Bures Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School

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Early Reading

We believe that reading is the key to unlocking learning across all other areas of the curriculum. It is for this reason that we have adopted a rich, book-based curriculum which encourages reading of books and other kinds of texts. We have selected a range of high quality texts that we use as a starting point for each topic. 

Alongside our key text, we teach a discrete phonics lesson every day using the Read Write Inc phonics programme (RWI) to Reception Year 1 and Year 2. It is a systematic approach to learning letters and sounds that enables children to read and write successfully.

Pupils are assessed in their phonics regularly in school, with a national Phonics Screening Check at the end of Y1.

How will Read, Write, Inc teach my child to read? 

Children will:

  • Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter(s)
  • Use pictures as a prompt for recognising sounds
  • Use Fred talk to encourage blending of sounds to read words. Fred can only read pure sounds, so the children help Fred by blending the sounds so that they can help him to read a whole word!
  • Read books suited to their reading ability with confidence and fluency, using a storyteller's voice
  • Answer questions about stories showing good comprehension
  • Have daily story time


What is fluency? 

"Fluency is defined as the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. In order to understand what they read, children must be able to read fluently whether they are reading aloud or silently. When reading aloud, fluent readers read in phrases and add intonation appropriately. Their reading is smooth and has expression." Reading Rockets



Each class has a discrete reading lesson each day, using a high quality text to underpin the development of all skills. Individual reading practice sessions also occur across the whole school where books are discussed individually in depth.  

We also use VIPERS to practice our reading skills:







We value the skill of reading out loud and children in all year groups across the school are heard read regularly. Our library have been audited in both schools and we have lots of wonderful, brand new books for the children to enjoy and be challenged by. The books have colour coded stickers which relate to the book band progession document below. 

We strongly urge parents to hear their children read at home regularly in all age groups. It is vital to support their reading by asking them questions about the texts, to ensure their understanding. We believe children need to be taught to read and recognise print in a range of books and other sources such as magazines, menus, comics, signs, food labels, etc. The wider experiences the better!


Writing involves many elements such as forming ideas into sentences, spelling, handwriting and understanding grammar and punctuation.

It begins with a strong focus on talk and a strong focus on phonics. Children are given opportunities to work on speaking in sentences, telling stories, explaining and justifying their ideas and building their vocabulary. We encourage children to have confidence to make independent choices and believe they are writers and value their first attempts. Children are also taught to spell irregular common words known as high frequency words. The current English National Curriculum includes a focus on grammar, and children are taught grammar from the very beginning of school.  We teach this through games and then apply it within our writing lessons. Children need to have correct language modelled to them. Correct letter formation pencil grip and handwriting are also modelled. 

Across the year, children in each class work on writing different genres such as instructions, simple poems, narrative and non-fiction reports. They learn to use punctuation, add detail and extend their sentences. We choose engaging topics to write about such as how to make a potion, postcards from the seaside, leaflets to persuade children to visit a new town, letters to visiting aliens, descriptions of dragons and more!

In Key Stage two, children learn even more genres such as mystery stories, plays, myths, shape poems and biographies. Children learn to improve the quality of their sentences by playing with clauses, an increased range of conjunctions, adverbial phrases, more complex sentence structures and experimenting with more complex punctuation. Phonics teaching migrates to teaching more combinations of letter patterns, along with spelling rules for which words use which, and increased rules for adding prefixes and suffixes.