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We believe that all children have the right to be fluent and confident readers as this helps them unlock the doors to future success. Children’s love of reading and reading for pleasure is developed through the passion displayed for reading by the adults in school and through the wide range of high quality texts available to them.

The Big 5 Curriculum

The teaching of reading will encompass the big 5 components of effective reading:

  1. Phonemic awareness – the basic fundamentals of reading
  2. Phonics and word study – the art of decoding
  3. Fluency – the art of reading at pace and adding expression
  4. Vocabulary – exploring the meaning of words
  5. Comprehension – a deep understanding of what a text means

Phonics Scheme

We use the Unlocking Letters and Sounds programme to deliver phonics. Unlocking Letters and Sounds was validated by the DfE in December 2021. 

We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.

An example of our Phase 2 GPC, picture, action, and letter formation document

In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, the children learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional common exception Words. By the end of Year 1, children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national phonics screening check.

In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.

‘Unlocking Letters and Sounds’ progression.

To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have impact.

Click here to see an example of one of our interventions. 

Reading Scheme

At Uphill we promote a ‘phonics first’ approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child’s current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading.

In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars, with whom we worked in partnership when creating Unlocking Letters and Sounds to ensure complete fidelity to the phonic progression we follow.

Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.

How to read with your child

Subject Progression Documents

CLF Primary Curriculum Reader

Useful Websites

Oxford Owl

BBC Nursery Rhymes



Book Trust