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Interim Headteacher: Tracy Whetton
SENDCo: Lynda Livesey
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Reading & Phonics

All classes across the school have a daily English lesson that is planned using the English National Curriculum in order to achieve our school aims.  We adopt considerable flexibility with the structure of the lesson, but wherever possible we try to link literacy with the class topic.  In this way the links which are so important for developing children’s interest, knowledge and understanding are maintained and there is a framework which gives a recognisable purpose to what they are doing.  In addition, classes also base a proportion of their English lessons around “Power of Reading” texts.  The texts are carefully chosen and as well as enriching children’s understanding of different genres, they help to develop comprehension, fluency and response and also provide good models for writing


“Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.” English National Curriculum 2014 

To develop our children as readers we:

  • Place a high importance on the teaching of phonics as the foundation of learning to read.  Early Years and Key Stage 1 children are taught Letters and Sounds daily.
  • Put in place any intervention for Key Stage 2 children who still require support with phonics work
  • Teach them to read accurately and fluently using a range of strategies at school
  • Aim to fulfil a positive home agreement partnership by encouraging children to read at home to adults on a regular basis
  • Help them to understand and respond to what they read using inference and deduction where appropriate
  • Supply varied reading materials so that children have a diet of non-fiction, fiction and poetry reading texts
  • Encourage them to read independently and for pleasure, which ultimately helps to increase pupils’ vocabulary
  • Teach them to seek information and learn from what they read
  • Encourage them to use their reading skills as an integral part of their learning across the curriculum
  • Read regularly to children so as to model good practice in reading
  • Provide a rich literacy environment, with book corners in every classroom and central library area for whole school use.
  • Organise Library Bus visits through the year, organise yearly World Book Day activities and hold Spellbinding Book Club for Year 5 and 6


From summer term in Reception, all children take part in Guided Reading sessions, which are an important, weekly element of the English curriculum.  Teachers use a variety of resources including a set of readers, playscripts, leaflets and non-fiction texts.  Care is taken to ensure that children are grouped appropriately according to their reading level.  Teachers or teaching assistants leading the guided reading sessions are guiding the children to focus on words, sentences and understanding the whole text, with emphasis on deduction and inference.


Phonics is the prime approach to learning to read and spell and we make high quality phonics teaching a priority each day across Early years and KS1. Our sessions are systematic and interactive; allowing children to learn in a mixture of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic styles. The teaching of phonics at Sedbergh Primary School uses ‘Letters and Sounds’ as the fundamental basis of the sessions. Click on the link to find out more:

Letters and Sounds – Free phonics resources for the Letters and Sounds programme (

Children take part in daily 20-minute phonics sessions led by teachers who are fully trained in phonics teaching. Children link sounds (phonemes) and their written form (graphemes) in order to recognise and read words, using basic units of knowledge to “decode” new or unfamiliar words. Words are made up of just 44 sounds in English. You may have heard your child or their teacher use particular words that form the core of understanding phonics. Here’s a quick explanation of some of the key concepts. 

  • Phoneme – the smallest unit of sound as it is spoken.
  • Grapheme –  a written symbol that represents a sound (phoneme) that’s either one letter or a sequence of letters
  • Digraph – two letters that work together to make the same sound (ch, sh, ph)
  • Trigraph – three letters that work together to make the same sound (igh, ore, ear)
  • Split digraph (sometimes called ‘magic e’) – two letters that work together to make the same sound, separated by another letter in the same word. This enables children to understand the difference in vowel sounds between, for example, grip/gripe, rag/rage, tap/tape.

The Phonics Screening Check is administered at the end of Year One by the Year One teacher, and attainment details are published nationally and to parents.  Any child who does not obtain the national pass mark is required to re-sit the test at the end of Year Two.  Children entering Key Stage Two who still require further assistance with phonics work attend 15 minute “top-up” phonics sessions two to three times a week.  Also, children in KS2 work on IDL computer programme to help with spelling. 

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