Reading and Phonics

Reading at William MacGregor

"Pupils should be taught to read fluently, understand extended prose (both fiction and non-fiction) and be encouraged to read for pleasure. Schools should do everything to promote wider reading. They should provide library facilities and set ambitious expectations for reading at home."  

National Curriculum framework

At William MacGregor we hold reading at the heart of all learning and consequently reading has the highest priority in our school. In September 2015 we re-structured our staff to develop a ‘Reading Team’. The Reading Team and the classroom teacher read with our reception class, Year 1 and Year 2 every day for 30 minutes.

Our aim for this re-structure was to ensure all of our children left KS1 being confident, fluent readers. 

The Reading Team also read with KS2. Each KS2 class has 3 adults working with the children for 30 minutes every day. 

In school, to develop the love of reading and reading skills we use Pearson Bug Club books as well as other fiction and non-fiction books, including classics and poetry. You can find out more about Bug Club and help tutorials if you search for Bug Club on YouTube.

The National Curriculum says: Schools should set ambitious expectations for reading at home.

We have designed our own personal planners/diaries to enhance communication between home and school. We expect our children to read at least five times a week at home and for an adult to sign their planner to acknowledge that this has been achieved. We do not expect detailed notes from home about how their child has read, the purpose of reading at home is for enjoyment and practising the skills they have developed in school.

The national curriculum also says; Schools should provide library facilities.

Along with weekly visits to our own school library, each year group visits Tamworth Library once a month to hear stories read by librarians and choose books for pleasure. This monthly visit offers the opportunity for our children to choose from a far broader range of books as well as developing relationships with the librarians and developing a love for visiting a public library.


At William MacGregor Primary School, phonics is taught in a highly structured programme of daily lessons across Ladybirds (Reception) and KS1. The Letters and Sound programme is followed, providing a synthetic approach to the teaching of phonics. The programme focuses on securing word recognition skills, essential for children to decode (read) and encode (spell) words accurately and reading comprehension. The programme is in six phases: phase one promotes speaking/listening skills, phonological awareness and oral blending/segmenting; phases two to five focus on high quality phonic work to help children develop fluent word reading and spelling skills. In addition, phonic skills can be applied in reading and writing opportunities as well as in other areas of the curriculum. Teachers will check pupil progress ie in their understanding of grapheme-phoneme (letter sound) correspondence.

Letters and Sounds teaching is supported by Espresso and Bug Club. Each session gives an opportunity for children to revisit their previous experience, be taught new skills, practice together and apply what they have learned.

Y1 Phonics Screening Check

In the summer term, Y1 children will take a Phonics Screening Check in which children will be expected to read 40 decodable ‘words’. This progress check identifies those children not at the expected level in reading and these children will be re-checked in Y2.