Helping Your Child to Read and Write

At Half Acres Primary Academy, we strive to develop pupils’ love of reading and ensure all of our learners become confident and competent readers by the time they leave the academy in Year 6.

Teaching staff carefully plan a range of activities to ensure the provision we offer in school meets the needs of our learners. With the additional support of parents and carers at home, our pupils are provided will many opportunities to apply the reading and writing skills taught in school at home. With an array of provision to support pupils’ reading and writing in school, we aim that all children become independent readers and authors in their own right.

Phonics Screening Check

The National phonics screening check is a statutory assessment that was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils and is a quick and easy check of a child’s phonic knowledge. All year 1 pupils (with the possible exception) will take the phonics screening check in June each year.

The screening check, which comprises of 20 real words and 20 nonsense (alien) words, identifies children who have phonic decoding skills below the level expected for the end of year 1 and who therefore may need additional help. Children that are working towards the current age related pass mark of 32/40 will be required to re‐take the assessment in year 2.

  • There is a large emphasis on the phonics check in year 1. In addition to daily phonic sessions and to ensure that children are prepared for the check, we provide:
    A Read Write Inc “Alien Word” check and termly mock phonic check – in November, February and April – to track children’s ability to read taught graphemes and alien words with these graphemes and identify individuals/groups that need additional support.
  • A Read Write Inc assessment at the end of each half term to ensure children have made progress and are in a group suited to their ability.
  • An additional afternoon speed sound session in year 1 to teach any gaps in children’s sound knowledge following assessments.
  • Afternoon interventions delivered on a 1:1 basis for children falling below the age related expectations to “keep up” the pace of learning. They are led by a teaching assistant and monitored regularly by the reading leader
  • Regular information to parents e.g. phonics check leaflet, home activities etc
  • Tight tracking by the KS1 leader/phonics lead to ensure that all of the above is in place and an impact is being made through smart action planning
  • Children who still require quality first phonics in KS2 do so in small groups with support from a teaching assistant.


We believe in ensuring that every child is a reader by the time they leave the academy.

Reading experiences across school include shared, guided and independent opportunities. We also encourage regular reading at home. All children from Nursery to Year 6 take home a reading book to read/share with Parents and Carers. Each child has an individual reading record which is regularly updated by home and school. We use a range of books across school, including Read Write Inc phonic matched books, Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby Star and Big Cats.

When a child can read a large range of books with fluency, expression and understanding they will be considered a ‘free reader’ and can choose what they would like to read from a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books.

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and happens daily across the school in the form of guided, shared and independent reading. In addition, every day teachers will also share stories with the class, displaying an enthusiasm for reading and setting a positive example as a reader. Through creating an enjoyment for reading we aim to promote a rich language for writing.

Provision for reading across the academy is of paramount importance and early reading is very high on our agenda.  In EYFS reading is promoted through continuous provision areas.  These cosy, enticing reading areas offer an exciting range of books and activities to all our earliest readers. Every KS1 and KS2 classroom has its own inviting reading area / corner.  Learning environments across school encourage and support reading whether through our library, displays of books across the academy and labels/questions/captions to read or through interactive displays.

A wide range of books, both fiction and non-fiction and covering a wide range of genres, are used in order to provide the children with a wealth of different texts that will develop both reading and writing skills.  These are used across the curriculum and can be delivered in all sessions from whole class to guided groups.


Reading progress will be evident in various forms including:


  • Individual reading records
  • Reading comprehension tasks e.g. book review, reading comprehension activities etc.
  • Medium term and weekly planning to show progressive objectives/targets and next steps
  • Termly assessments
  • Termly progress tracking

All of the above will provide effective feedback, in verbal or written form.

Where expected age-related standards are not being met, children should begin an intervention. It is expected that any children who are underachieving will read daily with an adult as a priority reader.

Classes have access to the school library where children choose books to take home. Designated story times take place daily, and reading for pleasure sessions are built into each week in every class.

How can parents and carers support their child’s learning whilst at home?

Here are some ways parents and carers can help support pupils at home:

  • Talk to your children: by discussing daily events / family / friends, children are exposed to a variety of words – this helps in the development of literacy skills.
  • Read to your children: take time to share a bedtime story, read together – this will build the enjoyment for reading which has huge benefits when pupils are both writing and developing their own comprehension skills.
  • Listen to your child: ask your child to get their school reading books out and share these texts. Again, this promotes the importance of reading at home whilst providing quality time. Children are able to practise their reading skills at home which is very important for making progress in the classroom.
  • Promote writing:  Make stories up with your child; have your child write the shopping lists; ask your child to find a recipe for baking. These small writing opportunities expose children to a range of genres and texts. For young children, use flour / shaving foam / glitter or sand to practise letter formation.
  • Ask questions:  When your child has read to you, ask them the meaning of a word, to retell the story, to predict what could happen next or summarise what they have read. Ask your child why the author has used a certain word / phrase and what effect this has on you as a reader – these skills are paramount for children in the KS1 and KS2 end of year SATs assessments.

Remember, practice makes perfect!