*English - Early Reading

‘Aspiring to achieve, determined to succeed’

The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.


At Sandy Hill, our aims for reading are to ensure that all pupils:


  • read easily, 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

  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage


Early Reading at Sandy Hill Academy

Enjoying books and reading stories from a very early age is crucial in the development of children. It helps with their ability to understand words, use their imagination and develop their speech, as well as being something they really enjoy.  During their time in Reception, children will be immersed into an environment enriched by the love of reading with a wide range of books which enhance and support the topics being taught or just to read for the pure enjoyment and fun. 

At Sandy Hill Academy, we have developed our own reading scheme  which is systematic and effective. This leaflet explains the process of our system and how you can support at home. We thank you in advance for your support with engaging your child with reading, fostering a love of reading and developing their independence and foundations of becoming a competent reader. 

Daily Taught Phonics Session

Each day your child will be taught ‘phonics’. This is a fun, practical and interactive session that is teaching reading and writing.  Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that  children should be taught in helping them to read.  Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to read words and to spell words using the corresponding graphemes (the written  corresponding sound) .  The children will then progress onto digraphs and trigraphs: sounds made  up of two letters such as; ch, sh, th.  Our reading system is supportive of our phonic teaching. Following guidance from OFSTED, we have made some changes to the way we will be developing reading at home and at school.

Each day in your child’s Phonic lesson they will be introduced to a new phoneme which they will then be encouraged to recognise and use in their reading and writing. In line with recent guidance your child will be bringing home reading books and word sets that contain these graphemes to ensure that this new learning becomes fully embedded. The new reading system will be as follows:

Monday: New reading book and a set of words sent home linked to the week’s Phonic sounds.

Wednesday: New reading book sent home linked to the week’s Phonic sounds

Friday: Your child will bring home two reading books. One may be the same reading book as on Monday (this is to develop fluency, word recognition and comprehension skills) plus a reading book from our previous reading scheme.

In due course your child will also have access to a range of books from Oxford Reading Buddy (an online library of books matched to the child’s reading ability). This will also develop their love of reading and the opportunity to experience a wide range of texts.


In Nursery our early reading learning journey begins by sharing stories together and participating in our daily phonics sessions. Children in Nursery are taught Phonics through activities that involve listening and attention, focusing on their ability to distinguish different sounds. These basic skills are vital to enable the children to progress onto more structured Phonics learning in Reception. 
"I can hear birds in the trees." Nursery child, aged 3.
"Phonics helps us learn to read and write." Nursery child, aged 4.
One of our parents is an Author and illustrator. She kindly donated her book to the class. It is proudly up on display and the children enjoy reading it time and time again. We treasure books and reading in Reception and we help to develop and foster the love and appreciation of reading. Over the year we read a wealth of books and they are the stimulus for our learning. 
"My mummy is an Author, she wrote a book for me!" Reception, age 4. 
"I read every day. I love reading the books in the library." Reception, age 5. 
Year 1
Year 2
In Year 2 we have been developing a love of reading. We created art based on the book 'The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse' by Charlie Mackesy and we read about plastic pollution as part of our Geography topic. We were donated a book by an author and enjoyed sharing it in class.
Around the school interactive displays contain fiction and non-fiction texts to support the wider curriculum. In the early years story sacks are available to use to enhance story telling. The Early Years have their own library separate to the main school's library. The children have the opportunity to read their favourite books in this relaxing space. Children will have the opportunity from January to visit the library each week and select a book to take home and share with their family. 
Useful websites for Pupils and Parents/Carers

Sandy Hill Academy
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