Reading is a fundamental part of everything we do at Cunningham Hill Infant. It is the skill that underpins everything that is taught and opens the door to learning across the curriculum. Throughout the school, we utilise the Literacy Tree scheme for the teaching of English, which influences how our curriculum is organised.  This scheme uses high quality texts in all units of work to engage the children through reading of books which are linked to foundation subjects where possible.  This helps them have necessary knowledge to become lifelong readers. Carefully matched, high quality texts support the development of reading skills. These are taught explicitly in all year groups. The use of whole class texts supports the development of decoding and comprehension skills. We want the children to develop a love of reading for pleasure by showing how highly we value it as part of everyday life. All staff are encouraged to read to the children regularly to ensure that they are familiar with both traditional and new texts.

We feel that it is important that the children read every day and are therefore given plenty of opportunity to read and experience books.  To support their reading, our children receive:

  • Regular guided reading sessions using a carousel of activities.  In Reception and Year 1 these are directly linked to the phonics they are learning and utilise texts which are matched to the phonics rule they are learning at the time. Once they are able to use phonics to decode and understand texts effectively, they will have 15 minutes each day to read for pleasure.
  • Extra phonic support is provided, as part of the Essential Letters & Sounds scheme we follow in all year groups as necessary.
  • A reading book which is matched to their phonic knowledge (until their phonic knowledge and reading ability is of a strong enough level) and a shared reading book which they can enjoy at home.
  • Regular access to the Library including activities to investigate different genres of texts with our school librarian.
  • The opportunity win prizes each half term for how often they read at home in order to encourage them to read everyday.
  • A whole school Reading Spine which outlines the books that children will cover each term in school.  Each term, the spine includes books that: are chosen by the Literacy Tree English scheme, which are used in our daily English lessons; fiction and non-fiction texts relating to our topic; representative of our community and books that will be shared with the children though each term, through a shared class reader and in free reading time.


Since January 2022, we have been using Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) to deliver our phonics across the federation. ELS is a complete Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme, designed to teach children how to read through decoding and blending, linking the sounds of our language to the written representation of these sounds. Lessons are well structured and consistent from day to day and across year groups, meaning that children quickly become familiar with how phonics is taught and know the expectations. All sounds used are ‘pure sounds’ (see pronunciation guide below) and each sound has it’s own mnemonic, with which the children quickly become familiar and this helps them to recall new sounds taught. All phonics reading books that are sent home, are closely matched to the child’s reading ability, ensuring that we show fidelity to the progression within the scheme. Reception children will learn sounds in Phases 2 and 3 and start Phase 5 in the summer term. Year 1 children will revisit the sounds previously learnt as well as learning all new sounds in Phase 5 with the aim of completing the phonics programme by the end of Year 1. Teachers constantly assess children and further support will be given to those children who need it, ensuring that children are able to keep up rather than having to catch up.