At Southridge we are extremely proud of the very high standards our children reach in Reading!

Our school’s approach to Reading

In reading we aim to enable pupils to:

  •          become independent and enthusiastic readers who can use their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes to decode fluently, accessing texts independently as soon as possible
  •          develop instant recognition of some common exception words
  •          draw on their knowledge of other word and sentence level structures as their decoding becomes automatic so that they can tackle more complex texts
  •          read in meaningful situations and for a range of purposes.
  •          read with enjoyment and perceive reading as an activity which is a source of both pleasure and information.
  •          read critically, evaluating what they find in written texts encouraging them to share their responses with others.
  •          understand the layout and how to use the organisational features of texts and books
  •          understand and respond to literature drawn from the English literary heritage and from other cultures.
  •          have access to a wide range of reading materials and help them to develop the ability to select appropriately according to their purpose.

Reading is a thoughtful process which requires the reader to contribute his or her own experiences and thoughts to the comprehension of the written word. The ability to read is fundamental to all aspects of life, and is central to developing understanding in a wide range of areas of the curriculum. As print occurs all around, it is important to think of reading in a wider context than only books.

We aim to develop, through our teaching of reading, the following attitudes:

  • curiosity and interest
  • pleasure and sensitivity
  • critical appraisal
  • independence
  • confidence
  • perseverance
  • respect for other views and cultures
  • reflection

 The teaching and learning of reading runs across the entire curriculum. We aim to provide a rich reading environment to develop the children’s skills in reading. Teaching strategies aim to enhance children’s motivation and involvement in reading and to develop their skills through the following:

  • reading with other children
  • reading with an adult
  • shared reading
  • guided reading
  • reading aloud
  • independent reading

 Every day, the children take part in shared reading as part of their literacy and each week they take part in Guided Reading/Individual Reading sessions with the teacher and support staff. Staff keep detailed records of reading progress.


The Reading Journey at Southridge First School

 At Southridge First School reading has the highest priority in our curriculum.


The reading journey begins in the Nursery year. 

Our lively and articulate children are encouraged to extend their vocabulary further as they play alongside their new friends in our stimulating indoor and outdoor classroom spaces. Adults narrate their play and ask probing questions to build their knowledge of sentence structures.

They enjoy a rich range of stories and rhymes, deepening their understanding of syntax and narrative styles and devices. They are challenged to respond to stories with tales from their personal experiences.  Adults also encourage them to predict the development of stories using clues in the text. Sometimes children will come across special words and phrases which only occur in story books and adults will take time to explain and reinforce this higher order vocabulary. In addition, there are many opportunities for children to grow their knowledge of story structures and characters as they engage in role play and tell and retell simple narratives with small figures and other props.

Exposure to large copies of books encourages them to locate the text on the page and to notice detail in the illustrations. They become more aware of “reading behaviours” such as reading the text from left to right and top to bottom. As the nursery year progresses, many children begin to recognise and use language patterns and repetition to “read” along with favourite texts.  We encourage children to continue this important work at home with their families using our “Over and Over” collection of familiar and predictable books. Our regular newsletters signpost families to other books which support ongoing teaching in the nursery class. Children will also have ample opportunity to browse through the collections of information books offered across the year.

Many children, although not all, develop an awareness of letters and words in the environment and adults encourage this, discussing the words and letters children notice.  Role play and other areas offer opportunities for children to play with printed materials, such as information leaflets, appointment cards, labels and magazines. Some children may show an interest in copying words around them or writing other familiar words or names.  Adults will model the correct formation as they support children in this activity and encourage children to “read” back what they have written. We encourage this early interest in print as children need to grasp the power and significance of symbols in preparation for the systematic synthetic phonics programme of the Reception year.

A crucial aspect of the Nursery reading programme is a carefully structured adult- led programme of auditory awareness and language play. Children learn to distinguish between different environmental sounds and enjoy playing with instrumental sounds, body percussion and their voices. They develop a repertoire of jingles and rhymes, gradually understanding patterns in spoken language, including rhythms, alliteration and rhyming pairs. Through skilfully crafted language play opportunities, they learn to segment spoken words into constituent sounds and to blend sounds together to make words. There are ample opportunities to challenge able children in these skills towards the end of the Nursery phase. This prepares children for the systematic synthetic phonics programme which begins promptly in the Reception year.


The Reading journey in the Reception year

 As soon as children enter the Reception year technical reading skills are taught rapidly and systematically by using a synthetic phonics approach so that children can tackle new words by blending sounds. Children learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters.

The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’. The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.

All the literary richness of the Nursery year continues in the Reception class. The teachers read to the children daily, so they get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing. Continued opportunities to tell stories through their play make a very important contribution to their engagement as young readers.


We use ReadWriteinc. as our phonics scheme in Early Years and Year 1. Children may also use other decodable books such as Floppy’s Phonics,  and Oxford Songbirds to build fluency. As the children progress , and decoding becomes more automatic, they are offered a wider variety of texts, including a rich range of high quality fiction and non fiction books.

We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We use the information to decide what reading group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at the same reading level as him or her. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. Your child will have one-to-one support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up.


Guided Reading in Key Stage 1
At school your child will enjoy guided reading - reading in a group with their class teacher. They will develop many reading skills by reading aloud and discussing a text - e.g. vocabulary, retrieval and inference skills, sequencing and prediction skills.
Reading Challenges
Our children love to read!
We encourage them by creating different reading challenges in Year 2 - 4. When completed the children receive a certificate to take home.
Here is an example from Year 2 -
How long will it take to learn to read well?

By the end of Y2 your child should be able to read aloud with some fluency books that are the right level for his or her age. At the end of Y1 children take a National Phonics check which is an indicator of how well they are progressing in their phonics acquisition. At the end of Y2 their reading skills - both decoding and comprehension are tested in SATS.

In Y 3 and 4 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading and be critical readers.
Across the school each year group sets 'Reading Challenges' - do ask a teacher to see them as we certainly know how to make them fun!
The children all become 'Reading Detectives' to help them develop those higher order inference skills. and enjoy reading.
Reading Support
Additional group or individual support is provided in all year groups for children who need reinforcement.

Independent and Home Reading - How parents can help
All children are expected to read from books which have been selected with them from school. These books are from our reading schemes and also from our classroom selection of fiction and non-fiction books. In addition children are encouraged to read from books they have chosen at home.

We encourage parents to read with their children every day until they are able to read independently and fluently.

Even when children are fluent readers, parents are asked to hear their child read and discuss the text with them as often as they can but at least weekly.

We ask that parents write a brief comment in their child’s Reading Record Book when they hear their child read, focusing on their child’s progress and give praise at every opportunity.

Children are also encouraged to keep a log of their reading as an aid for discussion with staff. Children in KS1 and 2 enjoy taking part in different Reading Challenges, gaining certificates and trophies for participation.

Parents are also encouraged to use the record book to make comments about their discussions/a note of any word/phrase which children did not understand which they could refer back to at a later stage etc.

We also encourage parents to keep reading to their children even after he or she has learned to read independently. This way they learn from a good role model how to read with fluency and expression. Children also see that reading is valued and pleasurable.
Guided Reading in Key Stage 2

Children continue to develop their reading skills e.g. during guided reading their teacher will ask a range of questions

Why do you think...?

How do you think....?

 What does this word/phrase/sentence tell you about the character/setting/mood?

By writing in this way, what effect has the author created?

What other words/phrases could the author have used here?

Phonic Screening Check
In the summer term children in Year 1 take the national Phonic Screening Check. Please see the presentation information below that has been put together by the Year 1 Team.