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At The Southwater Infant Academy, we value reading as a life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our children to become lifelong readers with a passion for reading for pleasure. We believe reading is key for academic success and understand the importance of reading for increasing vocabulary, developing general knowledge and gaining an appreciation of other cultures. We aim to instil reading confidence in all of our children and aspire to ensure that each and every child sees themselves as a reader. 


At The Southwater Infant Academy, our children are taught to read in a variety of ways for example through Whole Class reading, guided or group reading, discreet phonics teaching, shared reading and 1:1 reading. In addition to this each class has a book read to them each day by their class teacher, and weekly focus texts are shared as part of our literacy inputs. We really value sharing books with our children and find this is a cherished time in each classroom helping to promote reading as an enjoyable activity.   

From entry in the EYFS, our children enjoy reading on a 1:1 basis with their teachers. Children across the academy take reading books to share with their adults at home. These books are colour banded and are tailored to meet the needs of each individual child. The children have the opportunity to change these at regular intervals. Each classroom has a selection of books that are directly linked with the class themed unit. This offers opportunities for the children to apply their reading skills across the curriculum. Reading is celebrated throughout the year with various initiatives and incentives. 

In Key Stage One, children take part in Whole Class Reading lessons throughout the week, where they are exposed to a range of different high-quality texts. Through Whole Class Reading, they are given opportunities to demonstrate their understanding and comprehension irrespective of their ability to decode.  Whole Class Reading enables children who find decoding challenging to access a range of high quality texts with a variety of rich vocabulary and engaging plots. Each classroom has a reading area that is filled with a variety of books suitable for their reading age. This is a comfortable place for children to read throughout the day and for them to have the opportunity to read the class books.  

At The Southwater Infant Academy, we use a bespoke phonics programme adapted loosely from ‘Read Write Inc’. Our phonics programme has been written by us, ensuring it is tailored to meet the needs of all of our children, irrespective of their needs or starting point. Despite consistently high outcomes in phonics we are always striving to improve and this year have adapted our phonics programme. Once again, it is a bespoke package but this time has been based upon ‘Song of Sounds'. All of the positive elements of the previous programme have been kept, however, we have now altered and adapted these to ensure earlier exposure to the sounds and therefore a more rapid progression in reading as well as writing. Children have daily phonics sessions in the Early Years and Year One and regular phonics lessons within Year Two. In small groups, the children participate in phonics activities that are matched to their developing needs. The teachers draw upon observations, and through continuous assessment ensure children are stretched and challenged as well as identifying children who may need additional support. Children work through the ‘Phonic Phases’ (as adapted by us) ensuring rapid progression in phonics and excellent outcomes. 


Through systematic teaching of phonics and instilling a love of reading in all of our children, we aim for children to become confident and keen readers by the end of Key Stage One. Attainment in reading is measured using teacher assessment, supported by statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments. We give all children the opportunity to enter the magical worlds that books open up to them. We promote reading for pleasure as part of our reading curriculum. Children are encouraged to develop their own love of genres and authors and to review their books objectively. This enhances a deep love of literature across a range of genres, cultures and styles.  

View our Curriculum Statement