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Wheatley CE Primary School and Acorns Nursery
Together we Thrive

Home Page

Wheatley CE Primary School and Acorns Nursery
Together we Thrive

Phonics and Reading

Reading at Wheatley

At Wheatley, we see reading as a key enabler for learning. Research evidence shows that children who learn to read fluently and with understanding are at an advantage when it comes to future learning. Therefore, our reading curriculum is based on the following intent and principles:


Reading Intent and Principles

Implementation: The Teaching of Reading


Early Reading and Phonics

Starting with sharing books at every opportunity, Nursery and Early Years begin teaching phonics skills through Rocket Phonics, which continues into KS1, and additional practise into KS2.  Reading Planet Rocket Phonics is a DfE validated SSP programme aligned to Letters and Sounds 2007. Its value is to help every child to keep up and not catch-up. It is a programme that has a steady pace, progression and on going assessment, whole-class teaching and consistent daily phonics practise, as well as reading and writing to gradually build children’s confidence. All staff are trained in the Rocket Phonics systematic approach and regular training ensures consistency in its teaching. It is taught through original illustrated stories and decodable books, to develop phonics skills and a love of reading, alongside application in writing. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right along with preparing them for learning to read by developing phonic knowledge and skills, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.


We have regular parent workshops, phonics tea parties and reading open afternoons to support our parents in helping their children to practise their reading, as well as Rocket Phonics decodable books and e-books being sent home every week. We prioritise reading in our homework and send reading packs and weekly messages about our learning home in KS1, with additional phonics practise, decodable books, reading raffle prizes, book competitions, book advents and dojo points for reading awarded across the school. Children also go our spacious library every week, browse and chose books to take back to the classroom or home to read/share with adults.



Educational research points to the crucial importance of direct instruction in phonics for developing pupils’ reading ability. In early literacy, a varied approach is required so at Wheatley we include activities that aim to develop letter knowledge and early phonics, storytelling and reading to the group. This builds children’s skills to begin their journey to becoming fluent independent readers. To support readers, we use small steps in precision teaching, small phonics booster groups, sound flashcards at every opportunity and a whole school reading intervention programme, My Lexia, to enable some children to 'keep up not catch up'.

A Parent Guide to Rocket Phonics

For resources to support your child at home with Rocket Phonics, please see the class pages or talk to your child's teacher.

Beyond Phonics: Developing Reading for Understanding

Once children have grasped the basics of reading through our systematic synthetic phonics teaching, we focus on ensuring they have the skills required to promote a lifelong interest in reading. Real reading is about more than decoding words on a page and requires varied skills of phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. 


A Quality Text Curriculum

We work from quality texts that are pre chosen to enable the children to experience a range of  reading and writing genres. These genres are based on four key elements; to entertain, to inform, to discuss and to persuade.

  • Our texts are chosen, in line with the Government's 'Reading Framework', from book spines, recommended lists and in conjunction with the teachers and topics covered.
  • They must be engaging, inspirational, varied and and have a rich vocabulary. The text curriculum includes both modern and traditional texts, a range of fiction and non fiction, poetry and Shakespeare across KS2. 
  • The two year cycle is reviewed regularly and supplementary texts added to keep our curriculum current and diverse. 
  • A range of genres are decided upon to be covered in a two year cycle across the year groups. 
  • We use our quality texts, to explore story, illustrations, vocabulary and characters, to have book talk and have in depth discussions to promote the love of texts and reading itself. 


Children in Key Stage 1 and 2 have daily whole class reading sessions where these skills are taught using a range of strategies.


Quality Text Map Year A



Quality Text Map Year B


Reading VIPERS is a range of prompts based on the reading content domains found in the National Curriculum test framework documents. Teachers integrate explicit teaching of these skills in to each of their daily reading sessions.


V: Vocabulary

I: Infer

P: Predict

E: Explain

R: Retrieve

S: Sequence in KS1 Summarise in KS2


To find out more about each of the VIPERS skills, please click on the document below.

Reading for Pleasure

At Wheatley, reading is about much more than teaching children skills for future academic learning. We carefully consider the strategies that will encourage children to read for pleasure and experience, rather than 'because they have to'. 

A reading child is, quite simply, a successful child. When you read often and with enthusiasm, you lay the foundations that last for life. You empathise and access information more easily. Almost by osmosis you internalise the essential skills of spelling, grammar and vocabulary. You learn to express yourself verbally and in writing. You learn to interpret and potentially change your world.

Click the links below to:

  • Find out more about how we promote reading for pleasure at Wheatley
  • Access our reading zone page which has links to resources and video stories, read by our staff

Reading Gardens

At Wheatley, we have 'reading gardens' not reading areas. These reading gardens aim to give the children a relaxed and comfortable space with subdued lighting, a variety of textures and and seasonal canopy of leaves, flowers or snowflakes! 

These gardens bring the outside in, but extended in our outside areas, to bring the pleasure of reading out!

Reading bugs

Our Wheatley reading bugs are an integral part of our school



Each class has their own bug which chooses books to recommend to the class. The bug hides in the classroom and sometimes all over the school, to engage the children in finding and sharing books.

School Library

The children visit our school library regularly and are encouraged to borrow books to take home. Each time they do so they can choose a bookmark to keep. There are 25 to collect!

Children can also choose to visit the library at lunchtimes to read quietly or exchange their books.



World Book Day 2024

On days such as World Book Day we set aside the timetable and really celebrate books and this year was no different. This year we chose to dress up as an 'everyday super hero', such as a nurse or a fireman or even a mum! We engaged in all sorts of wonderful book based activities. Every class focused their learning around creating, learning and experiencing – characters were made in all sorts of ways. Stories were read, retold, riddled and acted out. Books became the focus for dens, book paths and secret messaging!

If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” – J.K Rowling