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Reading Philosophy

At Cheadle Heath Primary School, we want children to choose to read and enjoy it both in and out of school. We provide reading scheme books to ensure structure and progression of skills, but we also want children to read a range of books beyond these. Reading for both pleasure and purpose is important and we encourage you to help your children to continuously increase the range and types of books that they choose. Sometimes, in trying different genres (styles) of books, we can discover styles that we were not expecting to enjoy!

Often, as children move away from learning to decode, parents can find it harder to interact with reading at home. It is important to remember that once children can decode (read the words) well, there is little value in reading a high volume of books and rushing through the stages to reach more tricky words.  Instead, it is more important to spend time exploring and looking in depth at a text. To help support this, during 2012-13 we have significantly increased the number of books available at each stage so that children can consolidate their reading at the correct level for longer.

In the early stages, especially when decoding is the focus, your child should be able to read around 90% of the text. If your child can read more and the teacher has not moved them on, have a chat with their teacher; it is likely that the teacher wants them to look more deeply at their understanding of the texts at that level before they do so. To help your children with a deep reading experience, have a look at some of the activity ideas in ‘More Reading’ section.

As children become more independent readers, they often have favourite authors and parents can worry about this; however, many adults are the same! Reading these for pleasure is valuable so when your child finds an author that they love, allow them to read for pleasure. You can always encourage them to read non-fiction, such as newspapers, at opportune moments to help keep some balance. Equally, help your child to find new series that they may wish to read. Book shops are often happy to make recommendations and talk about new releases and the internet is packed with extracts and reviews. To engage with your child, if they are reading longer books, ask them to discuss their book, help them with book reviews or even read it yourself and talk in a ‘book club’ way!

Reading is a vital skill and can bring much pleasure; as adults we need to act as role models and encourage and inspire children as much as possible.

Reading– using a range of skills

At school, we make sure we teach both a range of texts and reading skills. To ensure that we do this effectively, we use the assessment focuses for reading. These are as follows:

AF1 – use a range of strategies, including accurate decoding of text, to read for meaning

AF2 – understand, describe, select or retrieve information, events or ideas from texts and use quotation and reference to text

AF3 – deduce, infer or interpret information, events or ideas from texts

AF4 – identify and comment on the structure and organisation of texts, including grammatical and presentational features at text level

AF5 – explain and comment on writers’ use of language, including grammatical and literary features at word and sentence level

AF6 – identify and comment on writers’ purposes and viewpoints, and the overall effect of the text on the reader

AF7 – relate texts to their social, cultural and historical traditions

Our lessons embrace these skills and at Phase Three (phonics), children are taught to make observations using these aspects of reading.


Decoding (AF1)

Fluency and expression needs to continually be worked upon as the book difficulty progresses (AF1).  This is the first stage in learning to read independently and is all about the skills needed to decode words and read for basic meaning. Children in Reception to Year Two have daily phonics sessions using Letters and Sounds as a core scheme and we continue to support older children who still need this learning.  Advice booklets are given out at parents’ evenings appropriate to your child’s phase so that you can support their reading at home.  You may wish to have a look at the phonics games for each phase on our website.  Remember, you can talk to your child’s teacher if you have any questions about helping with this.

It is important to remember that there are other decoding skills that your child will use in addition to phonics. If they find phonics tricky, it would also be useful to try and develop some of these skills with your child. Remember some of these strategies are used in combination.

Word recognition Knowing a word on sight. Some words cannot be decoded phonetically and have to be memory learnt. 


A few children learn them by the shape of some words. If you draw around a word, it makes a particular shape.

You could do this or play guessing games if there is a word that they are finding particularly tricky.

Picture cues Earlier on, the use of pictures is important as it teaches the link between images and words. 


Move children on to using the picture and initial sound of the word, next.

Sentence comprehension, (Using the whole sentence). Reading on in the rest of the sentence to decode a given word, (this may be combined with using some sounds or parts of words). This is one of the most important skills and we often use it as adults. To improve this skill with your child, you could cover a few words with a post it note and ask them to guess what it is. Start off by leaving some of the word showing, then cover the whole thing as it improves. 


This is a key skill in self checking. If your child reads a word wrongly and does not notice, try this skill.

We have an assessment in school that enables us to make checks on this skill, so let your child’s class teacher know if you are concerned about this skill.

Analogy Using letter patterns to decode words 


Words such as s-ight, l-ight

Rhyming work is really useful to help this skill

Compound words Where two smaller words join together to make a new, larger word with a new meaning. 


E.g. football, baseball, grandmother

Look for links in expression, linked with the content of what they are reading. Remember, children need to decode some words and it is a normal part of progression that can, at times, interrupt fluency.

Individual Reading

At the start of your child’s schooling your child is given a reading record. Please use this as a home school book and record your observations and comments in it.

For more information in helping your child learn to read click here.