At Willowbrook Mead, we are proud to offer the pupils a text rich learning environment where imagination and creativity can be fuelled. Through our rigorous phonics curriculum, we ensure pupils develop the skills and knowledge they need to develop as confident readers who have a love of books. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.

Early reading and phonics are included on our school improvement plan and is considered a priority in teaching and learning across the school. We know that many of our children start in our nursery and reception years with low vocabulary and comprehension. We also have seen the impact of Covid on children in recent years, which has affected children’s reading ability and understanding. Our focus is to ensure that all children are given the best start in their education through the effective teaching of systematic phonics and through a vocabulary-rich curriculum.

Phonics Scheme

The school follow the Read, Write, Inc. phonics scheme to get children reading and writing quickly. Through daily phonics lessons, children develop a genuine love of reading and writing as they move through reception and KS1. Children learn 44 ‘pure sounds’, and use and apply this knowledge to blend sounds into new words. Alongside this, children write every day using their sound knowledge to rehearse what they want to say, before writing it down using the sounds and ‘tricky words’ they have learnt.

To support their progress in phonics, pupils are given a reading book at their level, which contains sounds they have learnt in phonics lessons. This helps develop their independence and boost their confidence. They also have chance to choose another book to be read to them at home by an adult. Regular reading with a teacher and in groups ensures that pupils at Willowbrook make progress through the phonics programme and are reading well matched books at their challenge level.

We always welcome the support and contributions of our parents and carers – and there is a lot you can do to help your child develop vital early literacy skills and set them up as passionate, lifelong readers and writers.

To learn to read children need to:

  • learn 44 sounds (phonemes) and the corresponding letters/letter groups (graphemes)
  • learn to read words using sound blending

To remember the sounds, children use a rhyme to help them. They can be found here (MISSING FILE).

Below is our phonics overview for each year group


Reception (MISSING FILE)



Teachers plan and deliver phonics lessons that ensure children learn the set 1, 2 & 3 sounds and apply them to their reading and writing. The video below shows an example of our phonics lessons here at Willowbrook.

It is important that the children practise their sounds at home to develop with their pronunciation and fluency with reading. The videos below should help with this

Set 1 sounds

Set 2 sounds

Set 3 sounds

Reading Recovery

Reading recovery is a literacy programme designed for children needing extra support with their reading. It is aimed at children in Year 1/2 and enables them to reach age-expected levels within 20 weeks. It involves a short series of daily one-to-one lessons for 30 minutes with a specially trained teacher.

Research shows that Reading recovery achieves good results that are swift and long lasting.

Reading at home

All children take home a levelled book. This is a phonetically decodable book in Reception and year 1, and a Accelerated book for years 2-6 (apart from children who are accessing phonics interventions). Children also choose a book from our school library to take home and share with an adult.

Here’s how many words kids would have heard by the time they were 5 years
old: Never read to, 4,662 words; 1–2 times per week, 63,570 words; 3–5
times per week, 169,520 words; daily, 296,660 words; and five books a day,
1,483,300 words.

We have a reading incentive for the children who read at home. Every time they read, they get a sticker on their book mark. They can then enter into a prize draw to choose a book to take home.

Love of reading!

At Willowbrook Mead we love to encourage our children to read! We have lots of opportunities for children to have quiet reading time during the day or enjoy being read to by a teacher. We have a reading events calendar that includes dress up days, bed time stories with parents, reading in our community etc.

Have a look at some of our recent events below:

Roald Dahl Day! – 13th September 2022

Subject Policies/Plans

Early Reading and Phonics strategy 22-23 (MISSING FILE)
Phonics Overview 2022-23 (MISSING FILE)
Phonics through school (MISSING FILE)

Subject Leader/s

Miss L Moscetano