Reading in School

At Fairfield and Colneis your child’s reading experience in school is not simply the reading book which comes home. Reading is happening all the time in the classroom. It is taught in literacy lessons, but children are also practising and using their ‘reading’ constantly. They are reading instructions, maths language, information books, topics and signs, displays, registers, charts, games, etc. They’re reading on computer, TV and interactive whiteboard screens too.


Fairfield teaches phonics (letter sounds), using the systematic synthetic phonics approach outlined in the Department for Education phonics scheme, ‘Letters and Sounds. Learning begins in Nursery and is built upon throughout Reception and Years 1 and 2.

During their time at Fairfield, the children:

  • are first introduced to the idea of sounds around us, then
  • begin to match letter sounds to letters
  • learn to blend letter combinations together to make words
  • learn to read on sight the more common words that cannot be broken down and deciphered using their phonic skills

During their time at Colneis, they continue to develop their understanding of phonics and spelling patterns.

Reading books

The children are first introduced to simple, one sentence a page ‘reading’ books. The books might be poetry, story or information books which allow them to practise the skills they are developing. As they grow in confidence, the books begin to have more complex sentences and a greater variety of vocabulary.

The main reading scheme we use at Fairfield is the Oxford Reading Tree. However, we strongly believe that it is essential that children read a variety of different types of books and we encourage them and their parents to also choose additional supplementary books from a range of other reading schemes every week. These books have been levelled and matched to the different stages of progression in the Oxford Reading Tree scheme.

Once they are confident readers, the children further develop their interests and enjoyment of reading by choosing from a selection of simple ‘chapter’ books and age appropriate information books before ultimately moving on to even more complex texts as their skills develop.

Throughout this time, children are encouraged to enjoy sharing with their parents as many books and different types of texts as possible, not only to help them develop a love of reading, but also to begin to appreciate it as an essential skill and part of everyday life.

Reading skills

Reading is much more than just being able to read words. It is essential that children also read with understanding. As part of the teaching of reading skills at Fairfield and Colneis, staff work on developing the children’s knowledge of the different text types and the varying ways in which information can be presented in books and other publications. Children are also encouraged to think about different authors, the style of books they write, their choices of vocabulary to involve the reader and how they build a story or write a poem.

When developing research skills, children are asked to consider which texts and alternative sources are likely to best provide the information they need and to choose the most appropriate. They are taught how to ‘skim read’, pick out key words and information from a piece of text, interpret diagrams and graphs, answer questions and take notes.

At Fairfield we use The Totally Pawsome Gang to encourage deeper thinking, understanding and their inference and deduction skills.

A child’s ‘reading journey’ begins with ‘learning to read’ and quickly moves on into ‘reading to learn’. We all know that to be able to read fluently, with understanding, is a crucial life skill. We continually use it to make sense of the world around us and to access and share information in the workplace. For some it is also a relaxation and a lifelong pleasure!

For further help in making sense of the different terminology, understanding how reading is taught and advice on how you can help your child become a successful reader, please open the links below.

Help your child develop the reading skills needed up to Year 6 and beyond

Oxford Owl – help your child’s reading
Reading Tips – 10 tips on hearing your child read – when they are just starting
Letter Sounds – help your child sound out letters correctly