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Phonics & Reading

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”

At Leighton our aim is for every child, regardless of their background, to leave Primary school with the ‘gift of reading’ for pleasure and purpose with the essential reading ‘tools’ they need to succeed in their everyday lives! 

It is vital therefore that our approach to the teaching of Phonics and Early Reading is accessible to all learners. Our objective is to provide an integrated curriculum which values the teaching of speaking, listening, understanding, spelling and vocabulary learning alongside written Literacy skills.   


At Leighton, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. We also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside the phonics lesson and across the wider curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

Reading / Comprehension

By the time our children leave us, Leighton’s readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary using their knowledge of decoding, retrieval, inference and background knowledge. Our children learn to read with accuracy, confidently gaining meaning and pace on their journey towards automaticity in reading. 


Shared, Guided and Echo reading sessions

These approaches provide a model of prosody, expression and punctuation to our learners. Staff and volunteer reading buddies are also trained to deliver 1:1 reading experiences that focus on shared enjoyment, the child as a partner in reading alongside the gaining of reading skills and developing reading confidence. 

Assessment is used to monitor progress and identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.


‘Everyday readers’

This intervention focuses on our vulnerable pupils who need additional daily practice to support them in securing learning and to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen.  

Children are exposed to both Fiction and Non-fiction and cross curricular learning provides our children with the opportunity to tell and retell stories, hear and rehearse poetry, nursery and Action Rhymes. 

Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have Phonics and Reading Leaders who both drive the early reading programme in our school. These leaders are highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our team, so everyone teaches the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised programme with fidelity and implements our School’s Reading Policy.

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 02) ‘The will influences the skill & vice versa.’ (OECD 10)

We value reading and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy through our ‘Reading Pledge’. We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Leighton and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures. Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a plethora of genres. As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own reviews of the books/authors that they have read.

Home Reading

From the start, our children take home decodable practice books to celebrate their success with their family. Alongside these they also choose books from our class library to share and read together. These help to engage our pupils, build confidence in seeing themselves as a reader.