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Gifford Primary School

Be Strong, Be Kind, Be Proud

Reading & Phonics


At Gifford we aim for all our pupils to become confident, fluent readers who are passionate about reading.


Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. We want your child to love reading and books, and develop an authentic love of reading for pleasure. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love and curiosity about books as well as simply learning to read.


Pupils are given the opportunity to undertake guided, shared and independent reading throughout the school curriculum. A diverse range of group reading books and a staged reading scheme are available. We do not use any one published scheme to teach reading, instead we believe that it is important to provide pupils with a selection of reading books and experiences from different genres and subject matter, therefore we operate using ‘book bands’ in line with Oxford reading tree complemented by thematic books.


We work with our pupils in order to improve their fluency, intonation, decoding skills and comprehension. To develop our readers we:

  • Teach them to read accurately and fluently using a range of strategies
  • Give individual reading targets to pupils
  • Help them to understand and respond to what they read using inference and deduction where appropriate
  • Allow the opportunity for pupils to reflect on and discuss what they have read, including the language and punctuation choices made by the author
  • Enhance their understanding of a variety of text types including non-fiction, fiction and poetry
  • Encourage them to develop a love of reading and become confident, fluent and independent
  • Teach them how to seek information and learn from the written word
  • Use drama and role-play, where appropriate, to engage pupils in the text


Our pupils are taught how to decode using phonics activities from Foundation stage. In Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils use the Read, Write, Inc reading programme to develop fluency and accuracy in word and sentence reading (more details below). Phonics is taught daily and guided reading groups are taught at least three times a week.


In Key Stage 1 and 2 whole class guided reading lessons are taught focusing on teaching the reading domains:


KS1 Reading Domains


Draw on knowledge of vocabulary to understand texts


Identify / explain key aspects of fiction and non-fiction texts, such as characters, events, titles and information


Identify and explain the sequence of events in texts


Make inferences from the text


Predict what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far


KS2 Reading Domains


Give / explain the meaning of words in context


Retrieve and record information/identify key details from fiction and non-fiction


Summarise main ideas from more than one paragraph


Make inferences from the text/explain and justify inferences with evidence from the text


Predict what might happen from details stated and implied


Identify/explain how information/narrative content is related and contributes to meaning as a whole


Identify/explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrases


Make comparisons within the text


The content domains are taught through the Reading VIPERS scheme.


V- Vocabulary

I- Inference

P- Prediction

E- Explanation

R- Retrieval

S- Summarize


Each skill is visited at least once during a reading cycle, and they are revisited based on the year group’s needs.


Children are exposed to fiction, non-fiction, and poetry during each term and they are provided with a range of high quality texts.


Home reading books

Pupils at Gifford bring home levelled books each week and the reading of these is recorded daily in their Reading Record. In addition to this, Year 1 through to Year 6 visit the school library fortnightly and can choose books of any level to borrow from here.


Developing a love of reading

At Gifford we have lots of exciting initiatives to ensure our pupils develop and maintain their love of reading. Some of these include:

  • Opportunities for reading are provided across the curriculum: topic books, news articles, blogs, class magazines etc.
  • Storytelling forms a key part of our teaching and in the Foundation Stage we have a storyteller who visits the school fortnightly
  • We have newly revamped book corner areas in each classroom including audio books
  • Talk and discussion about reading in a variety of contexts, both formal and informal
  • We have a bi-annual school Book Fair
  • Weekly book recommendations by teachers 
  • All classes have a class reader which is read to class at some point each day
  • Book recommendations per year groups 
  • Parent workshops to support reading at home
  • World Book Day celebrations – a new theme every year and school-wide activities and events.

Our recommended reading list for all year groups can be found in the year group pages.



At Gifford we use the Read Write Inc programme to teach early reading and phonics across the school.


What is Read, Write, Inc?

Read Write Inc (RWI) Phonics is a highly successful phonics programme created by Ruth Miskin, used by more than a quarter of the UK’s primary schools - used to create confident and fluent readers.


The training and support from Ruth Miskin Training, rated Outstanding by the Department for Education, ensures the programme provides the best chance of success in schools. The programme is carefully matched to the new curriculum, giving pupils the best chance of success in national tests.


At Gifford we have implemented the highly successful Read Write Inc. phonics programme. Click here for more information.


How will RWI be taught? 

All pupils are assessed regularly by our RWI leader so they work with pupils at the same level. This allows complete participation in lessons.


Phonics lessons are taught from reception. This means that pupils 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 pupils learn to spell well. We teach pupils simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. 


The pupils 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.


The teachers read with pupils on a regular basis, pupils get to know a variety of stories, poetry and information texts. This builds on their vocabulary and in turn helps with their writing skills.



When using RWI to read pupils will:

  • Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple prompts
  • Learn to read words using sound blending (Fred talk)
  • Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out
  • Show that they comprehend the stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It'



When using RWI to write pupils will:

  • Learn to write the letter/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
  • Learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (Fred fingers)



  • Support your child to learn words by sounding-blending (Fred talk) e.g c-a-t = cat , sh-o-p = shop. Pupils learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds thay are taught
  • Support your child to say pure sounds (m not ‘muh’, s not ‘suh’etc) as quickly as they can and then blend the sounds together to say the whole word


Reading books and book bag books
  • Pupils in reception who are learning the initial 44 sounds and are not blending fluently will bring home sound sheets, picture books and a library book for to you read with them
  • Once pupils can blend fluently and know all the initial 44 sounds they will bring home either a Ditty sheet or matched story book to the sounds they have learnt
  • Pupils will bring home a fiction book, non-fiction and a book of their choice. Please ensure you make the time to read with your child.


Below is a useful YouTube video for parents:

Parent video: What is Read Write Inc Phonics


For more information on books and reading, please use the following links:


Reading resources and homework website


Monthly book recommendations


Books Trust great book guide