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Reading and Phonics Curriculum Statement


At Silvertrees, it is our vision that our children leave school fully equipped with the reading skills they need to continue their learning journey in Key Stage Two and beyond, in order to achieve their future ambitions. The development of English skills is at the heart of our whole curriculum and we strive to meet all children's individual needs through engaging lessons delivered by enthusiastic and knowledgeable teachers.



Our intent, at Silvertrees, is to inspire children to have a love of reading that we hope will last a lifetime. By giving children the ability to decode words, they will have the skills required to read a range of high-quality texts and different genres with developing fluency, understanding, and above all, enjoyment. Reading enables children to acquire knowledge, develop a wide vocabulary and stimulate their imagination. It helps them to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually and socially. Through listening to and reading carefully chosen high quality texts, our children will develop their understanding of the world around them and a desire to read in order to find out more.



Learning to read comprises of word reading and comprehension.  As children begin to read, we develop their knowledge of the alphabetic principle- the idea that words are composed of sequences of sounds which are represented in written words by a sequence of letters. We do this through the systematic phonics through our own programme based on Letters and sounds. There are also a few ‘tricky words’ introduced at each phase. These words are common and useful for early reading and writing, but children won’t be able to decode them following the phonic rules. This begins in Nursery, with activities based on phonological awareness:

  • Distinguishing between different sounds in the environment
  • Showing awareness of rhythm, rhyme and alliteration
  • Exploring and experimenting with sounds and words
  • Discriminating speech sounds in words
  • Beginning to orally blend and segment words


At Silvertrees, high quality texts support our learning journey work and are the basis for our teaching of English. Reading Spines have been developed and are regularly reviewed to ensure children have access to high quality texts, opportunities to enjoy fiction, non-fiction and poetry, texts to learn by heart, nursery rhymes; developing language and vocabulary. Reading spine books have been carefully selected to include texts that engage children, promote diversity, reflect children’s own experiences, develop social and emotional awareness and reflect a wide range of backgrounds and contexts. All children hear adults in school read during dedicated daily story times in their classes.


Every child from Reception to Year 2 has a daily phonics or spelling lesson grouped in their year group by attainment.  When graphemes are introduced, children are taught the mnemonic from the Read, Write Inc. programme to support their retention of graphemes for reading and spelling. Children are taught to read Letters and Sounds ‘tricky words’ and common exception words. The Rising Stars spelling programme is used in Year 2 to teach spelling patterns and common exception words.


At Silvertrees, we have fully decodable books sorted into phase and colour book band. These match the phases taught in phonics and are available to all children. Each classroom has a book corner where they can browse a selection of books, fiction and non-fiction. Book corners are used to promote reading and encourage children to choose books that interest them. Book corners contain decodable books as well as other, good quality books. Children can choose the books they read in the book corner and revisit books they have read before. Over the week, children will be able to spend time in the book corner.


Children in KS1 have daily group guided reading (GR). They colour banded books in small groups. These books match their attainment and give opportunities to apply what has been taught in phonics. During these sessions, children are engaged in “book talk”: discussing the features of text types, making predictions, answering questions, developing inference, discussing author choices with teachers and peers. Once the book has been read in school, children take their GR home to share with adults there. This develops fluency by giving children opportunities to share and discuss books they are familiar with and boost their reading confidence. 


Children also take individual reading books based on their colour banded books home. These books enable them to practise and apply their phonics knowledge and skills at home. Adults at home are encouraged to record notes in reading records when they read with their children. These books are changed regularly by the class teacher.


Children receive rewards for reading regularly at home:

  • 25 reads at home: bronze award and bookmark
  • 50 reads at home: a silver award and reading gift
  • 100 reads at home: a gold award and medal/reading pin
  • 150 reads at home: a platinum award and a Mad Hatters Tea Party is arranged termly. Children are able to invite a chosen adult to the tea party.
  • star reader award during class award assemblies – chosen by the class teacher for progress, attainment and/or a love of reading


To promote a love of reading and allow children to experience different text types, children in KS1 take home a book of their choice from the school library. They can change this book once every 2 weeks to give them time to share and explore the book at home thoroughly. We promote reading for pleasure and a love of books by reading to the children daily so that they get to know a range of stories, poems and information texts, which also supports their knowledge and language development. We celebrate World Book Day annually and encourage our children to share their favourite authors or texts with their class and in a special assembly.


Constant assessment of reading allows teachers to match books to children’s attainment accurately. It allow allows for identifying children who are working below age typical standards. These children read with an adult in school at least 3 times per week and are targeted for phonics and reading interventions are appropriate. Parent workshops are used to increase parental engagement in reading across the school.





  • Using Assessment for Learning to regularly assess children’s understanding and knowledge as well as to identify next steps in reading, including interventions needed
  • Running reading records when a child is ready for the next book band
  • In year phonics and tricky word assessment sheets to inform groupings and assess attainment
  • In Key Stage 1, Salford Reading Assessment – at the beginning of the year and at the end of each term.
  • Interviewing the pupils about their learning in English (pupil voice)
  • Assessing the progress made termly by our children using our school’s assessment/progression grids in reading
  • Moderation through staff meetings, by the Senior Leadership Team, across the Tipton Learning Community and by the Local Authority where children’s books and assessments are scrutinised and opportunities for professional dialogues between practitioners to recognise children’s achievements and attainment in relation to age related expectations
  • Pupil Progress meetings with year group colleagues and the Senior Leadership Team to identify children whose progress may have stalled and regular appropriate interventions that need to be put in place
  • Close monitoring of different groups of children e.g. gender, EAL, pupil premium, SEND
  • Year 1 phonics screening test
  • EYFS professional discussions - internal and external
  • End of Key Stage assessments