“Literacy is the single most significant skill needed to function effectively in school, in the workplace, and in society…it is vital to a successful education, career and quality of life”


Reading Lead in school – Miss S Cox

At Toner Avenue, we believe that reading is a vital skill that opens doors to a successful school career and future. As a school, we aim to share our love of reading and inspire children to become passionate, lifelong readers. We aim for our children to become confident readers, who can decode fluently and develop excellent comprehension skills.


We are developing a reading strategy within school, beginning with phonics and early language, to guided reading sessions, whole class reading sessions and one to one reading to inspire children to become competent, passionate readers. The curriculum is designed to develop both substantive knowledge (decoding words) and disciplinary knowledge (interpreting and understanding texts including the use of evidence).


Phonics is a way of teaching children to read and write. It is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate sounds and to understand that a sound is represented in different ways.

At Toner Avenue, we use the ‘Sounds Write’ scheme. It is based on extensive research on the cognitive load theory and we feel that it will work effectively for the children in our school. 

The Sounds Write programme begins with the sounds in the language and moves from the sounds to the written word. 

In nursery the children cover phase 1 phonics. We also utilise Launchpad to Literacy which closes pre-literacy skills gaps, ensuring staff have a greater level of diagnostic capability and can establish reasons and solutions to underpin informed interventions.

Training requirements 

All teachers and support staff attend a four-day course (or online equivalent) based on the method on a rolling basis. The course informs staff about aspects of delivering the programme. It also allows teachers the opportunity to practise the lessons under the guidance of well-qualified trainers and return to the classrooms ready to begin teaching the method with little further preparation. Each teacher that has completed the training is given a Sounds~Write manual to use when planning. 

Teaching and learning 

As a whole school, we are committed to using the Sounds-Write (linguistic phonics) approach to assist the children from reception to year 3 to learn to read, write and spell independently with accuracy, understanding and confidence. 

The Sounds-Write approach ensures that: 

  1. A) Children develop key concepts about the way English is written. 
  2. B) Children practise the skills essential for reading and spelling accurately. 
  3. C) Children learn the sounds and the spellings of English. 

Key Concepts 

Through the sounds-Write programme children will understand that; 

Concept 1 

Letters represent sounds 

NB: Letters do not ‘make’ sounds they represent them and, as teachers and learning support assistants, we should be careful that, when we are teaching children to read, we use appropriate phrases to reinforce this e.g. ‘what sound do you say for this?’ (Pointing to letter or letters) not ‘what sound does this letter make?’ 

Concept 2 

A sound can be spelled with 1,2,3 or 4 letters. 

The English language contains single letter spellings. For example, in the word ‘cat’ c-a-t. These are relatively simple to read and spell. However, many sounds are spelled with two or more letters e.g. oa in boat, ou in out and igh in high. These present more of a problem for a non-skilled reader and will need to be pointed out by the teacher and practised by the child. 

It is important to understand that letters don’t make sounds, they represent or spell them. 

Concept 3 

In English the same sound is often written with different spellings (same sound, different spellings). 

In English every sound that we say can be represented by at least 2 different spellings. In many cases the number of different spellings of the same sound is much larger; maybe 8 or 9! The sound ‘s’ for example is written in different ways in these words: 

Sat, city, voice, mess, house, listen, scent. 

There are 44 speech sounds and around 175 different ways to spell those sounds, using a combination of the 26 alphabetic letters. New readers must learn that there are more ways than one to represent the same sound so that they learn to look very carefully in order to spell well. 

Concept 4 

In English, the same spelling can spell different sounds 

For example, <o> spells the sound /o/ in dog, /oe/ in go and /oo/ in do. Readers need to be able to swap sounds (phoneme manipulation) to read the word accurately if another possible sound for that spelling has been tried first.


It provides clearly structured, easy to follow lessons which are important for consistency throughout. It is developmentally appropriate for beginning readers at each stage in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. It also offers fast and effective intervention for those who have fallen behind in their reading and spelling. It places emphasis on giving practise that is grounded in physical, concrete experience of the ideas and conceptual understanding that pupils need to assimilate. It also has a focus on the three essential skills of segmenting, blending and phoneme manipulation, necessary for reading and spelling, until the children achieve the automaticity that underlies the fluency of every successful reader. 

The books the children are able to read at home and in school at this early stage of reading are matched to their current phonic ability to allow them to practise and consolidate their reading skills learned in their phonics lessons. 




Words are composed of sounds, in order to read we need to be able to blend sounds together and at the end ‘hear’ a meaningful word. Daily practise in the Sounds-Write lessons will develop good blending.


Because the English written language is a sound > spelling code it is important that children are taught to segment the sounds in words so they can read and spell with ease. Through segmenting children have the opportunity to notice the ways in which the individual sounds are spelled. 

Phoneme Manipulation 

Skilled readers are able to add, change or omit sounds in words and understand how this manipulation of sounds makes new words. This skill of phoneme manipulation is essential so that a new reader can swap sounds around to deal with same spelling-different sound. 

Code Knowledge 

For skilled fluent reading it is vital that children have a thorough knowledge of the spelling code of the 44 sounds of English. The code is taught through multi-sensory activities and lessons where the children are building whole words sound by sound, reading words and writing words. 

Initially we work with words where the spellings are 1:1 (sound:letter). 

Later we move to 2 letter spellings and we teach the spelling alternatives for the sounds. In each school year, we extend the number of sounds taught and also the number of spellings covered. 

Children need to be taught explicitly and extensively how the sounds of English are written. This teaching and learning should be repeatedly revised and reinforced during daily reading and spelling activities. The code should not be allowed to remain a mystery to pupils. 

The Sounds-Write (linguistic phonics) programme is based on extensive research which has isolated and examined the processes involved in learning to read and spell. Each component of the programme is carefully designed so that the developing reader/writer can be guided by explicit instruction at every critical point. 

Through whole class instruction, intervention, small group practice all children in our school will be equipped with the necessary concepts, skills and knowledge to become independent in reading, writing and spelling. 

As with all tasks some children will learn quicker and some will need extra practice and teaching. Each child’s progress will be commensurate with their level of ability.


The programme is split into 2 sections, the initial code (Reception) and the extended code (KS1). The children are taught that the sound can be represented in different ways, this is how we teach the ‘tricky’ words.

The Extended Code:

*Continue to practice the skills of segmenting, blending and phoneme manipulation. 

* Develop key concepts: 

– A sound can be spelled with 2 or more letters 

– Same sound but different spellings 

– Same spelling but different sounds 

*Learn the sounds and the spellings of the 44 sounds of English. (Extended Code Units) 

Polysyllabic Words 

Children will be taught that longer words comprise of separate syllables and that within each syllable the sounds are spelled. The syllables can be segmented and blended to read and spell these longer words. The lessons will allow pupils to read and spell 2, 3 and 4 syllable words accurately. 

Children will be taught about the common schwa (weak vowel) and how to deal with it in reading and spelling.

The Extended Code continues in Y3 where more complex spelling sound correspondences are introduced. 

Throughout this coming year, we are rolling the methods of Sounds Write out into KS2 to improve spelling throughout school.

Guided Reading

In KS1 the children take part in guided reading sessions through a carousel method, in which they develop their decoding skills reading a book closely matched to their phonics level. The children have the opportunity to discuss texts in a small group so also being given the opportunity to develop their comprehension skills through retrieval, inference, choice, predictions and discussing specific vocabulary. The books increase in complexity as the children develop as readers. From Spring the Y2 children move on to whole class reading.

Whole Class Reading

From Spring Y2 up to the end of KS2 the children take part in whole class reading sessions, where aspirational texts including; fiction, non-fiction and poetry, are chosen from our school specific reading spine, which incorporates Lemov’s ‘5 Plagues of Reading’ and diverse authors/characters. The texts are also carefully selected to develop tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary – which children then can apply in their own writing. This allows children who are now able to decode fluently to develop deeper comprehension skills and a wider vocabulary through more challenging texts. There is a focus on developing fluency for all readers through a range of strategies including; echo reading, choral reading, paired reading and listening to the teacher model effective intonation with accuracy, automaticity and prosody. Teachers will circulate to listen to children reading the text. The children then complete activities and questions to develop their comprehension skills including; retrieval, inference, prediction, summarising, comparing and contrasting, authorial intent and exploring the meaning of words. 

Individual Reading

In school children have a book from the class library or school library which they can read at varying points throughout the day. Trained adults hear children read regularly, particularly the bottom 20%. The bottom 20% are read with as often as possible. 

Home Reading

All children are able to take books home to read from our incredible library. Initially, the children take a book which is closely matched to their phonics level and one other book to read with an adult for pleasure. Once the children are fluent, they move on to our banded library books. Children are encouraged to read at home regularly through weekly and half termly ‘reading rewards’ which they earn from completing a set number of ‘reads’ at home.


Children who are not meeting age related expectations are given personalised targets and have regular phonics and reading intervention throughout all year groups. This is monitored regularly to ensure the children are making progress.

We benefit from the use of Reading Plus for children in Y3 to Y6. This is an adaptive programme which  tailors the texts, reading speed and comprehension questions based on the child’s ability. This is used at least 3 times a week in KS2.

Reading in the Wider Curriculum

When planning, teachers incorporate high quality texts in order to give children the opportunity to read to gain knowledge across the curriculum. The children are reading throughout the school day and constantly applying their reading skills in different contexts. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. They move on from learning to read to reading to learn. 

Reading for Pleasure

As a school we are promoting a love of reading through choosing books from a range of authors, which will engage and excite the children through whole class novels and whole class reading. Our learning is linked to texts wherever possible. We are currently taking part in a Reading for Pleasure project, to improve the love of reading in school even further.

To promote a love of reading we:

  • Hold weekly reading assemblies – where different staff share their favourite authors and books
  • Have a weekly ‘Book and Biscuits’ club – where children enjoy reading together and book related activities
  • Have a staff lending library
  • Are developing a parents lending library
  • Invite Reception parents in to school for a weekly story time and library session 
  • Have a set of books that we take out to the yard for children to read at their leisure
  • Have numerous virtual guest author visits
  • Upload videos of the staff reading on Facebook
  • Host parent reading support meetings
  • Host parent reading events
  • Celebrate World Book Day
  • Visit Waterstones to spend World Book Day tokens
  • Taking part in the OUP Reading for Pleasure  project