At Orleans we use a combination of synthetic phonic schemes to enhance children’s learning in phonetic development. Jolly Phonics, as well as, Letters and Sounds combined allow all our children to develop at their own individual rates while meeting the needs of the New Curriculum.

Children are taught phonics in differentiated groups. This is because children learn to read and write at different rates and in different ways. It allows teachers to carefully tailor the learning to meet specific needs and therefore maximise the progress of every child. This starts in Reception until Year 3. The groups are fluid and regularly reviewed and assessed.

Children may change groups depending on their understanding of phonics as the scheme develops. The decision to move a child is only made after assessments have been carried out and all aspects of the child’s learning have been carefully considered.

Key Words

Key word sets are sent home on sheets of coloured card. These are checked at least once every 2 weeks in EYFS and Key Stage 1. If a child is able to read all the words on sight (without hesitation or ‘sounding out’) and be able to spell them correctly, then they will be issued the next set of key words. There are 13 sets altogether. These are designed to increase the fluency of children’s reading and become confident in sight vocabulary.

Guided Reading

Pupils read with a teacher at least once every two weeks. This is done as part of a small group guided reading session. A group will consist of between six to eight children who are working at the same level in reading.

A guided reading session focuses on an objective relevant to their stage of learning. For examples;

  • to use a contents page to locate information
  • to talk about what happened in a story in the correct order
  • to summarise information

During a guided reading session there will be some group discussion of a text as well as some reading practise. As the children read, the adult will circulate, listening to, assessing and supporting the children as needed.  Reading within a group also means that there are many opportunities for discussion, confidence building and peer learning. It also means that teachers and teaching assistants have a secure, up to date knowledge of where children are working at in reading and where they need to move to next.

We know that guided reading is an effective way of assessing and developing the children’s reading skills as we have been tracking children’s achievements in reading.

Reading scheme books

Our graded reading scheme – which incorporates a range of books from different highly evaluated series introduces children to new words gradually.  We use a selection of schemes including Oxford Reading Tree, Big Cat Phonics, Rigby Star and Project X. These books are levelled into colour bands so that children can progress through the books in levels of difficulty. Reading deliberately patterned, simple, repetitive grammatical structures helps children to achieve early success. This success creates confidence – an essential prerequisite for ongoing, successful learning.

They are carefully selected according to your child’s ability of word reading and comprehension. These go home and are to be read by the child to the adult, it is likely they will re-read this book several times throughout the week so they can develop both word reading skills and comprehension understanding. It is important that you ask high quality questions to your child about the text to further develop their reading skills.  Please see the types of questions that will develop your child’s reading.

In Key stage one, the children have a ‘book change day’ where their reading diary is checked for any comments and their books are changed.

In Key stage two, the children are free to change their books as and when they like themselves. They are expected to write in their reading diary every time they read and get a parents to sign regularly.

Reading Scheme

Book band information

Recommended Reading Lists


Orleans Primary School, Hartington Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1 3EN