Fulbourn Primary School

Dare to Discover


At Fulbourn, we see reading as our most important gateway to knowledge and ideas. It is therefore at the centre of everything we do. By the time children leave Fulbourn, they should feel confident selecting and reading a wide range of material and enjoy regularly reading for pleasure.


Early Reading

At Fulbourn Primary School we believe that for all our children to develop as proficient and passionate readers, becoming fluent early decoders is a priority. We achieve this through the effective teaching of systematic and structured phonics programme.

We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. Our phonics teaching starts in reception and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. At Fulbourn we also model these strategies through shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. Dialogic practice underpins our approach to all learning because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.


How we teach phonics

  • In reception and Y1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday.
  • Phonics starts in reception in week 2 to ensure the children make a strong start.
  • By the end of reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4.
  • By the end of year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5.
  • Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing to 30 minutes as soon as possible.
  • Y1 lessons are 30 minutes long.
  • In Y2-Y3, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but plugging specific gaps identified through assessment.
  • In Y2-Y6 there are planned phonic ‘catch-up’ sessions following a set model to address specific reading/writing gaps. These are short, sharp sessions lasting 10 minutes in length and taking place at least three times a week.


Reading practice sessions

  • Children across reception apply their phonics knowledge by using a fully matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session.
  • These sessions are 15 minutes long and happen three times a week. There are approximately 6 children in a group.
  • The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
  • The children then take the same book home the following week to ensure success is shared with the family.
  • In reception these sessions start in week 4. Children who are not decoding do a little blending lesson, following the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sound Revised.


How do we assess phonic knowledge?

  • In reception and year 1, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment).
  • Children identified in reception and Y1 as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
  • In reception and year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker.
  • The children in Y1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
  • Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Y1, will re-sit this in Y2.
  • Children who are in Y2-Y6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.


If you are a parent and would like more information about how to support your child with phonics at home, please follow this link to find the Reception and Year 1 overview as well as videos of the sound pronunciations, letter formation sheets and other helpful resources.




We nurture fluent and confident readers who, from the very start, learn to think as they read. We encourage children to read for pleasure and purpose, to discover the world and lives beyond their own, and thereby to make sense of themselves.

We teach readers individually, in guided groups and as a whole class to appreciate texts, develop opinions and preferences about reading and use these across the curriculum.  We encourage our pupils to see themselves as discerning readers and to be confident in discussing not only whether they enjoy a text but also the extent to which they agree with it.


How we teach guided reading:

We teach reading comprehension through guided reading groups, in which we explore a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Our guided reading sessions include:

  • A ‘reciprocal reading’ approach, explicitly teaching the skills of questioning, summarising, clarifying and predicting whilst reading.
  • An impressive collection of Big Cat Collins texts, with a wide range of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry available.
  • Independent reading groups providing the opportunity for children to consolidate the skills learned through the reciprocal reading approach in a peer-to-peer setting.


We also run a number of group and 1:1 and small group reading interventions including:

  • Fluency interventions to support children’s reading speed, accuracy and comprehension.
  • Corrective reading interventions in small groups
  • Small phonics groups or 1:1 phonics interventions to support a range of phonic skills.


In addition, 1:1 reading is put in place for children that need extra practise. Books that the children take home are carefully chosen to match the children’s interests and their level of fluency.  


Dialogic Literary Gatherings

All our children across KS2 have the opportunity to explore reading through dialogic literary gatherings- a tried and tested tool for building reader’s powers of independent thought. In these sessions, the teacher facilitates discussion of a text that is led by the children. This approach helps ensure that all children develop a strong voice, are able to interpret the written word, create arguments and respect the views of others equally.  


Reading for pleasure at Fulbourn:

At Fulbourn, we see reading for pleasure as the golden thread that runs through the heart of our school. Every child will have access to:

  • Daily access to the school library during break or lunchtimes
  • Weekly whole class library browsing sessions with the opportunity to borrow books from the library.
  • Regular celebrations of reading events such as World Book Week and National Storytelling Week
  • Regular bookfairs run in partnership with Scholastic.
  • Dedicated time each in which an adult will read to them.
  • Engaging book corners with a wide range of exciting texts.
  • Knowledgeable staff who are passionate about reading and enjoy engaging in book talk
  • Author visits or workshops, be they in person or virtual!
  • Storytelling sessions in the library with our Reading Ambassador