It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing)
3 and 4-year-olds will be learning to:
- Understand the five key concepts about print:
- print has meaning
- print can have different purposes-
- we read English text from left to right and from top to bottom
- the names of the different parts of a book
- page sequencing
- Develop their phonological awareness, so that they can:
- spot and suggest rhymes
- count or clap syllables in a word
- recognise words with the same initial sound, such as money and mother
- Engage in extended conversations about stories, learning new vocabulary.
- Use some of their print and letter knowledge in their early writing. For example: writing a pretend shopping list that starts at the top of the page; writing ‘m’ for mummy.
- Write some or all of their name.
- Write some letters accurately.
Children in reception will be learning to:
- Read individual letters by saying the sounds for them.
- Blend sounds into words, so that they can read short words made up of known letter– sound correspondences.
- Read some letter groups that each represent one sound and say sounds for them.
- Read a few common exception words matched to the school’s phonic programme.
- Read simple phrases and sentences made up of words with known letter–sound correspondences and, where necessary, a few exception words.
- Re-read these books to build up their confidence in word reading, their fluency and their understanding and enjoyment.
- Form lower-case and capital letters correctly.
- Spell words by identifying the sounds and then writing the sound with letter/s.
- Write short sentences with words with known sound-letter correspondences using a capital letter and full stop.
- Re-read what they have written to check that it makes sense.
Literacy Early Learning Goals:
Children at the expected level of development will:
- Demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary;
- Anticipate – where appropriate – key events in stories;
- Use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems and during role-play.
Word Reading ELG
Children at the expected level of development will:
- Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs;
- Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending;
- Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words.
Children at the expected level of development will:
- Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed;
- Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters;
- Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.
EYFS Phonics and
At NCS we believe that it is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. We understand that reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. To develop language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) we regularly talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read. We also enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together.
In Nursery children develop their phonological awareness through taking part in adult-led activities which promote listening skills. We also use Phase 1 of the Supersonic Phonic Friends scheme, which is the phonics scheme used in Reception and Key Stage 1. Through these activities pupils develop their auditory discrimination, and auditory memory. Activities to progress children’s phonological awareness and interest in sounds are embedded prior to the introduction of systematic phonics teaching in Reception.
In Reception phonics is taught using the Supersonic Phonic Friends programme. This programme is a fully systematic, synthetic phonic approach ranging from the simple to the complex spellings of the alphabetic code. Supported by their Supersonic Phonic friends, this approach will ensure children develop confidence and apply each skill to their own reading and writing. Supersonic Phonic Friends is a Department for Education validated systematic, synthetic phonic programme.
Children will hear stories from the EYFS 'Core book' list read fluently and without interruption daily. These texts will be read repeatedly throughout the year to support the development of vocabulary, language structures and foster a passion for reading.
In Reception the children also get to choose another book to read during the day as a class by using a democratic voting system.
Communication and Language
Communication and Language is at the heart of our curriculum. We are committed to engaging our children with stories and rhymes from a very young age. Early language development is established through daily stories and rhymes. Children will experience quality reading, story time, rhyme, talk and play on a daily basis. This is carefully planned within our sessions and continuous provision.
We have a selection of story sacks which enhance the story telling experience and allow the children props to be able to retell the story.
We use Poetry Basket in both Nursery and Reception to enhance our children's love of words and poems and the children learn at least three core poems a term. The children engage in the words and the actions from the poems.
Reading at NCS
At NCS children will learn to read with confidence, fluency and understanding, providing them with the skills required to achieve a lifetime of enjoyment through reading. Children read in school independently, with peers and as a shared class session.
During the Early Years, many activities take place which promote pre-reading skills. Children become aware of print in their environment and match pictures and words. Language comprehension is developed by talking and reading to the children. As children gain phonics knowledge they start the process of decoding.
Initially, as children learn to read, they are given a picture book without words, with the intention that they will share the book and take part in a conversation generated by the pictures. Gradually, as the child’s knowledge of letters and sounds develop they begin to phonetically decode words.
VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the six reading domains as part of the UK's reading curriculum. They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts. VIPERS stands for:
Find and explain the meaning of words in context.
Make and justify interpretations about characters and events using evidence from the text.
Predict what might happen from the details given and implied in a text.
Explain preferences, thoughts and opinions about a text.
Identify and explain how information and narrative content is related and contributes to the meaning as a whole. Identify and explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrases.
Make comparisons within the text.
Retrieve and record key information and details from fiction and non-fiction texts.
Order the key events of a story in the correct sequence.
At NCS we use the concept of VIPERS in Nursery, Reception and KS1 to help the children to understand how stories are structured and to start to be able to retrieve key information from what they have read or listened to. We focus on these aspects in their literacy sessions as well as when we read stories in carpet time and in 1-1 reading or guided reading sessions.
This enables the children to build stronger skills for book comprehension and these are built on from Nursery up throughout school.
EYFS Reading scheme
In Nursery, for the children who are due to move up to Reception in the next year, we start to introduce wordless reading books. These will be read one-to-one with a member of the teaching team. This will help the children to start to be able to understand the structure of a story, make up their own narrative using the pictures and practice holding the book the correct way and turning pages.
In Reception, children will start to take home books that match the phonics level they are learning in school. The books that the children take home match their secure phonics knowledge so that when they take their books home they can celebrate their learning with confidence. Home reading is very much about children showing off their decoding skills to their family, so the children should be able to read these books with ease after a couple of attempts.
We send home 2 books each week. The children should practise reading and rereading throughout the week. These are then read with teaching staff during the week and changed when the child is confident in both their reading and their comprehension of the books.
Children in Reception should be reading at least 4 times a week and if they achieve this, they are awarded a reading award in the Friday Stay and Play celebrations.
We use a variety of different reading schemes that are all organised into phonics phases based on the content of the books. We have carefully chosen the different schemes to enable the children to have a variety and breadth in their reading experiences.
How you can help your child at home with reading.
Daily reading practice will help develop children’s decoding and comprehension skills, although it is not expected that they will read a whole book every night. Children may only read three or four pages, but will spend longer discussing their understanding of what they have read in order to progress in developing their comprehension skills.
We would encourage children to read a variety of texts on a regular basis, even taking opportunities to note and read texts in their environment such as road signs, leaflets, information posters, newspapers etc. Please feel free to share these experiences in their home reading record and encourage them to share their opinions about the texts they have read.
Top tips for reading with your child.
1) Choose a quiet time
Set aside a quiet time with no distractions. 10 to 15 minutes is usually long enough.
2) Make reading enjoyable
Make reading an enjoyable experience. Sit with your child. Try not to pressure them if they are reluctant. If your child loses interest, then do something else.
3) Maintain the flow
If your child mispronounces a word do not interrupt immediately. Allow your child to self-correct, using their phonics skills. You can always discuss mispronounced words at the end of your reading time.
4) Success is key
Until your child has built up their confidence, it is better to keep to easier books. Struggling with a book with many unknown words is pointless because the flow is lost, the text cannot be understood, and children can easily become reluctant readers.
5) Visit the library
Encourage your child to use the public library regularly. In Reception we take all children to the library to set up an account (if they do not have one already), which they can then use with their family. The library is a rich resource for all aspects of reading.
6) Regular practice
Try to read with your child every day, but at least 4 times a week. Little and often is best.
7) Communicate with school
Your child has a reading record book and we would love to hear the children’s opinions of the texts they read and their progress.
8) Talk about their books
There is more to being a good reader than just being able to read the words accurately. Being able to understand what has been read is just as important. Always talk to your child about the book; about the pictures, the characters, how they think the story will end, their favourite part. You will then be able to see how well they have understood and you will help them to develop good comprehension skills.
9) Variety is important
Remember that children need to experience a variety of reading materials e.g. picture books, hardbacks, comics, magazines, poems, recipes, instructions and information books. Lots of these can also be found at the library.
The stages of reading with your child at home
Phonics play bags
In Nursery, Reception and into Year One we support children to develop their phonics skills at home by sending home Phonics Play Bags. The bags contain fun activities to complete with their family based around the fundamentals of the phase of phonics they are currently looking at in school. In Nursery this is phase 1, and provides lots of games which promote listening skills. In Reception we send home Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 play bags depending on the needs of the child, then in Year One we can send home play bags to support those children who may need a little boost in one of the particular phases.
In school we use the play bags as part of our ongoing intervention programme to help children to revisit and consolidate key phonics skills and knowledge.
Speech & Language
For some children, support with their speech and language may be needed. If you have any concerns about this please speak to the class teacher.
For more information please have a look at the following factsheets:
Updated August 2023