Learning to Read at Woodwater Academy

We believe that learning to read is the key to unlocking knowledge for children, and because of this we have been working hard to ensure children have a range of opportunities for reading.  Learning to read is a journey and many skills need to be developed along the way.  We start this journey as soon as the children start in our nursery.


From nursery to Y6 our children have a daily phonics session, following the Letters and Sounds programme. Our phonics sessions are taught by teachers and all children are taught at the expected level for their age.  In addition, some children receive extension sessions because they are working beyond the expected level, or intervention sessions, because they are working below the expected level.  Handwriting is taught alongside phonics, to ensure children are taught to write the letters that create the sounds they are learning.

If you are not sure how we teach the children to sound out the letters you could click on either or the links below:

Sound of the English Phonic Code – Synthetic Phonics

Alphablock A-Z of Letter Sounds


We also start teaching our children to read “tricky” words, which cannot be sounded out, and “high frequency words” which are identified as the words most commonly used in the English language.  Different sets of these keywords are sent home each year, to help parents to support their children at home.


All children receive a guided reading session each week.  During this session their teacher will set focus tasks, ask key questions and prompt the children to use a range of reading skills, for example: skimming, scanning, sounding out, using picture cues, breaking words into familiar chunks, inferring meaning, offering opinions about texts, etc.


All children from Reception to Y6 will bring home an independent reading book, from the reading schemes.  We have 2 reading schemes in school:

EYFS/KS1 Oxford Reading Tree

KS2 Bug Club

We encourage parents to read and discuss their children’s books, every day.  Ideally this should be done in a quiet space, without the interruption of TV, radio and other distractions.  For children in Y2 or below, this should be a period of approximately 10 minutes, for children in Y3 and above, we would recommend up to 20 minutes.


We have a well-stocked library with an electronic booking system that the children are free to access during breaks.  Every class has a library slot each week and during this time they can explore books of their choice, read for pleasure, and choose other books to take home.  They are encouraged to choose books that interest them and therefore they may not always match their reading level.


Throughout EYFS and KS1 children will also read 1:1 with their teacher once per week, and in addition to this may also read 1:1 with other school staff.  In KS2, children will be targeted to read 1:1 with their teacher, but this will be less frequent, as most reading work will be carried out in groups.  Some children receive daily 1:1 reading to improve their skills and comprehension.


Where children are identified as making slow progress, or struggling to make progress in reading, they will receive small group interventions, or 1:1 reading intervention sessions.  The aim of these interventions is to provide a short spell of very targeted intervention, that re-tracks them.  For some children, who may be on the Special Educational Needs Register, these interventions may be provided over a longer period of time, or throughout their time with us.

Toe-By-Toe, Wave 3 Reading and Trugs are some of the reading interventions we use regularly.