills.

Parental Involvement

Parents are key to supporting children’s reading development, especially reading for pleasure. Parents are asked to record any reading done at home using the BoomReader online reading record which is monitored by teachers. They are provided with question prompts and examples of praise to use when reading with their children. As children progress through school, we acknowledge that many children will be reading with greater independence and taking more responsibility for their learning. There are regular opportunities throughout the year for parents to purchase books including book fairs and book sales.

Literature Spine

The Literature spine ensures that all pupils read widely and deeply across a range of genres and have a suitable age-related technical vocabulary through which to understand and discuss their reading.  As a school we recognise that reading is fundamental to the writing process, as children can only write successfully if they have a full understanding of the features of specific genres and therefore reading and exploring texts from a variety of genres is closely linked to writing opportunities within English lessons.

Threshold Concepts:

Word Reading – To Read Words Accurately

This concept involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words.

Comprehension – To Understand Texts

This concept involves drawing linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. Reading widely often increases pupils’ vocabulary as they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech.

Establishing a good reading habit

This concept involves pupils to be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.

If successful, the impact for the learners in reading will be to read age-related texts with ease and fluency demonstrating a good understanding and comprehension. They will develop a good reading habit and have an interest in words and their meanings building upon an extensive personal vocabulary. Pupil voice will show evidence of confident readers who are able to talk about what they have read using subject specific vocabulary. They will be able to comment on their own preferences for authors and/ or genres giving reasons why. Bridgewater pupils are enthusiastic about reading and understand how it helps them to develop their own powers of imagination, critical awareness and personal responses to a range of high-quality texts.

Assessment methods to reach summative end-of-year judgement

To assess phonics & reading we:

·        Use FFT Reading Assessment Programme to identify gaps and monitor progress of Initial Code & Extended Code.

·        Assess against teacher assessment grids to monitor pupils’ individual progress.

·        Complete the phonics screening at the end of Year 1 and (for some pupils) at the end of Year 2.

·        Use termly NFER assessments in reading to inform our teacher assessments (Year 1 to Year 5)

·        Use the national SATs reading test papers in Years 2 & 6.

·        Record regular 1:1 reading using Boom Reader.

·        Deliver small, focused group reading.

·        Use Book Talk lessons with a focus on identified reading skills.

·        Use fluency starters and techniques.

·        Build in opportunities for retrieval practice to revisit, revise and secure.

·        Collect pupil voice.

·        Track outcomes and monitor termly using Insight.


Equal Opportunities 

As an inclusive school, we believe that diversity needs to be embraced, celebrated and highlighted, both within the curriculum and through the culture of the school. As a result, children and stakeholders are represented fairly and accurately, with a focus on equity. Learners will have the opportunity to have access to a deep, enriching curriculum, which supports community cohesion and enables all pupils to develop and understand themselves as interconnected, global citizens. All children, regardless of gender, culture or disability are given the opportunity to study the curriculum. We acknowledge and plan for the specific needs of all learners.  

All children are provided with equal access to the English curriculum. We aim to provide suitable learning opportunities regardless of gender, ethnicity or home background.  This is achieved by ensuring our literature spine provides a broad and diverse range of authors, characters, settings and topics.  Pupils have access to high-quality texts with diverse and positive role models across the curriculum.  Within writing lessons, teachers use a variety of characters and settings from diverse areas and backgrounds that the children use as models within their own writing.  Pupils actively take part in English lessons and everyone’s contributions are valued.