Reading & Phonics


We believe that reading is a crucial life skill and therefore encourage our children to read for both pleasure and purpose from an early age. To encourage a positive start to every child's reading journey, we promote active engagement from parents during our induction sessions in the summer term. This allows parents to become familiar with our approach to teaching phonics and gain an understanding of how they can support their children to become fluent readers and writers over time.

As speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects, we place a strong focus on language development as soon as the children join us in Reception. We also start teaching phonics  following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression. This ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. 

  • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy. 
  • Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy. 

Information about our phonic progression and correct articulation of the sounds can be found here. 

We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources.   

If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.  



We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These sessions use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids. Reading is monitored by the class teacher on a regular basis. 

Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills: 

  • decoding 
  • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression 
  • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.  

Home reading

The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children. We share the research behind the importance and impact of sharing quality children’s books with parents through workshops, leaflets and the Everybody read!

We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.

Guided Reading

In Year 2, children continue to follow a similar daily structure to the Little Wandle approach, with a focus on applying the appropriate age related knowledge and skills. Children continue to have regular reading sessions three times per week, working on objectives within the KS1 national curriculum. Reading comprehension activities may also be sent as homework and will be followed up in school during reading sessions.

Children select books from a carefully graded collection, matched to their reading ability. Although a range of reading schemes are available alongside different well known authors, initially children will follow texts from Big Cat Collins and Rigby Star. Through shared reading they are also able to enjoy and experience more challenging texts. 

Key Stage Two

In KS2 children select reading books from our lending library. Many collections are carefully graded for reading ability and the children are guided to the appropriate areas to select from. For some children, guided reading sessions will continue as a small group to reinforce key skills and application. These will be in additon to whole class reading sessions. Selected children in Year 3 and Year 4 may attend daily phonics sessions as required.

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Bentley School's Christian Ethos

"Know that I am with you always," Matthew 28:20 We encourage the spiritual, social, moral and cultural development of the school family by embedding Christian values into everyday life. Our vision is for all children to be confident individuals, successful learners and responsible citizens who are well equipped for future life, knowing that God is with them always.