Humberstone Infant Academy

Early Reading


The Early Reading Curriculum at Humberstone Infant Academy

At Humberstone Infant Academy, we are determined that every child will learn to read, regardless of background, needs or abilities. Reading is at the very heart of the whole curriculum, underpinning every subject area and forming  a key part of the school’s ethos. We want all our children to be fluent, confident readers and to develop a genuine love of reading.

The school provides a rich curriculum of reading experiences from F1 through to year 2 and a language rich environment which supports and challenges their wider reading. Research shows us that children who are able to decode fluently are much more likely to read for pleasure. 

Reading is one of the most important ways we can positively influence the life chances of our children and helps to build cultural capital. 

“Making sure that children become engaged with reading from the beginning is therefore one of the most important ways to make a difference to their life chances, whatever their socio-economic background. For this to happen, however, children need to learn to read as fluently as possible and be motivated to continue reading.” Dfe Reading Framework 2021

By the end of KS1, children will be fluent at decoding and we aim for all children to

  • read confidently, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and 
  • information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate a diverse and rich and literary heritage 
  • meet age related expectations for reading, with the aspiration to exceed them.

Our Approach to Teaching Phonics:

We teach early reading through the DfE Approved systematic, synthetic phonics programme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Right from the start of F2, children have a daily phonics lesson which follows the progression for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds and this continues in Year One to ensure children become fluent readers.

In the nursery, children follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised ‘Foundations for Phonics’ guidance. The focus is on daily oral blending and language development through high quality stories and rhymes.

We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day in F2 and Year 1. In Reception, at the start of the year, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to a full-length 30 minute lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.

Children make a strong start in F2: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term. We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress (please click here for the progression).

Four new phonemes and their corresponding graphemes are taught (GPCs) each week and they are then used in the final lesson of the week to review the week’s learning. Children will also learn tricky words during these sessions.

In the Autumn and Spring term, F2 children learn phase 2 and phase 3 GPCs and then will spend the final term learning phase 4.

Year 1 children begin the Autumn term with 3 weeks of revision of prior learning in phases 2, 3 and 4 before learning phase 5, which will be completed by the end of the year. Year 2 children will begin the year by revisiting phase 5 and other previously taught phases to ensure all children are completely confident and secure in applying these GPCs in both their reading and also their writing. (please see the overview here for what this progression looks like).

Half termly assessments take place from F2 and Year 1 to help inform future teaching and help identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and need additional practice. Daily assessment of learning also takes place within the classroom so staff can quickly identify any children who are in danger of falling behind and provide the appropriate daily ‘Keep Up’ intervention.

Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.

The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.

Reading for pleasure books, such as our library books also go home for parents to share and read to children. 

We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.

For support with the pronunciation of the phonemes taught how we teach and the books that come home, please refer to the videos below.

Help for parents