Holy Trinity C of E Aided First School

Holy Trinity C of E Aided First School

'inquisitive thinkers, challenge seekers, kind hearts'

Bell Tower Place BERWICK-UPON-TWEED Northumberland TD15 1NB


01289 306142

Reading at Holy Trinity

Reading at Holy Trinity

Our aim at Holy Trinity is to be a school that confidently meets the needs of every child.  This aspiration for each of our children is based upon the need for them to enter the world of work as articulate and literate individuals with a strong love of reading.  To find out more about our intentions, implementation and impact please read our Reading subject page.

We aim to ensure that all children have the chance to follow an enriching curriculum by getting them reading early: learning to read – reading to learn.

Competence in reading is the key to independent learning and has a direct effect on progress in all other areas of the curriculum.  We want our children to love reading and be ‘readers’, not just children who can read. 

We will ensure that all children have equal access to the curriculum, regardless of gender, race, religion or ability.  Children with specific reading, speech and language or hearing difficulties will be identified and supported through support programmes in school and external help will be sought when necessary.

Approaches to Teaching and Learning

The teaching of reading must be carefully planned to meet the needs of all of our children taking into account low literacy baselines and inconsistent home support.  We recognise the importance of taking a consistent whole school approach to the teaching of reading to close any gaps and to target the highest possible number of children to attain.

There are three key areas that we consider crucial for reading success:

  1. Reading Mileage
  2. Skilled Adults
  3. Appropriate level texts aiming for 90% and above accuracy)

Much time has been invested into the training of teaching staff and support staff so that they are equipped and confident to deliver the teaching of reading.  Each child experiences high quality reading teaching through phonics/spelling, individual 1-1 reading, guided reading sessions, inference training and whole class shared reading.  As we are a member of an outstanding  Literacy hub, staff have access to training in order to further develop their skills in teaching reading and phonics. 

Reading Mileage

At Holy Trinity, every attempt is made to ensure that our children gain ‘reading mileage.’ This means ensuring that the children have opportunities to read wherever possible, both with Reading lessons and across the curriculum.  Throughout the school, all children are encouraged to choose books which they would like to read and are given the skills needed to choose books which are appropriate.  Opportunities for extending reading mileage at Holy Trinity are:

  • Individual Reading (1:1 reading with an adult in school)
  • Shared Reading
  • Guided Reading
  • Reading across our creative curriculum
  • Independent reading
  • Home reading
  • Children should also listen to stories read aloud on a regular basis

Class Libraries

Each class has a range of books, fiction and non-fiction, in a variety of genres and styles and reflecting both genders and the diverse culture of our children. Each class has their own selection of books and in our school hall we have a library which is made up of non-fiction books providing exciting informative books that interpret the world for our young readers.  Class librarians are responsible for looking after books in their class and enjoy the responsibility of organising the library.

Enchanted Hour

There is story time every day in all classes, so that children can hear how a good reader sounds. It is a time for children to enjoy books, while providing language rich experiences and opportunities to develop vocabulary and comprehension skills.  While the teacher is reading and asking questions, TAs could note observations about children’s responses to add to individual reading records.  Each class have a list of core books to help stimulate interest in reading and writing.  Each class participates in the ‘Enchanted Hour’, which is proven to make children smarter, happier and more successful.  Children benefit in their cognitive and social-emotional skills whatever their class, nationality or family background.  Staff have the opportunity to watch and support each other’s story sessions. 

Parent Involvement

We acknowledge that it is the job of school staff to teach a child how to read and to develop as a reader.  However, we know that the best readers will also be reading within the home environment.  Parents are encouraged to listen to their children read at home and able readers are expected to read independently at home to build reading mileage.  Children take a ‘reading book’ home every day.

Parents are asked to comment/sign their children’s reading book every time their child reads at home.  Teachers and TAs write comments when they hear children read individually or in guided reading.  This also include guidance for parents about how to best support their children in reading, for instances, examples of questions that they can ask, strategies that are being practised and how to praise specific elements such as intonation and fluency.  In Key Stage 2, pupils take more responsibility for logging when they have read and write a comment about what they have read.

Phonics at Holy Trinity 

The teaching of phonics is a strength of the school and most pupils reach the level required by the end of Year 1. Positive relationships and high expectations ensure that pupils develop the skills of segmenting and blending. This ensures that most pupils in key stage 1 can read unknown words accurately and quickly become fluent and keen readers.  

'The most important starting point is to read to children. Reading to children is the best way of encouraging them to love books and reading.  By reading stories aloud to children every day, you are forming a link for them between reading, comfort and love. When you love a book, your children will want to hear it again and again! Children thrive on repetition, so when you’ve read Room on the Broom for the hundredth time, remember you are hardwiring their brains for success.'  (Ruth Miskin, 2020)

At Holy Trinity, we follow the systematic synthetic phonics programme, 'Read Write Inc.'. Phonics is taught on a daily basis throughout the EYFS and KS1 and targeted interventions are delivered using Read Write Inc.

We are committed to every child learning to read as quickly as possible with the strongest start to reading in the Foundation Stage. We follow Ruth Miskin's 'Read Write Inc Phonics' programme daily and follow the programme rigorously.  We are very excited to see how it transforms our youngest children into confident, happy readers.  We use this highly successful programme to teach our children to read, write and spell.  Our children do excellently in the phonics screening check and by Year 2, the vast majority are fluent readers with the best chance of success in the end of Key Stage 1 tests.

Read Write Inc sessions take place regularly for all Reception, and Year 1 children with no exceptions, as the pace and consistency of the programme is a key element to developing reading skills for all children. This is integral to allowing our children to effectively learn the rest of the school curriculum using their knowledge and skill in reading.

Our ultimate aims and objectives within the Read Write Inc. programme are for the children to be able to learn and apply sound blending skills and to learn to segment words in order to be able to create skilled and confident readers. Children also learn to read and spell words that do not conform to regular phonetic patterns (High Frequency Words) and decode both fiction and non-fiction texts through discussion, performance and teacher led activities. 

Following a short series of Read Write Inc. lessons, children are then given accurately matched, fully decodable Read Write Inc. 'Book Bag Books' that allow the children to apply their phonic knowledge and practice reading at home with their parents. This means that the books contain only the sounds in which the children have already been taught so far and leaves nothing for the children to 'guess' when reading (which can often lead to errors). It is therefore important for the children to experience success when reading these books and they must be celebrated for reading these fluently at home. Allow them to show off their reading ability to you and share the joy of reading together!

'Read-a-lot-children do well at school; they read in two days what many children read in a year. They absorb the vocabulary, grammar, ideas and, above all, knowledge. 

Everything hangs on children wanting to read: begging, nagging and testing do not get children to want to read. Children are like us - they only read if they want to. 

I don’t think there’s a big secret about what to do; we need to show children how much we love stories. Read great stories, poems and non-fiction every day, all through school. What we love today they might read tomorrow.'  

(Ruth Miskin, 2020)

Read Write Inc. Documents and Resources for Parents

If you have any further questions about Phonics please do not hesitate to contact your child’s class teacher.

Phonics in the EYFS Environment

In the early stages of reading it’s all about the total immersion in learning letter sounds by linking all the activities in the environment.  Teaching phonics is more effective when embedded in a rich literacy environment  We try to capture interest at this very early stage.  Some children whose spoken language is not well developed respond to this.  As well as following RWI we choose a letter (initial sounds) and make sure everything is devoted to it. For example:

  • Special songs, rhymes and stories, eating food multi- sensory activities active learning outside
  • Boxes of toys for each letter and sound so in the ‘A’ box you’ll find fake ants, aeroplanes, ambulances, astronaut figures and so on
  • If the sound is ‘s’ we might make a sandwich, paint a snake, sing a song about a snake,
  • Alliteration e.g. Simon said slugs are slimy
  • Phonics games on interactive whiteboard, e.g phonics play
  • Listening walks
  • Sound lotto

Reception children then begin to learn to ‘blend’ sounds e.g teacher says p-i-g,  child says word

Segment – child says p-i-g

We continue to use the environment to support children in their phonics work.  The above activities are repeated but with the focus on cvc/cvvc words. Other activities are for example -

  • cvc snakes and ladders
  • cvc jigsaws
  • buried treasure – sort real words and nonsense words
  • drive through blending,
  • ‘if you think you know the sound shout it out
  • Use instruments to count syllables
  • Sound puppets
  • Sound stories,
  • e,g I went to the park to feed the d-u-ck
  • put your hands on your h-ea-d
  • Simon says ‘put your hands on your h–i-p-s
  • Feed the monkey, only put food in basket that we can sound out

Phonics are an important component in the development of early reading skills but it is also important that children are successful in making progress in all aspects of reading including vocabulary development, comprehension and spelling.

Phonics improves the accuracy of a child’s reading but not the comprehension so wider literacy skills such as comprehension still need to be developed.

Nursery – phase 1 phonics, sounds in the environment then learn initial sounds.


As well as using RWI books we also use the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme.  This is a character led sequence of books which follows the lives and adventures of the central characters Biff, Chip. Kipper and Floppy.  The initial levels are phonetically structured as the scheme progresses.  The adventures and predicaments that the central characters find themselves in allow the reader to think about and engage with the characters and ask questions about the stories.


How we Develop a Love of Reading

Suitcase with books, marshmallows, hot chocolate.  Children take home for a week.

Challenge – read books the height of the Head teacher

Blind Date Books

Early Years – when children read let them put it in a ‘familiar’ box so have the opportunity to re-read.

KS2 children help the younger children with their reading.

Let older the children have the chance to read books from when they were younger. Use as play scripts e.g. Gruffalo, make props etc.

Turn book corner into a book café – placements, paper plates.

Use senses when first looking at a book before introduction them to the book

Sit in a box to read books

Class Puppet/Toy recommends books for the children

Engage parents

Book swap for parents

Seasonal stay and read

Visit each other’s classes to watch and support each other’s sessions

Have a story time session where classes move to each class to hear a different story

Our Reading Recommendations

Class 1 recommend ‘The Gingerbread Man’

I love the end of the story when he got all soggy. It made me laugh!

I liked it when the Gingerbread Man was really fast at running and the old lady, cow, horse, and everyone couldn’t catch him!

The Gingerbread Man was just too fast to catch!

The horse, cow and old lady just couldn’t catch him.

It’s funny when he jumped out the oven!

I can’t wait to turn the page, on the next page he gets flipped by the fox. Then he eats him!

Curriculum Reading Spine

When we have designed our curriculum one of our key outcomes is that we want your child to enjoy reading and develop a love of books during their time at Holy Trinity.  In addition to our phonics and reading provision we have thought hard about a series of quality texts that will fit to our curriculum map for each class and we will share with the children in lessons each term.  These are quality writing that we want our children to know in detail and we are able to use to delve deeply into text language and themes. 

The attached list is not exhaustive and by no means represents the only texts we share with the children, it does however give you a guide to the type of texts that you could share with your children and expect them to know in greater detail.

Reading Events

Class Swap – staff move to different classes to read to the children

World Book Day – children dress up as a book character and take part in a range of reading activities

Advent Reading Challenge – read a book, a chapter or have someone read you a book in the run up to Christmas

Pyjamarama Day – spend the day in pyjamas and donate to help give every child a bedtime story

Theme days e.g Harry Potter, Shakespeare Week, World Poetry Day, World Storytelling Day

Summer Reading Challenge organised by local library


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