How we teach Reading and Phonics at Crosslee Primary School

Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.

We want your child to love reading and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.

How will my child be taught to read?

We start by teaching the Letters and Sounds phonics programme to the children in the Early Years and in Key Stage 1. This means that they learn how to ‘hear’ sounds in the environment including rhymes and alliteration and then ‘read’ the sounds in words and find out how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell as well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters.

The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.

The children practise their reading with reading books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.

The teachers read to the children too so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.

All children will have a reading book from a range of schemes such as Oxford Reading Tree, Rapid Phonics and Project X amongst others. They will move up the stages as your child progresses with their reading until they become a ‘free reader’ where they can choose a library book of their choice. The children will also have a school library book and at least twice a year each class will visit Blackley Library and be able to loan a book and bring it back to school.

We also have daily Guided Reading sessions where children will work in groups to either read with the class teacher, complete written tasks and questions based on what they have read or take part in reading or phonic games and activities including time for children to read for pleasure. When the children are working with a staff member they will get immediate oral feedback on what they have done well and what to work on next time.

How will I know how well my child is doing?

We will always let you know how well your child is doing.

We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We use the information to decide what reading group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at the same reading stage as him or her. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. Your child will have one-to-one support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up.

We also use a reading test so that we can make sure that all our children are at the level that they should be for their age compared to all the children across the country.

In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done.

What can I do to help?

Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘blend’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds.

Have a look at for ideas and resources.

We know parents and carers are very busy people. But if you can find time to read with your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a  family.

What if he or she finds it difficult to learn to read?

We will find out very quickly if your child is finding reading difficult. First, we move children to a different group so that we can make sure that they have learnt what they need to know. If they still struggle we give them extra time with an adult on their own. We have a Reading Recovery teacher in school who teachers the Reading Recovery Intervention that supports children on a 1-1 basis with their early reading skills. All our TAs are also trained up to deliver the 5 Minute Box intervention which is a short, daily, 1-1 intervention focusing on the sounds and key words found in the Letters and Sounds phonic programme. Our adults are specially trained to support these children. Your child will still be in the same group with the other children and won’t miss out on any of the class lessons.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to speak to your child’s class teacher or our Literacy Leader, Mrs Haughton.

Contact us

Crosslee Primary School

Crosslee Road


Manchester, M9 6TG

0161 795 8493