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Early Reading

Early reading and early language development:

As stated in the Early Reading Framework (2021), becoming a fluent reader begins at the earliest stages, before children even encounter a book, through the quality of their parents’ talk and the subsequent development of their vocabulary.


We therefore prioritise high quality talk in Early Years and Key Stage 1 through a number of schemes/approaches:

Systematic Synthetic Phonics: Read Write Inc (RWI)

At Ferry Lane we follow the RWI phonics programme and have been an RWI model school for over a decade. RWI is a complete phonics programme with high quality training, assessment, intervention and resources (including decodable books). We train all new members of staff in the RWI approach and provide ongoing training and support for existing teachers through practice sessions and coaching. We carry out intervention to support pupils to ‘keep up’ with the programme. Children’s early independent reading is exclusively reading the RWI fully decodable books, ensuring that children are only asked to read books with sounds that they know.


Once pupils can read accurately and fluently, they move on from the RWI programme and the related decodable books. We do not use ‘book bands’ for children who are able to decode accurately and fluently. Instead the teacher supports the child to choose a book that matches their interests and reading ability (e.g. suitable length, appropriate themes etc).

What is RWI Phonics?

The Ruth Miskin Training Youtube channel has lots of helpful videos for parents to watch to help them to understand the programme and how it works. Here are a few of them:

Reading for Pleasure remains a whole school priority

Reading enjoyment has been reported as more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status (OECD, 2002). We believe that a whole school Reading for Pleasure culture must be ‘lived’ by all members of staff as well as being embedded into the school structures and routines. It is everyone’s responsibility to promote and maintain enjoyment of reading.

Whole school story time takes place from 3:15 – 3:30pm every day. During this time the teacher should be reading to the children. When reading aloud, we do not stop unnecessarily to ask clarification/comprehension questions. Instead, we allow the story to weave its own magic, only pausing occasionally where necessary to define any important vocabulary. In Key Stage 1 teachers also read to children during fruit time.

Children should read during morning and afternoon registration. We encourage reading at home and support parents to understand how to read to/with their children. Teachers promote reading for pleasure through making recommendations and informal book talk; including by promoting the reading challenges in KS1 and Battle of the Books in KS2. Book corners are well used, ‘lived in’ spaces with a limited number of high quality texts that children are able to borrow. All children go to the school library weekly and to a local library on a termly basis.

Reading for Pleasure remains a whole school priority

Once children can read accurately and fluently, we teach reading and writing as separate subjects. Teaching writing separately allows teachers and children to focus on the writing processes and writing skills and allows pupils the freedom to use their own ideas without being constrained by the text they are reading. It prevents writing outcomes from being solely a response to reading and instead allows pupils the freedom to develop and use their own ideas without being overly constrained by the text they are reading.