Early Reading and Phonics


And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Through the teachings of Jesus, all can flourish spiritually, emotionally and academically throughout life, living out love and justice for all. Our Christian values of love, justice, compassion, wisdom, forgiveness and friendship underpin the life of the school community and impact on our daily lives. Guilden Sutton Church of England Primary School strives to provide the best possible education for our children. We aim for excellence within our happy, secure school where each individual’s achievements are valued and celebrated. By using a holistic approach, we will provide a curriculum that offers a diverse and challenging environment to inspire and motivate every child in our care.


At Guilden Sutton Church of England Primary School, we believe that early experiences with books both at home and in school have the potential to significantly affect future reading performance. Therefore, as soon as children enter Reception, we begin to inspire a love of reading, a deep-rooted appreciation and a recognition of books as worlds just waiting to be opened. We continue building upon the exposure that our children have already had to early reading skills through stories, rhymes and song time at every opportunity.

As children enter Key Stage 1, they continue to learn the complex skill of reading. They use skills of word recognition to develop reading fluency and to make sense of the text.



We believe that learning phonics provides young readers with the most direct route to skilled reading. We use Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) to enable children to begin successfully decoding words using synthetic phonics. Phonics is taught daily through whole-class, short and highly interactive sessions and is then reinforced and applied across the curriculum.

To supplement the high-quality phonics work in Key Stage 1, children choose a fully-decodable book which has been informed by half-termly assessments. These books are personalised to match individual children's current phonic knowledge and provide direct practice of blending and segmenting with quick success. They ensure long term enthusiasm for reading, as well as helping children to read with greater accuracy and independence. 

We encourgage and support our children to read their decodable book four times a week, recognising that this will hugely support them to become an independent, fluent reader. 

In addition to their decodable reading book, children choose a Recommended Read. These books are taken home to share and enjoy. Children might read their chosen book to themselves or share them with someone else. Others might enjoy the text being read to them. However children choose to read their book, our ultimate goal is instilling a love of reading.

Reading Records are provided to all children as a way of communicating between parents/carers and teachers about reading ability as well as advising parents/carers as to how they can support their child at home.

Once children have successfully mastered Early Reading skills, they move towards refining their accuracy, fluency and comprehension through more challenging texts, organised by colour (Turquoise - Grey). We use PM Benchmarking, alongside teacher assessments, to provide children with age-appropriate books which expose them to new concepts, ideas and vocabulary and provide opportunities to unpick texts on a deeper level.   

As children begin their reading journey, they are listened to read on an individual basis. Children then progress to whole class guided reading sessions. These sessions are taught as a way of expanding children’s vocabulary and deepening their understanding of the texts they read. Texts are selected to be challenging and accessible for all children. Teachers are flexible with their choice of text depending on the children within the class and they ensure that they make meaningful cross-curricular links where possible.



Through the teaching of systematic phonics and reading, together with our belief that reading is the key to all learning, children enter Key Stage 2 as fluent and confident readers who can apply their knowledge and experience to a range of texts through the Key Stage 2 curriculum. They have been immersed in the wide and varied magical world that reading opens up and they have started to develop their own interest in books across a range of genres.

Although we believe that the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of statutory assessments, at the end of Year 1, children complete the Phonics Screening Check. This check is used to ensure that children are making sufficient progress in their phonics skills and are on track to become fluent readers who enjoy reading for pleasure and learning. A bespoke package of support is provided to all individuals who perform below national standard and they are retested in Year 2.

During Year 2, children complete termly reading assessments to assess their understanding of different fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Children complete two papers, which are centred around decoding and comprehending texts. 

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Useful websites to support learning at home

An introduction to Essential Letters and Sounds

Essential Letters and Sounds

Pure Sounds 

How to blend sounds to read words


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Who Are We?

Guilden Sutton Church of England Primary School is in a semi-rural location at the heart of the village of Guilden Sutton, on the outskirts of Chester. The school is a lively, happy place where all are treated as individuals within a Christian family atmosphere.
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Guilden Sutton Church of England Primary School Arrowcroft Road
Guilden Sutton
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Monday - Friday 8.50am - 3.20pm (32.5hrs)

School gates open at 8.45am

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Mrs T Rainford | Headteacher
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Mrs C Lloyd | Mrs L Taylor
01244 300 353

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