Reading at Highcliffe

‘Our aim at Highcliffe is for all children to be readers and to enjoy reading.’


At Highcliffe we teach phonics through Sounds-Write which is a systematic synthetic phonics programme.  Sounds-Write teaches Conceptual Knowledge and Skills through Initial Code and Extended Code. 

Conceptual Knowledge teaches that:

·       Letters are symbols or spellings that represent sounds.

·       A sound may be spelled by 1, 2, 3 or 4 letters.

·       The same sound can be spelled in more than one way.

·       Many spellings can represent more than one sound.

Skills taught are:

1.     Blending – the ability to push sounds together to build words.

2.     Segmenting – the ability to pull apart the individual sounds in words.

3.     Phoneme manipulation – the ability to insert sounds into and delete sounds out of words.  This skill is necessary to test our alternatives for spellings that represent more than one sound.

Sounds-Write is multi-sensory, it teaches children to discriminate the exact shapes of letters by looking at them, copying them and saying the precise sounds that they represent in speech. Children are using touch, sight, sound and speech and through this are learning that there is a direct connection between what they see and what they hear.  Lessons follow a systematic clear structure, use a concise consistent language and consolidate learning with plenty of rehearsal and repetition.  The skills of blending, segmenting and phoneme manipulation are constantly practised.  

Sounds-Write is taught daily from Nursery to Year 3.  Children who are working below expectations are also taught Sounds-Write interventions 4 or 5 times a week in order to close the gap.


Promoting a love of reading

Class authors - every year each class chooses and adopts a class author.  Books by that author are read regularly.

Book and Breakfast – every Friday children and parents are invited into school for breakfast and then to share a book, or two, with their child.

Book Swap – Highcliffe offer a book swap in which children can bring a book they no longer want and swap it for a ‘new to them’ book.

Home Reading Books

From Reception to Year 3 children take home two books, one book is for them to read to an adult. These books are carefully selected and are closely matched to the Code and Unit that they are working on and the sounds that they already know.  We use Sounds-Write and Dandelion Phonically Decodable Reading Books so that children can use and apply their phonics knowledge.  When children are reading independently, accurately and with some fluency they begin to choose from Book Banded book boxes. The second book that children take home is for sharing and for an adult to read to them. Both books are changed twice a week and we ask parents to listen to their child read the book three times to encourage fluency and understanding.

Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1

Children in Foundation Stage (in the summer term) and Key Stage 1 read with an adult in regular Guided Reading sessions. Sets of phonically decodable reading books are available for guided reading sessions in addition to sets of other fiction and non-fiction books. Comprehension is taught weekly and Reciprocal Reading techniques are used in reading activities across the curriculum. 

Talk Through Stories

Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 teach Talk Through Stories daily. Talk Through Stories uses high quality texts and encourages both enjoyment and understanding of stories.  It also develops, increases and explains vocabulary to foster a love of words.   It is planned specifically and systematically.  Talk Through Stories helps children love the story first and, when they know it well, teaches them to use the vocabulary from the story in everyday contexts.

KS2 - Whole Class Reading

KS2 children access daily phonics or spelling sessions and are set according to ability across year groups or their phase.

Reading is taught to the whole class, with:

·       Regular sessions each week

·       Use of novels/books used as much as possible

·       Longer, independent reading sessions to build stamina – building up to fifteen minutes in UKS2;

·       Activities planned around explicit curriculum objectives – to inform accurate assessment

·       Activities to include: find and copy; order statements; match statements; explain meaning, as well as straight comprehension questions

·       Activities to include materials from ‘Moving Beyond Comprehension Sheets’


Programme of study link:

Highcliffe Primary School

Hutton Lane, Guisborough. TS14 8AA