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Branston Church of England Infant Academy

'The Best We Can Be'

Phonics and Reading

Phonics and Reading


Reading curriculum at Branston C of E Infant Academy

At Branston C of E Infant Academy, reading is at the very heart of our learning. We strongly believe that children should be encouraged to foster a love for reading for pleasure and we provide children with the skills to be able to do this. Our main aim is to ensure that every child becomes a confident, fluent reader who can apply their reading skills throughout the whole of the curriculum.

All children will be exposed to a variety of literature, genres and authors and develop the self-awareness to understand the kind of reader they are. Story time is a very special time of day in both EYFS and KS1. The children always enjoy being read aloud to and discussing the stories or text with their friends and their class teacher.



At Branston C ofE Infant Academy, reading is at the very heart of our curriculum. We are a school which promotes reading in all areas of the curriculum. In EYFS and Year 1, children follow the Read, Write Inc programme (for both phonics and reading) which gives the children those skills to decode words  and enables them to become fluent readers. We place great emphasis on ensuring daily, high quality, systematic, discrete phonics teaching is delivered consistently across our school with fidelity to the Read, Write, Inc programme. By the end of Year 2, we strive to ensure that all children are fluent, confident readers as this not only helps them to read their chosen book but opens the door to a whole world of reading and learning opportunities.



At Branston CofE infant Adacemy, we follow the Read, Write, Inc phonics programme. The teaching of phonics begins as soon as they start school.

How is Read, Write, Inc. phonics taught?


The children:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts
  • learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending
  • read from a range of storybooks and non-fictions books matched to their phonic knowledge
  • work well with partners
  • develop comprehension skills in stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It' discussion questions



The children:

  • learn to write and form the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds with the help of fun phrases
  • learn to write words by using Fred Talk
  • learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write 



The children work in pairs so that they:

  • answer every question
  • practise every activity with their partner
  • take turns in talking and reading to each other
  • develop ambitious vocabulary


In phonics lessons, children are taught to use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.). This is so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.

To help the children blend these sounds into words, we use Fred (a frog cuddly toy) who is an expert on sounding out words! This is called ‘Fred Talk’. For example, m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p.


The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets throughout their time in EYS and KS1.


Within the phonics lesson, children practice reading words which include the sounds that they have been taught. There are red words and green words. Red words are words that are not easily decodable and challenge words to extend children’s vocabulary. Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable.


As well as learning to read and blend real words children will have plenty of opportunities to apply their sound recognition skills on reading ‘Nonsense words’. These words will also feature heavily in the Year One Phonics Screening check which takes place in the summer term.


After the daily phonics lesson, the children also have a daily reading lesson which follows the Read, Write, Inc reading programme. Within this lesson, the children are taught and have opportunity to practice reading words and stories. The emphasis is placed on fluent, efficient and 'speedy' reading (reading on sight) of both common words and those 'trickier' words (words which have uncommon vowel sounds such as said or they). The children will focus on 1 text for either 1 or 3 days depending on their group. They will read the story several times in order to read in fluently and gain good comprehension of the text. As the children move up the colour banded books, there is a great emphasis placed on their ability to read with a 'story teller's voice' in order to add expression and emphasis to their reading.



Reading in Year 2

When children have confidently learnt all the sounds and are able to blend them successfully, children will move on to whole class reading. This involves ‘Echo reading’ for fluency. Echo reading is when the teacher reads a short passage and the children read it back to the teacher using the same intonation and expression. Class teachers will discuss new and unknown vocabulary. They will also discuss why the author has made vocabulary choices and employed certain sentence structures. This is done by using VIPERS questions. Children will then answer questions in their books.

VIPERS focus on the following skills:

  • Vocabulary
  • Inference
  •  Prediction
  • Explanation
  • Retrieval
  • Sequencing


Reading at home

All children, in all year groups, will be sent home with a reading book that is appropriate for their reading ability. The level of book that your child receives will be reviewed regularly by the class teacher and Reading Leader (Miss Sneyd). Whilst the children are taking part in the Read, Write, Inc programme for phonics and reading, they will be sent home with a copy of the book that they have been reading in class (for that little bit extra practice!), a book that is new and unfamiliar and a story book for you to share with your child at home.   We ask that you read at least 3 times a week with your child to support them in their reading journey. This is to be recorded in their Reading Record.


Once your child has successfully completed the Read, Write, Inc programme, they will be able to choose their own books to take home to read (they will become a 'Free Reader'). Your child's class teacher will guide them towards which books will be most suitable for them and which books they might enjoy.


What is the impact of learning these skills?

The impact on our children is that they become fluent, confident readers who have a genuine enthusiasm and enjoyment for reading. The children will have the skills to decode unfamiliar words and well as the etymological skills to relate meaning of unknown words to those that they already know. Children will have a good level of comprehension and make inferences based on what they have read. They are able to use this skill across the curriculum and use it to aid their learning in other subjects. In 2022, 77.8% of children met the expected standard in Reading at the end of Key Stage 1 and in 2023, 71.1% met expected standard. In 2023, 86.7% of Year 1 children and 98% of Year 2 children were working at the expected standard of phonics decoding.


At Branston CofE Infant Academy, we give the children the opportunities and experiences to gain a love of reading that will last a lifetime.

Read, Write, Inc booklet - Supporting Your Child to Read