Learning to read and the importance of phonics

At Poppleton Ousebank, we pride ourselves in our approach to teaching phonics and the joy of reading. Our children experience reading each day and we systematically help them to become a better reader with a passion for language and an excitement of books.

Read Write Inc

At Poppleton Ousebank Primary School we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their literacy. RWI is a method of learning centred round letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.

Using RWI, the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into composing what they write.

When using RWI to read the children will:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
  • learn to read words using Fred Talk
  • read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
  • show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.

When using RWI to write the children will:

  • learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds.
  • learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk
  • write simple sentences

Being a fluent reader opens up a host of opportunities to our children. The more a child reads, the more able they will be to read more challenging material and have a greater depth to their learning.

Families can find out more here.

Once pupils can read accurately and fluently, they move on from the RWI programme and the related decodable books.

Reading for pleasure

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 3:00 – 3:15pm every day. During this time teachers read 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 at other points during the day.

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. Book corners are well used, ‘lived in’ spaces with a limited number of high quality texts that children are able to borrow. All children have access to the class library and to a local library.

Teaching Reading and Writing

In Early Years and Key Stage 1, pupils learn to read and write at the same time, using the Read Write Inc approach. Children focus on their use of phonics, their ability to write a sentence that makes sense, using capital letters and full stops. As children become increasingly confident, they begin to add adjectives to  increase the detail, use questions and conjunctions. This is modelled in the stories that they read and so becomes an exciting next step.

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 in both literacy lessons and across the curriculum. In this way, children learn to write as a scientist or an artist. It is the use of phrases, vocabulary, sentence structure, spelling, grammar and punctuation that enables a child to be a successful writer. We recognise that the best writers also have a strong subject knowledge and for this reason, we explore pupils understanding of their writing content to facilitate great writing. Children learn authorial intent, recognises it in stories, extracts and in turn, deploying it in their own work.

When teaching writing we:

  • Explicitly teaching the writing processes (how to generate an idea, plan, draft, revise, edit, publish)
  • Teachers teach a lesson daily and children are invited to apply the principles of this lesson to their writing
  • Children are given time to write every day
  • Writing projects have a purpose and audience
  • Children are given time to read, share, think and talk about writing
  • Children have the opportunity to pursue personal writing projects
  • Teachers carry out ‘pupil conferencing’ to support pupils to further develop their writing

Reading Curriculum

Writing Curriculum 

Spelling, Grammar & Punctuation Yrs 1-6

Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation


Grammar revision

Supporting reading websites

As parents, it’s often difficult to know which books your child may be interested in or who the current leading children’s authors are. For this reason, we have included some websites below, but you can also visit year group pages on this website to see the suggested reading lists for pupils.

Love reading 4 kids

A website to support book choices

The Book Trust