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StamfordhamPrimary School

‘Learning, Caring and Achieving Together’
‘Learning, Caring and Achieving Together’

Early Reading and Phonics


At Stamfordham, we follow the Read Write Inc.(RWI) Phonics Programme, which is a well-established, DfE-validated systematic synthetic phonics programme designed to ensure that children learn to read early. We have a particular focus on reading as we believe this is the gateway to accessing the whole school curriculum and being successful in life. Learning to read is taught during daily, timetabled RWI phonics lessons.



Phonological Awareness and Phonics

Our Preschool, deliver daily timetabled Phonics sessions in which children engage in a range of phonological awareness activities. Preschool and Reception also have a key focus on developing speech and language skills in addition to our RWI programme. This lays the foundations for children to begin to learn to read in the final term of preschool before they join Reception and the learning to read journey continues until children are confident, fluent readers, usually by the second or final term in Year 2. All children who are not fluent readers by the end of KS1 continue with the Read, Write, Inc programme until fluency is achieved, regardless of their age. All staff who teach phonics complete the RWI phonics training programme to ensure they can deliver high quality phonics sessions.


Reading Books

We provide RWI reading books which are closely matched to each child’s reading level; this means that children only read words that include the sounds they have learnt. Regular small group and one to one tutoring sessions are used to support any children at risk of falling behind to make good progress.



Teachers and Teaching Assistants listen to all children read in school at least once a week. Younger children and those at risk of falling behind read to staff more regularly; for some children this will be daily. Class teachers regularly check that children are reading books that are appropriate to their reading age and phonics stage. Research (EEF, Why Focus on Reading Fluency?, 2022) shows that reading regularly increases fluency, so we encourage parents and carers to read regularly with their child at home. Children are only expected to read words which include sounds they have been taught.


Parent Partnership

We provide Phonics Workshops and resources for all Reception parents to introduce them to our RWI programme and help them to understand how best to support their children with reading at home.



We recognise that early intervention is the key to ensuring that all children make rapid progress. We aim to ensure that all children keep up, by providing one to one or small group phonics sessions for any children who are at risk of falling behind.




We use the Read, Write, Inc assessments to track children's phonics progress every 6-8 weeks.  This allows us to quickly identify any children who need additional support / intervention.  Our Year 1 phonics screening pass rate for 2022-23 is 86% (75% achieved this nationally in 2022).


SEND and struggling readers

We provide an ambitious phonics curriculum so that all children, including those with special educational needs can make good progress with learning to read from their individual starting points. A range of additional support is offered, including pre-teaching if required, tutoring, small group work and RWI 'pinny' time. Additional resources such as RWI sound cards, duo-coloured reading rulers, fidget toys and quiet places to work are also used to support children to be successful. Older children who are not yet fluent readers continue to access Read, Write, Inc in small groups or one to one so that their specific needs can be accurately met. This process is reviewed regularly to ensure good progress is being made.


Cultural Capital and Developing a Love of Reading

At Stamfordham, we provide a range of additional opportunities for children to engage with books and reading.  We subscribe to the Schools Library Service to ensure that the books available in school are current and matched to both the children’s interests and each unit of work being studied.  We have worked closely with the Library Service to make our library an inviting space, where our Year 6 librarians can help to inspire younger children to develop their love of reading. The Class 4 children regularly visit Early Years to share books with the youngest children in school. Staff share books daily with all classes through 'DEAR' (Drop Everything And Read) time and model reading with fluency and expression.  Some of the additional activities we have offered in the last school year to further promote reading enjoyment are:

  • Class sets of core reading books 
  • World Book Day – dressing up as book characters and taking part in book day themed activities.
  • Author Visits - Adam Bushnell
  • Parents/carers invited into Early Years to read books to the children
  • Book recommendations around school
  • National Poetry Day
  • Nursery Rhyme Week
  • Fiction libraries in every classroom
  • Class visits to our library with Year 6 librarians
  • Book Fair
  • Visit to Hexham Book Festival storytelling events
  • Topic-themed books and story boxes from the library service provide additional reading books and props for children to explore