Children will be taught to read fluently and read for pleasure, promoting wider reading both at school and at home. Fluent readers read accurately and quickly, they recognise words and comprehend them simultaneously. Reading fluency and phrasing is critical for reading comprehension.

We teach phonics and early reading through Sounds Write, our validated synthetic systematic scheme. We teach factual knowledge, the alphabet code that children need to remember.  We ensure that children practise and perfect the skills of, blending, segmenting and sound (phonic) manipulation that they need to become fluent readers. Speed and accuracy need to be achieved for all three of the skills, for children to become automatic or fluent. Following that, children can then concentrate solely on understanding and extracting information from the text.

The rationale behind Barlow Hall’s approach to teaching reading is summarised by The Scarborough Rope:

Both decoding (word reading) and comprehension (meaning) are necessary for confident, competent reading. Neither is sufficient on its own.

Teaching Phonics:

Children in reception and KS1 have daily lessons. These will mainly be whole class lessons. Children will have intervention if they are not keeping up with the main lesson. Intervention can vary and include group additional lessons or one to one sessions. Diagnostic assessments are used to identify strengths and gaps so that teaching is effectively addressing need.


Our teaching begins with the sounds in the language and moves from the sounds to the written word. In nursery we build phonemic awareness building children’s ability to identify and manipulate sounds in spoken words, understanding that the sounds of spoken language work together to make words. We teach children knowledge about Concepts about Print (CAPs).

The Initial Code: In reception, our phonics lessons teach children about the initial alphabetic code and the connection between sounds and the written symbols, ‘sound-symbol’ knowledge. We teach children the sounds of the language and how these are written. If you can read it you can spell it. The sounds are taught in an order that allows a large number of words to be read as soon as possible

The extended code is taught at year 1 and year 2 and can start when children are achieving between 75% and 80% accuracy in their initial code knowledge. The majority of children can now blend, segment and manipulate sounds and spellings, although this is still regularly practiced. They know sounds in speech are represented by letters. In the extended code, children are taught that a sound can be represented by more than one spelling and a spelling can represent more than one sound. The sounds are taught in the context of whole words.

Polysyllabic words are longer words with more than one syllable and will be taught when children can segment one syllable words and usually alongside the extended code.

During Key stage 2, the extended code is used to deepen students understanding of  spelling, usually through words that are relevant to the curriculum – these can be taught within sound units to help students make connections and see patterns. Polysyllabic lessons are delivered to teach more complex polysyllabic words. Skills continue to be practised, reinforced and extended into polysyllabic words.

Words in Y3-6 are taught using the Sounds-Write approach to ensure consistency of approach and to ensure familiarity throughout the school.

Through the different lessons (or activity types) of the Extended Code and Polysyllabic Words, students hone their spelling through interleaving, spaced learning, retrieval, repetition and practice to make sure that they achieve mastery in reading and spelling.

Children will learn in an orderly way, from simple to more advanced knowledge. Our lessons build on prior knowledge and link back and forwards to embed knowledge. Or children will be blending, segmenting and manipulating sounds quickly and accurately so they are reading and spelling with fluency.

Children at Barlow Hall enjoy reading. We know this because our children tell us – they talk about things that they have loved learning and compliment these discussions with facts and wider knowledge they have gained because of their own interest in researching and reading beyond the curriculum.

The knowledge and skills the children develop, and the progress they make, is evidenced from the pupil interviews, observations and book looks carried out over the year.