Early Reading (EYFS & Year 1)

At Hillcross we believe that promoting a love of reading is intrinsic to a child’s education, development and happiness.  We work with all children to ensure that this begins with the youngest members of our school community and continues throughout their time in school. As soon as a child joins Hillcross, they are introduced to a literacy rich environment that ensures that we:

  • Foster a love of reading and sharing stories, poems and rhymes to develop vocabulary and comprehension.
  • Develop children's Communication and Language skills to ensure they can listen, attend and understand language.
  • Ensure children are taught early phonics skills through our systematic, synthetic phonics programme.
  • Create opportunities for children to read and reread books that match the phonics stage taught.
  • Provide opportunities within Child Initiated, Adult initiated and Adult directed activities for the children to apply and rehearse early phonics and reading skills in a range of contexts.
  • Effectively use assessment to quickly pick up children falling behind and give targeted support.
  • To offer challenge to the children who are applying and using phonics skills early on in their school journey to ensure we nurture and continue to move children forward to achieve.

Early Reading and Phonics
Early reading and phonics skills are nurtured and developed across the continuous provision, giving children the opportunity to apply their skills in a range of play-based activities and meaningful contexts.  Adults are highly skilled in providing guidance, support and challenge to children as they practice and consolidate these early reading skills. Alongside the continuous provision, the following sessions are planned to ensure children develop strong Communication & Language, Phonics, reading and writing skills, during their time across EYFS and Year 1.

  • Children in Nursery will complete Pre-Phonic skills in school daily, focusing on developing strong communication, language, listening and attention skills in a range of contexts.
  • Children in Reception and Year One will complete daily a phonics session in school, following our Synthetic and systematic phonics programme: Phonics International. 
  • Children in EYFS and Year one will enjoy an end of day story to develop and foster their love for reading. 
  • Weekly Guided Reading will take place in Reception and Year One, completed in a small group each week with a different focus skill. This will begin with using and applying phonic skills to decoding of text, moving onto discussing and applying what has been read through discussions and answering of questions.  

Partnership with Parents
Partnership with parents is key in developing early Reading and Phonics skills.

Nursery children will select high-quality books from the Nursery Lending library weekly to take home and share with their families. Families will receive termly 'Reading skills' cards, to support families in discussing stories and books at home.

In Reception and Year One, parents are kept informed of the weekly phonemes and reading focus via Google classroom with Weekly Phonics & Reading Learning Guides. The Learning Guides give the parents and children the opportunity to review, practice and apply the phonemes they have learnt in activities such as; segmenting and blending, decoding graphemes to read or segmenting words into phonemes to write.  

In the Autumn term of Reception, when the children begin their phonics journey, they will have a daily phonics activity to be completed at home, which will be sent home in a ‘Phonics Book’. This allows parents and children to consolidate the days learning and familiarise themselves with our Phonics International Alphabetic Code. Differentiation is offered to support and challenge across the term.

Reading Materials 
Throughout Reception and Year One the children will develop their fluency in using their phonic knowledge to decode words confidently for reading. The weekly learning guides will highlight the reading skills of the week and will be accompanied by 2 reading materials for the children to read at home:

  1. A Phonics international story, that is fully decodable. This will be linked to the phonemes being taught and or the Phonics unit the child/ren are working within. This text will be accompanied by questions that parents can ask in order to develop an understanding of what is read, as well as inference and deduction skills.
  2. A banded reading book, which offers some challenge to the reader. Our books are linked to the Phonics International Unit in the early stages of reading; Unit 1, Unit 2a and Unit 2b. Once the children are become confident in using and applying their phonics skills in reading and are secure in Unit 3 of Phonics International, they will then move onto colour banded books from Yellow level up. 

Our strong and effective progression of skills document for phonics has enabled all children to make progress over their time in EYFS and Year One, developing confident readers and writers.

Hillcross Primary School, Ashridge Way, Morden, Surrey, SM4 4EE

020 8542 6936