Supporting pupils to be able to read is a core element of our learning provision. To enable this there are several elements which are woven together to enable pupils access to a varied and effective reading curriculum.

In the taught reading curriculum, pupils are enabled to develop their;

  • Engagement in reading by participating in stories, joining in with repeated refrains, story language, actions and rhymes, anticipating the next part and sequencing stories and communicating in their own ways what has happened in a story. As children build on their skills they will develop further their engagement in reading by reading a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, listening and responding to what is being read and building up confidence to read the text independently.

  • Word reading by distinguishing between and identifying different objects, pictures, symbols and words that represent text and topic related/ environmental print in their wider world, investigating different types of words and using these to make sentences that make sense and developing their phonemic awareness which will impact their fluency in reading. As children build their skills they will further their understanding of word reading by working on their 1:1 correspondence, using their preferred method of reading to read an increasing number of words. Pupils will use their phonics knowledge to support them with decoding and reading words accurately. As this develops, pupils will work on becoming more fluent to read without decoding every word but knowing to use strategies that help them read new words they do not recognise.

  • Comprehension by showing understanding of the story through answering simple questions, developing their early inference through identifying pictures/ images and props related to the story and using search and select skills to select information to answer a question, define new words and clarify misconceptions. As children build on their skills they will further develop their comprehension by asking questions about what they have read to help them understand more and discuss what they have read. Pupils will develop their sequencing and retelling skills in increasingly complex stories. They will predict what might happen in a story and respond to questions about what they have read, using increasing vocabulary and increasing inference.

  • Vocabulary to include new words which are related to their topic, descriptive language and their interests. They will use their understanding of the context to help me think about what words mean, asking others and talking about what they think.

    We continually promote pupils interest in and a love of reading. Our school facilities help us to provide spaces where children can engage with books including corridor libraries and book nooks where pupils can pause and share a book as well as well-resourced library full with a variety of reading materials such as big books, noisy books, sensory stories, fiction and non-fiction books for children to engage with and borrow.


    At Palatine, pupils are taught synthetic phonics systematically and this supports their early reading development. We use the Song of Sounds phonics scheme, Song of Sounds is a multi-sensory phonics programme. It is hands on and interactive with music, movement and practical activities at its core. Song is a key part of the programme, helping children to remember phonemes (sounds) and associate them with graphemes (written letters). Children will learn different songs to depending on the stage they are working at, please contact your child’s class teacher for more information about their stage.


    For more information on what phonics is and how to help your child with phonics using the Song of Sounds approach, please access the parent and carer’s guide.

    What comes before phonics?

    We recognise that pupils need to develop certain physical and sensory skills before they are ready to begin systematic, synthetic phonics. These include both visual perception and listening skills, motor development skills, sound discrimination, and exposure to rhythm and rhyme in addition to communication development where pupils have plenty of opportunities for communicating and hearing stories, songs and rhymes. Pupils at this stage of learning have opportunities for developing all these skills planned in as part of their phonics provision enabling them to prepare for beginning synthetic phonics through the Song of Sounds programme.

    Pre phonics

    We use Development Matters and research into what comes before phonics to ensure we appropriately develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding from the earliest stages of development. Before children are ready for formal phonics they need to first develop communication skills, understanding of language and be able to focus, attend and engage. At Palatine we use shared communication activities and shared attention activities to support children develop these skills. These include Intensive Interaction, TACPAC, Musical Mats, Music and Movement, and Story Massage. To develop shared attention some children will use Attention Autism. Pupils working at this level have a daily taught session of communication.

    Children are often ready to begin Stage 0 when they have communication skills to comment and can attend or be re-engaged for a short activity.

    Stage 0

    It is likely there will be an overlap between Pre Phonics and Stage 0. The balance will be specific to individual children and more Stage 0 will be introduced as children develop their knowledge, skills and understanding.

    Stage 0 is a progressive programme which supports pupils to initially develop their awareness of sounds in general and later apply the knowledge, skills and understanding to awareness of sounds in words and speech. The programme is underpinned by songs and rhymes as we these have a hugely positive impact on language and literacy development.

    In early stage 0 children are developing an awareness of sound in general and they do this through these 3 areas: environmental sounds, instrumental sounds and body percussion. Through activities in early Stage 0 children learn to copy, make and identify the different sounds they hear and produce. All the input we give children in this area builds on the communication and attention skills children have learnt in pre-phonics.

    Late stage 0 is where children start to be exposed to sounds in words and how these are different or the same as each other. There is planned  exposure to oral blending and segmenting to support children to develop this fundamental aspect of learning to read.

    For more information

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