At Prior Heath we aim to enable every child to develop the skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing, including spelling, grammar and handwriting.  The Key Stage 1 National Curriculum (2014) is followed throughout the school.

Reading and Phonics

English Glossary (PDF, 209.97 kB)

Reading and phonics information for parents (PDF, 372.4 kB) – September 2022

Prior Heath Infant School Early Reading Strategy (PDF, 183.46 kB)

The Reading Spine at Prior Heath (PDF, 306.16 kB)


At Prior Heath Infant School, reading is at the very heart of our curriculum. Our phonics teaching lays the foundations for every child to be a secure and successful reader and we are committed to promoting a love of reading. We provide our children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities, which will help them to read accurately, fluently and with understanding. Our intent is that every child leaves our school a reader, who has a passion for stories, poetry and information texts.


Our curriculum provides consistent and robust teaching and learning of early reading and phonics so that our children are able to read with increased speed and fluency. We use the ‘Unlocking Letters and Sounds’ systematic, synthetic approach to teaching phonics across the school. Our daily phonics sessions follow a set structure. The pacey and systematic way in which the sessions are delivered ensure continuity and challenge for the children. We adapt our provision where necessary to ensure that learning is inclusive for all.

To promote a love of reading and encourage book talk, the children in Year R take home a story sack each week. Within the story sack, there is a text to explore with their family as well as book related activities to complete. In Key Stage 1, alongside the phonic reading books, the children are able to select a text from a wide variety, to share with an adult at home. Adults are encouraged to read these particular books to their child and discuss the contents. Guidance is provided to our families about how to best support their children with reading at home.

Texts that are used within guided reading sessions and books that are taken home by the children are very closely matched to pupils’ current phonic knowledge. The children at Prior Heath have opportunities to develop their reading skills daily and are encouraged to read regularly at home with an adult.  We provide a text-rich environment across the school to encourage a positive culture of reading and promote reading for pleasure. Further challenge is provided for the children through higher level texts that are explored within daily class story times. Through high quality teaching and learning experiences, we develop children’s skills and competence so that they are fluent readers who can apply their reading to access all aspects of the curriculum.


Our approach to reading at Prior Heath will ensure that the children will be inspired to read for pleasure. They will be confident readers who will enjoy reading a wide variety of genres and text types. All children will have learnt the necessary knowledge and skills to decode words and read fluently. They will have a secure understanding of what they have read, be inspired by literature and develop a life-long enjoyment of reading.


The Progression of Skills for Reading from Reception to Year 2 can be found here. (PDF, 586.23 kB)

Reading assessment: questions linked to comprehension


Year group recommended reads:

Please see the following recommended booklists by year group from Books for Topics:


Year 1

Year 2

Please click on the links below for our English glossary:

English Glossary (PDF, 36.21 kB)



Writing is an integral part of our curriculum here at Prior Heath. All of our children are provided with many exciting opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum through our topic based learning. Our aim is to equip children with the skills needed to be able to orally rehearse, plan, compose, revise and evaluate their writing. We want our children to develop into confident, able writers who see the value of, and find pleasure in, the writing process. We have high expectations for all pupils within our school and endeavour to ensure that all children make good progress in their writing.


Our curriculum is organised in a progressive way from EYFS to Year 2. Writing is evident across our curriculum and a wide range of genres taught throughout the school.  To ensure children develop a love of writing and develop the skills needed to be an effective writer we:

  • immerse children in high-quality texts and encourage each child to think of themselves as authors
  • teach writing through a range of exciting stimuli including film clips, artefacts, visitors, trips and meaningful real-life and first-hand experiences which we hope will excite the children and inspire them to write
  • model the writing process daily to support children’s writing and make expectations clear
  • use our learning journeys in class to ignite and support the writing in both Years 1 and 2
  • ensure children write for a real purpose and reason
  • provide children with opportunities to develop a rich vocabulary to bring their own writing to life
  • teach spelling, punctuation, grammar and phonics explicitly and encourage them to apply these skills to their writing.
  • encourage children to use and apply their phonic knowledge in their writing
  • teach the children how to proof-read and check their writing makes sense and then, in Year 2, how to make revisions and additions so they can improve their writing
  • use a rigorous, sequential approach to teaching handwriting
  • ensure children who have gaps in their knowledge receive appropriate support and intervention


The children at our school are enthusiastic writers who enjoy demonstrating their writing skills. They are inspired and motivated to write through an effectively planned and engaging curriculum. Well taught lessons with appropriate and ongoing feedback and the use of individual target cards for each child ensures that every child make good progress and this is evident in their books. Presentation is valued and is of a high standard; most children move onto their junior school able to write in a neat, cursive style.  At the end of each year some children will have progressed further and achieved greater depth.


The Progression of Skills for Writing from Reception to Year 2 can be found here. (PDF, 310.48 kB)