Park Lane Primary

How We Teach Reading

On this page you will find information about the approach taken at Park Lane Primary School to teach Reading:


For tips, click on the link below:

Book Talk

We ensure the key strategies of using the meaning, structure and visual representation of language are fundamental to our approach to reading.

We prioritise learning through phonics in EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and KS1 (Key Stage 1) through discrete phonics sessions using the Revised Letters and Sounds (Little Wandle). 

Letters and Sounds Revised provides us with games and resources to support our teaching of phonics. It aims to build pupils’ speaking and listening skills, as well as prepare pupils to learn to read, by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed programme for teaching phonic skills, with the aim of pupils becoming fluent readers by age seven. Children are given opportunities to apply these in context to reading and writing throughout the day. 

Phonics involves:


To say the individual sounds that make up a word and blend them together to hear the whole word for reading e.g. s-a-t becomes sat. We say you blend to read and segment (see below) to spell.


To write or spell a word by listening for the sounds in the word and deciding which letters represent those sounds.

We say you blend to read and segment to spell.

So, for example, with ‘dog’, children learn the sounds the letters d,o, and g make separately and then how they blend to say ‘dog’.

Note that it’s the sounds the letters make that are important at this stage and not the letter names (i.e. not ‘ay’, ‘bee’ as in the alphabet song etc).

Sight Vocabulary

Across the school we also teach sight vocabulary sometimes known as high frequency words. These are words you need to learn by sight because they cannot be easily sounded out. These are sent home as ‘Word Tree Words’ and include words such as the, said, some.

Ways you can support your child at home

  • Play a game – hunt the word – hide words in sand or flour or around your room, set a timer, hold up the word that you want them to hunt for, and ‘go’! Repeat the word and encourage them to say –‘I am looking for the word ‘the’.
  • Play ‘Pairs’, turning over two words at a time trying to find a matching pair. This is especially helpful with the tricky words: the the, to to,  no no,  go go,  I I
  • Write the word twice. Cut one word up and muddle the letters. Put them back to read the word again.
  • Make up actions for words to act as a memory aid.
  • Use magnetic letters to copy and re-make a work.

In Foundation Stage reading skills are taught using a wide range of reading materials.

Children are taught how to handle books and can routinely access big books and story sacks as part of the daily provision. Children learn that all print carries meaning and begin to develop an understanding of story structure and characters through adults sharing and discussing books. Children are given opportunities for individual reading with an adult as well as shared, group and guided reading.

Throughout KS1, pupils are provided with a range of fiction and non-fiction books which are regularly changed to aid progression with their reading. These books are all colour banded and closely mathced to the phonics learning and level.

Reading is taught at Park Lane in the following ways:

Whole Class Reading

Whole class reading incorporates the strategies of modelled expressive reading, echo reading, repeated re-reading, skilled questioning, challenging text selection and modelling comprehension skills. It develops a focus on skills such as vocabulary knowledge in context, inference, prediction, explaination, retrieval and summarising.

Guided reading

About 6 children, grouped by reading ability, read aloud from the same book at the same time whilst the teacher listens in and draws out teaching points. The level of this text is more challenging to enable direct teaching opporunites.

Individual Reading

Reading 1:1, alone, with a staff member or with a partner. This helps to develop our reading stamina and fluency.

Shared reading

A teacher reads and discusses a text with the whole class, demonstrating how to be a good reader.

Story time

The teacher reads aloud to the whole class.

In addition to class based reading, children can also develop their enjoyment for reading throughout school. They have the opportunity to access the school library to choose from a wider range of books and on a termly basis parents are invited into school to share in reading opportunities with their child.

Parent workshops run in Foundation Stage and Year 1 to support parents understanding of their child’s development of reading and writing. See the below information about Reading at Home.

Above all, Park Lane strive to give children a well-rounded education in reading that enables children to be lifelong learners.

A fantastic resource for parents which breaks down reading into age bands, explains all the terminology and provides on line books for reading is Oxford Owl. We would highly recommend the site for further information. Click here to be taken to their homepage.

For more ideas, tips and activities on reading visit

Read at Home/Take Home

Reading books are sent home from school for your child to read to you.

These may be from a reading series so your child can practise early reading skills or from the library so you can share and discuss. Books which are sent home are to celebrate achievement and for your child to see themselves as a successful reader, as books that are too difficult will not accelerate reading progress – in fact these may turn emergent readers into reluctant readers. We ask that parents sign their child’s reading record before your child changes their reading book and sometimes children are asked to re-read books to ensure fluency and understanding.

A common problem- children appear to read the book easily, but all they have done is decoded the words.

Comprehension is absolutely key.

Even if your son or daughter can ‘decode’ the words on a page and read them out loud, it doesn’t mean they’ll truly take in what’s going on. If they don’t understand the story, then they will struggle to enjoy reading and as the text becomes longer and more difficult as their word attack skills improve they won’t have embedded the early skills of comprehension so reading will not be for meaning.

To help with this, make sure you don’t just listen to your child read – ask them some questions about the book too and make observations yourself. Make up your own versions of what could happen next in a story you are sharing. Talk about what the author decided. What else could have happened? What did you notice about..?

Some of the school reading scheme books have comprehension questions inside the front and back cover.

If your child appears very unenthusiastic about reading – how can you get them interested in books?

According to Julie Bowtell, it’s about engendering a love of books and stories.

Parents could aim to provide bedtime stories, have story CDs in the car, DVDs of classic tales, to make regular visits to the local library.

She adds:

Parents being role models as absorbed and intent readers can demonstrate to children the power and pleasure of reading.

Clare Bolton from the National Literacy Trust suggests that it’s not just books that will help your child learn to read:

Don’t just read books. Encourage him or her to read newspapers, TV guides, comics, cookery books and magazines too. They are all valid forms of literature. Even reading the back of the cereal packet or signs in shops is decent practice.

One tactic that parents have reported has some success and is worth trying if you have the time, is to write a few simple stories ‘starring’ your child and/ or on a subject close to their heart. If he’s a train enthusiast, write a little tale of them him a train somewhere using appropriately simple language. It doesn’t need to be the next prize-winning novel – just 10 sentences. You could even ask him to illustrate it for you with some pictures of his own.

Strategies for reading with your child

  • When your child has a new book to read – let them flick through it, read the blurb and get a general idea from the pictures to support the meaning.
  • Talk about what may happen.
  • Ask these sorts of questions as you go, how is ** feeling? Would you act the same way as **? Why do you think that happened?
  • You need to teach the obvious, explicitly saying, ‘That’s a full stop so pause and take a breath’.

In child friendly language, draw children’s attention to the fact they can use 3 sources of information:

  • Meaning – using knowledge about the world, about the story and picture information
  • Structure – using knowledge of language patterns and book language (unusual, huff, puff)
  • Visual – phonics/word shape/print/visual information

3 simple questions:

  • Does that make sense?
  • Does that sound right?
  • Does that look right?

Don’t get stuck on one question. Likewise, a child who is struggling to learn to read is often only using a limited number of ways to interpret the text.

When you want your child to use more than one source of information.

Praise the partially correct response and prompt for the partially wrong response:

Child: SHIP

Text: BOAT

“Yes, ship makes sense, but does it look like ship?”


Text: RAN

“Yes, that makes sense, but does it sound right?”

If the child makes no response:

Encourage the use of the 3 cues e.g.

  • Try that again and think what would make sense?
  • Try that again and think what would sound right?
  • Do you know a word that starts like that?

When you want the child to self-monitor:

Prompt to help him/her notice the errors for him/herself, e.g.

  • Were you right?
  • Check it. Does it look right and sound right?
  • You made a mistake on that page (sentence). Can you find it?

Julie Bowtell, Senior Lecturer in Primary English at the University of Hertfordshire, advises:

It’s vitally important to give children some thinking time if they get stuck on a word. Don’t jump in too quickly. Obviously you don’t want your child to struggle but sometimes adults don’t allow enough time for the child to use their problem solving skills.

Do help them after a little while though, especially if they start to look frustrated! Remember to help them sound out the word rather than just reading it for them.

Please speak to your child’s class teacher directly if you have any questions or concerns.