Halton Community Combined School

Together, our community

inspires a love of learning and

enables children to find their voice.

English - Reading and Phonics

Subject leaders: 

Mrs Jo Sherwood-King (EYFS, KS1 English and Phonics)

Ms Philippa Bates (KS2)


If you have any questions regarding reading, please contact Mrs Sherwood-King or Ms Bates via the school office.


As a school we recognise that reading engagement has a huge impact on outcomes for children. Reading lies at the heart of our curriculum at Halton and is the first of our School Aims:

Our aim is for every child to develop a love of reading.


We are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers and we believe reading is key for academic success. We want our pupils to be confident readers who are able to understand and use a variety of texts for whatever purpose they choose. We want pupils to develop a love of reading, a good knowledge of a range of authors, and be able to understand more about the world in which they live through the knowledge they gain from texts. By the end of their time at Halton, all children should be able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education. We do not put ceilings on what pupils can achieve in reading and we do not hold pre-conceptions about any pupils’ ability to make progress. We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills, and so we want to encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school through good quality texts.


‘After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.’

Philip Pullman


We teach reading daily as whole class lessons, so that all children have access to the age-related skills and knowledge contained in the National Curriculum.  Whole class reading ensures that children, regardless of reading ability, encounter new and rich vocabulary.  It enables all children to enjoy and understand texts outside of their own reading ‘ability’ or interests.


Within lessons, teachers and teaching assistants target support for less able pupils to enable them to achieve at an age-related level wherever possible. More able pupils  are also given opportunities to demonstrate a greater depth of understanding through extended answers, targeted questioning requiring more reasoned answers and making greater links across and between texts.


Every class has a timetabled 15-20 minute Reading for Pleasure daily.  This is when the class teacher simply reads to their class from a quality book from the Halton Reading Spine. 


Classroom book shelves and the school library are carefully organised to provide informed support for choice.  They contain a range of different texts that tempt reading.  Each teacher ensures that there is diversity of reading material for the children to choose from not just ‘books’: comics, graphic novels, picture books and newspapers are all available to children. Often our children are reading things other than books; as a school we recognise that these are of equal ‘value’ in reading for pleasure.  We encourage children's involvement and ownership through such things as class librarians and  book reviews.  Our classrooms encourage conversations about texts, peer recommendations and teacher recommended books on display.  


We encourage parental involvement through a half termly Reading Newsletter which contains updates about reading initiatives (such as the House Reading Challenge) in school, suggestions for supporting children children with reading at home and recommended new (and classic) reading material for children of all ages. 


We use the VIPERS acronym (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve and Sequence/ Summarise) to explicitly teach each reading comprehension skill. These are used in our daily whole class reading sessions and also referred to when the skills are being used within reading across the curriculum. The 6 Reading Domains are part of the National Curriculum for reading and focus on the comprehension aspect of reading . We use VIPERS as a method of ensuring that teachers ask, and students are familiar with, a range of questions. 


Reading Skills Progression Document

Example of Halton Reading Newsletter


As children progress from Early Years to the End of Key Stage 2 at Halton,  they are building on their decoding skills, reading fluency, vocabulary, inference and comprehension to become confident and enthusiastic readers, who are able to verbalise their thoughts and opinions on a text. By the time children leave Halton, they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry, and participate in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader. They can also read books to enhance their knowledge and understanding of all subjects on the curriculum, and communicate their research to a wider audience.


Children's Thoughts on Reading at Halton:

These are taken from our recent reading survey that all children took part in: 


We have multiple reading activities during the day.

We go to the library EVERY Wednesday.

We are surrounded by books.

We have a house reading challenge to take part in.

Every teacher reads.

We have a beautiful library.

We read good books every day.

Halton encourages us to read at home and at school.

We have our own library in our classroom.

Our teacher reads us all the newest books.



Reading EYFS and Key Stage One

We aim to develop a love of reading in pupils of all ages; the school is well stocked with a range of children's literature from authors past and present and a range of engaging reading activities are timetabled daily in all classes.

We use a large number of reading schemes to support the development of early reading and to ensure that children experience a range of different genres e.g. fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Some of the reading schemes used are: Collins Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby Rocket, Oxford Literacy Web, Songbirds, Ginn, Flying Boot, , All Aboard, Snapdragons, Rigby Star, Young Puffins.



Currently, the school plans and delivers phonics using 'Letter & Sounds'.

From September 2022, in line with government expectations, we will be delivering phonics using an approved phonics programme. We have chosen to use "Twinkl Phonics". More information regarding "Twinkl Phonics" will be uploaded prior to the start of the next academic year.