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Balshaw Lane Primary School

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Reading and Phonics

"Reading helps take your mind off things… you can go into another world."

Caity in Y6

"Reading is great fun because it gives you ideas for writing, drawing… it inspires you."

Thomas in Y5

"I love reading so much because it’s so much fun. Books can help you understand what life is like in other places. I read in bed because it helps me to relax."

Bobby in Y4

"I LOVE books! I’m interested of (sic) them. I smell them first!"

Phoebe in Reception


Learning phonics is an essential part of early learning which helps to 'unlock' all future learning. Being able to decode leads to fluency, comprehension and a lifelong ability to read. At Balshaw Lane, we have recognised how important phonics are to children's learning, implementing the Read Write Inc scheme for nearly ten years.


Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage (Reception) and KS1 follow the Read Write Inc scheme in order to teach phonics, with children completing a phonics screening check at the end of Year 1. Children who do not pass this check receive additional support in Year 2,  re-taking the check at the end of KS1.


We teach daily phonics session across the infants with children being grouped according to their progress with phonics skills. In KS2, we continue with phonics if children still need further development and then build on this with spelling work. We use the Read Write Inc spelling programme.


Children may bring home spellings to learn to support their learning in class. These may include high frequency words which are key words which are used very often in writing.

Reception children bring home regular phonics practice to reinforce their learning from class.


Sometimes, we use intervention groups to support or boost phonics progress. This could be through 1:1  or smaller groups, or by using a booster programme such as Fast Track. 



At Balshaw Lane, we see Reading as crucial for every child's progress across the curriculum. We constantly look for ways to develop the children's reading skills and their exposure to high quality texts in different subjects. We want the children to feel confident to understand, interpret and enjoy a wide variety of genres as they mature, in preparation for high school and adulthood. Reading is key to their future progress and achievement.


EYFS and KS1 mainly use Read Write Inc books to support reading because these match the children's phonics progress and are phonetically decodable. We also use reading books from the Oxford Reading Tree scheme as supplementary sharing books.  We supplement with other teaching resources where appropriate. 


The children read regularly on a 1:1 basis with an adult in school and books are changed regularly. Planners are monitored closely and there is a high level of interaction with parents about daily reading and phonics home/school input. 


There is a huge focus on developing a love of reading, through shared class stories, rhymes and songs. A range of texts is used in the Early Years continuous provision for the different areas of learning. The children love sharing books during activities and in the class reading corner with friends. They are excited by their monthly surprise book gift from our liaison with Ebb and Flo local bookshop. 


We ensure that we share and display books which celebrate diversity, and encourage the children to consider and respect other people. We think that this is important as part of our work to prepare children for life in modern Britain.


In KS2, we continue with reading scheme books but also use graded free reading books to widen the children's awareness of different styles of narrative. The children are taught reading skills through guided reading and through whole class reading comprehension work. 


Children are encouraged to read at least three times a week: this is rewarded by our Reading Raffle. Children who are not reading regularly are supported more in class and parents are approached about increasing home support.


Each child has a Reading Journal to respond to books they read and to complete comprehension tasks for Guided Reading. The journals complement the verbal discussions with the teacher during Guided Reading sessions.


Each classroom also has a reading area and a selection of books for the children to read. These include picture books, story books and non-fiction. 


Every class has a class novel which is selected to enhance connected curriculum learning or to fit into our cultural capital mapping.


Across the curriculum, we use a wide range of varied texts for different subjects. This means that the children develop fluency and subject-specific vocabulary. Comparisons can be made, using skills gained in English lessons.


Our library has a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books for all the children to borrow. We use the Lancashire library service to supplement our school library. We participate in the Fantastic Book Awards and celebrate World Book Day each year.


To support parents we have held Reading Workshops and sent home 'Book Talk' booklets which give suggested questions which parents can use at home to support their child's reading. If any parents require another copy, there are some available at the office.


We aim to engender the children's love of reading in many ways:

  • Balshaw Lane ‘Year of Reading’: monthly activities
  • Reading Raffle
  • Fantastic Book Awards (FBA)
  • Author visits
  • Links with Ebb and Flo bookshop in Chorley for class novels
  • Reading workshops for parents
  • Boys’ reading workshop with Euxton CE & Primrose Hill
  • World Book Day celebration
  • Participation in the library Summer Reading Challenge
  • Reading buddies


“The phonics system is excellent and I felt very happy at the speed my daughter has learned to read and write.” 
“We’ve really enjoyed taking part in the school’s ‘Year of Reading’ and hope that this is something that will continue.” 
“Our child has progressed dramatically, particularly with blending and segmenting sounds for reading.” 
“Brilliant how they are teaching the children’s reading skills. How they manage to make them focus on reading and writing, sounding the words.”

"Reading is a priority at Balshaw Lane."

Parental Questionnaire comments

Reception & Y1 Reading Meeting March 2020

KS1 Reading and Phonics

Early Years Reading and Phonics

Lower KS2 Reading

Upper KS2 Reading

#ReadingRocks summer activity

Reading displays around school