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Early Reading - Infant Class

At Earl Sterndale we believe that reading is crucial to our children accessing the curriculum and that it is a vital life skill. Through our whole school approaches to reading we aim to make our children competent in the skill of reading and understanding what they have read and empower our children to love and appreciate reading for life. We know that confident readers can access a wide range of life experiences and enjoy a breadth of genres. Reading allows individuals to acquire knowledge, find out what’s going on, achieve and enjoy themselves!

Throughout our school, we enable children to explore books positively right from the beginning of their educational journey. We encourage children to explore, understand and enjoy the features of a book from the beginning of EYFS and maximise this through the use of daily story time. We provide children opportunities to engage in a variety of environments where high quality, age appropriate examples of literature are present and allow children to make personal selections and develop a passion and interest in reading and text choices. Across our curriculum, we support children to develop their appreciation of text types and reading for pleasure and knowledge, highlighting how reading is essential for everyday life.

We incorporate a variety of approaches which support children in spotting clues and applying strategies to understand texts at a deeper level. Reading is taught and supported in a number of ways; developing successful reading skills is achieved through daily phonics sessions, small group intervention where necessary, guided reading sessions and English lessons. We also encourage reading opportunities throughout the curriculum to highlight its importance. 

Our love of reading is reflected in the World Book Day celebrations we have every year in which children are encouraged to dress as their favourite fictional characters and share their favourite books, ending in a book swap. We also encourage friendships to flourish between the older and younger children throughout the school with ‘Buddy Reading’. Each infant child is paired with a junior child once a week, where they read to each other and share books.  

In the Foundation Stage

In the Foundation Stage early reading and phonic knowledge is developed (more information about our phonics programme in the 'Phonics' link). The school uses a systematic phonics scheme called Monster Phonics as a basis for phonics teaching. In September most children are ready to begin working at Phonic Phase 2, they will have experienced a wealth of listening activities, they will be able to distinguish between speech sounds and many will be able to blend and segment sounds orally. 

By the end of the first few weeks all children will have a matching game, some keywords and a reading book to take home with their reading record. It is our aim to hear children read at least three times a week or more. We encourage children to read with their grown up each evening, and parents/carers are asked to fill in their child's reading record to show this has happened and make a relevant comment.

The reading schemes in place are Monster Phonics, as well as Oxford Reading Tree, Jelly and Bean, Rapid Readers and Bug Club. As they are ready, in preparation for Key Stage 1, and to develop a wider range of reading skills, children move onto reading books that provide additional challenge.

During the spring term children in the Foundation Stage are usually ready to access weekly Guided Reading sessions too, using our Rigby Star books. These sessions are led by a Teacher or Teaching Assistant and give opportunities for groups of children of a similar reading ability to read the same book individually but as part of a group.

In Key Stage 1

In Year 1 and 2 the predominant reading schemes are Monster Phonics, Jelly and Bean and Oxford Reading Tree. These are supplemented with Oxford Fireflies, Rapid Readers and Project X books to provide a breadth of reading experience and challenge. There is a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, and whilst children are encouraged to read Stages in order of sections it is important that they read books that they are interested in.

Children are heard read by a Teacher or Teaching Assistant at least twice a week, with identified children being heard read on a more frequent or even on a daily basis. Children continue to be encouraged to read every evening and parents are asked to record this in their reading record, this dialogue is really important to us. Each week children will bring home new books to read with parents and carers as they progress to becoming a fluent reader. All children in Key Stage 1 take part in regular Guided Reading sessions which form part of our literacy morning.

Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ or 'common exception words', which are words with spellings that are unusual or that children have not yet been taught. 


Information about Phonics teaching and our use of Monster Phonics can be found on our Phonics page. 

Supporting Reading at Home

To ensure all our children become successful readers we work collaboratively with our parents and the wider community and recognise that it is a team effort in engaging children with reading.  Parents and carers are invited to come in, we also have a range of volunteers from the local community who come in and read with the children on a regular basis. We work in partnership with our parents to acknowledge that a child’s reading experience is much more than the reading book which comes home from school. It is reading, sharing and listening to a wide and varied range of genres for real enjoyment.

  • Read regularly- It only has to be a short period of time and sometimes it could be you reading to your child or them reading to a teddy. During these times ensure to discuss the text and ask a few questions about what they have read. We encourage children to re-read their books several times to build their decoding skills, fluency, comprehension and ability to read with expression.

  • Update Reading Records- After reading, update the yellow reading record with what you have read and how they did. Was there a specific sound that was tricky or a word they did not know? Your comments are really important as these are used as part of our evidence for when we level children’s reading ability.

  • Have a book bag- Ensure that your child has their named book bag in school every day. Due to timetable constraints your child may not complete their individual reading on the same day each week so we ask that book bags are always available to support us to read with children as and when we can. It also enables us to provide additional reading opportunities should time allow it.

  • Wider Reading- Please encourage children to read their own books alongside their school books as well as encourage reading whenever it is happening- even if it is looking at a menu when you are having a meal at a restaurant. A wide variety of text types is essential to supporting children in becoming successful readers with a life-long love of reading.

  • Keep reading fun- We want our children to develop a love of reading and engage with the opportunities provided of them. If this means you share the load and read a page each or sometimes you read to them then this is absolutely fine. Remember to speak to your child’s class teacher if you need any support with engaging your child with reading.

Did you know?  If you read just one book a day to your child, they will have read 1825 books by their 5th birthday; every day counts - every book counts!


Please explore the documents below and links to the left on more information about how you can support your child's reading development.