Reading and Phonics at Mount Hawke Academy


Our children from EYFS (Class R) onwards are taught reading and writing skills through their daily phonics lessons, based on Letters and Sounds. The children are introduced to phonemes and the corresponding graphemes including digraphs and trigraphs throughout the year. At the same time they are taught the skills of blending to read and segmenting to spell. Through interactive games the children are able to read and spell CVC words before progressing to sentences. Through guided writing sessions the children are taught how to put these skills into practice in writing for a range of purposes and on themes which engage them, such as dinosaurs and mini-beasts.


Throughout the school day the children have opportunities to apply these skills in their ‘own learning time’. The children initiate their own activities and read and write in contexts that are meaningful to them, e.g. writing recipes and ingredients in the mud kitchen, labelling pictures, writing cards and stories and writing labels for models they have made.


Reading is an integral part of daily life from Year R onwards.  This ranges from children’s own individual reading books and library books to share at home with family, to group and class story times with opportunities to discuss characters and predict how stories might end to reading for a purpose to find out information.


At Mount Hawke Academy, our children begin reading using our book band reading system – this is a series of different levels of books each banded a particular colour.   Our children will begin at pink level and will progress through the book bands until they are ready to read books chosen from our school library.   As our children progress through the colours, the texts become longer with trickier words and more complicated storylines. In the pink level there are few very words, which enable each child to discuss the picture and learn key words. By the time our children reach white and lime green books, each child will be a confident, fluent and independent reader who uses a range of strategies appropriately to establish meaning.


In each book band, we ensure that there a variety of different types of books from a variety of different reading schemes, including Oxford Reading Tree and Project X. This ensures that the child experiences a variety of books and characters, including fiction and non-fiction as they develop their reading preferences.


Members of teaching staff read regularly with our children and we also teach reading comprehension explicitly through whole class sessions. Teachers will use their assessments to make decisions as to when children are ready to move to the next book band level. This is often completed in consultation with parents via the Reading Records. When our children are ready to move on from the lime green book band, they will begin to choose books from the school library. We recommend that when children are ready to move to library books, they choose ‘quick read’ books. These books are still classed as library books; they contain fewer and shorter chapters, but are progressive from the lime green book bands.


Please click on the documents below for information on how to help your child with reading book band books.