Once you learn to read, you will be forever free


                                - Frederick Douglass


At Battle Hill we believe that every child can learn to read and the most important gift our school can give each child is the power to do this. Teaching children to read early and well has multiple benefits, allowing them to acquire knowledge and building on what they already know. It is the key to any child's future success.  



In Nursery, our children begin working on


  • Sound discrimination – environmental and instrumental sounds
  • Body percussion – to develop awareness of sounds and rhythms
  • Rhythm and rhyme
  • Alliteration – focusing on initial sounds of words
  • Voice sounds – distinguishing between different vocal sounds
  • Oral blending and segmenting


In addition to this we use the Over and Over Programme to reinforce Phase 1 phonics by developing the children's speaking and listening skills, our aim being to make sure our children are attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.


While there is considerable overlap between these aspects, the overarching aim is for children to experience regular, planned opportunities to listen carefully and talk extensively about what they hear, see and do. These aspects continue to run alongside our phonics programme in Reception and Key Stage 1.


In Reception and Key Stage 1, we teach early reading through Letters and Sounds Phonics Programme.  We use Letters and Sounds to ensure through systematic teaching of synthetic phonics, children quickly learn how to blend sounds together and apply this to reading phonics books at an appropriate level for them individually. Children learn phonics in small groups depending on their learning need.  However, these groups are fluid so children can move between them easily, depending on the rate they learn. The teaching of phonics involves the skills of hearing, identifying and using phonemes or sound patterns in English. The aim is to systematically teach our children the relationship between these sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics emphasises the skills of decoding new words by sounding them out and combining or ‘blending’ the sound-spelling patterns. This makes sure they have a solid phonics knowledge in order to build on in their journey to becoming fluent readers. Children also have access to the school reading scheme.


 Letters and Sounds or why not check out our helpful videos in the phonics section


Across Key Stage 1 and 2


The phonics approach is delivered alongside dedicated lessons on specific reading skills, which are then reinforced through guided and shared reading sessions. In conjunction with this, our Key Stage 2 pupils access Accelerated Reader, which increases pupil engagement in reading with personalised goals, focuses on speed and stamina and increases pupils’ understanding of a range of high level, rich vocabulary texts. The programme means our pupils choose reading books at appropriate levels yet challenging enough to ensure optimum progress. We are an Accelerated Reader Champion School.


We recognise some children may need extra support and are committed to ensuring we close those gaps with their peers through extra phonics sessions, inference and BRP (Boosting Reading Potential) interventions.


Our library provides a wide range of books, including non-fiction, fiction, poetry and classics, for our children to read for pleasure. Teachers read class novels every day to their class across all phases. This extends children’s vocabulary and comprehension and instils further a love of reading for pleasure.


With help in supporting reading at home, see our videos below or checkout our booklet Supporting Reading at Home