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Reading at Northfield

Reading at Northfield


At Northfield, learning to read and developing a love of reading, is a priority across the school. We aim to inspire an appreciation of the power and wonder of books and a habit of reading  widely and often, through sharing a variety of quality texts. Staff here understand that if a child can read, they can succeed.


Five Pillars of Reading

Our reading programme aims to develop the five pillars of reading: phonemic awareness, phonic knowledge, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.


Phonemic Awareness - this is the understanding that spoken words are made up of individual sounds, called phonemes. Phonemic awareness is oral and auditory and the focus is on the sounds in words. It does not involve print of letter names. Children in our Nursery will encounter this in phase one of our phonics programme.


Phonics - the focus of phonics instruction is both visual and auditory and concentrates on the letter/sound relationships. During explicit phonics instruction, pupils are taught the letter or letter combinations that represent the 44 sounds or phonemes that are in the English language. Here at Northfield, we teach phonics through a systematical approach using Letters and Sounds. These lessons take place daily in EYFS and eight times a week (four in the morning and four in the afternoon) in KS1. Jolly phonics is a supplementary scheme also used in EYFS for children who need additional support in letters and sounds. TAs provide immediate, targeted interventions for any children struggling with each phonics phase in KS1 and for any children still struggling in KS2. Children who are accessing phonics lessons, will also receive a phonetically decodable book that links to their phonics learning.


Fluency - this is the ability to read a text accurately, quickly and expressively while making sense of the words being read. This is critical to developing a pupil's motivation to read. In order to develop fluency, children reading a phonetically decodable book will be asked to keep the book for a week to allow for repeated readings which will develop their ability to read words on sight rather than having to decode and sound them out.


Vocabulary - direct instruction of explicitly taught vocabulary, as well as word-learning strategies, help children to build a flourishing vocabulary and improve their reading fluency and comprehension. Key topic and vocabulary words are displayed on working walls in the classroom and are discussed frequently to help embed understanding.


Comprehension - this is the ability to understand, remember and make meaning of what is read. Year 1 to year 6 will have daily whole class guided reading lessons where they are exposed to a quality text. This text is studied in depth and each lesson will focus on a different skill: vocabulary, fluency, retrieval, inference, deduction etc. Background knowledge to a text will also be shared to help our children develop a broader understanding.


Book of the Month – Escape from Pompeii by Christine Balit


This half term the Year 4 children are reading ‘Escape from Pompeii’.  We have chosen this book as it links to our history topic of The Romans.  Set in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, the story is about a young boy, Tranio, who like most Roman boys, likes to watch whatever is going on: tradesmen selling their goods, ships unloading their exotic cargoes, politicians making speeches in the forum. But one hot August day a very different scene unfolds. The ground begins to shake, the sky to darken. People run gasping for air. Heading for the harbour, Tranio and his friend Livia hide on a boat and witness one of the most terrifying moments in recorded history-the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the destruction of their beloved city, Pompeii.  

We have been studying this text in our guided reading sessions and we are using it to inspire our English work. The children are writing a setting description about Pompeii during and after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.   They are also be going to be writing a recount, re-telling the events in the story from the point of view of one of the characters.

Remote Learning

During any period of isolation, providing they are well enough to work, your child will receive work via TEAMS.

If you require additional support accessing this, please contact your child's class teacher via the school office.

A parent's perspective on reading with their children during lockdown

Books to support emotional well being in KS1 and KS2

Free Audio and Ebooks for you to enjoy with your children.