Reading at Finchingfield

Tuning into the Sounds of Language

In our Nursery and Reception setting, we understand that a child's ability to discern and differentiate between sounds is fundamental to reading and language development. Through engaging activities, children are exposed to various auditory stimuli. This includes listening to rhymes, songs, and stories that not only captivate their attention but also fine-tune their ears to the nuances of language.


Activities such as sound matching games and identifying familiar sounds in their surroundings help children sharpen their auditory discrimination skills. 

These activities not only make learning fun but also foster an early appreciation for the rich tapestry of sounds that make up our language.

Nurturing the Eyes for Reading

The ability to recognise and differentiate between visual stimuli, is a crucial skill in the journey towards reading readiness. Our Nursery and Reception curriculum incorporates a variety of activities designed to enhance visual discrimination skills in a playful and interactive manner.


Children engage in exercises that involve matching shapes, identifying patterns, and sorting objects based on visual characteristics. These activities not only promote cognitive development but also lay the foundation for recognising letters and words later on.

By integrating both auditory and visual discrimination activities into our Nursery and Reception Program, we have created a holistic approach to pre-reading skills.

Unlocking the World of Literacy

We believe that the ability to read is a foundational skill that opens the door to a world of knowledge and imagination. Our approach to teaching reading is grounded in the principles of systematic synthetic phonics, a highly effective method that forms the building blocks for strong literacy skills.

Systematic Synthetic Phonics is an evidence-based approach to teaching reading that focuses on breaking down the English language into its constituent sounds, or phonemes. We use the Twinkl phonics program. 

Through a systematic and structured curriculum, children learn to recognise and manipulate these phonemes, developing the essential skills needed for decoding, encoding  and writing words. 

Building Blocks for Reading and Writing Success

Our selection of decodable phonetic reading books are specially crafted to align with the phonics principles taught in the early stages of reading instruction. These books are meticulously designed to feature words that can be sounded out using the phonetic rules and letter-sound relationships that children are learning. By employing a systematic approach, these books allow children to apply their newly acquired phonetic knowledge in a meaningful and enjoyable context.

As children successfully sound out words, their confidence grows, fostering a positive attitude towards reading and writing. This paves the way for more proficient decoding and the ability to read and write with greater speed and accuracy.

Nurturing the Power of Imagination

Reading for pleasure not only enhances vocabulary and comprehension skills but also opens doors to new worlds, cultures, and ideas. Each classroom has a dedicated space where children can escape into the enchanting realms of fiction, embark on thrilling adventures, and explore the wonders of non-fiction.

Stories are the vessels through which imagination sets sail. They transport us to far-off lands, introduce us to fascinating characters, and challenge us to see the world through different lenses. Reading a good book is like opening a portal to another dimension where the only limit is the extent of our imaginations.

Imagination is the cornerstone of innovation and personal growth. By exercising our imagination, we not only enhance our cognitive abilities but also develop empathy, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Imagination allows us to envision possibilities beyond the confines of reality, fostering a sense of wonder and curiosity that propels us towards limitless horizons.

The way we present books is more than just aesthetically pleasing; it serves as a visual invitation to dive into the stories within. Whether it's a captivating mystery, an inspiring biography, or a fantastical journey to distant lands, our books make it easy for children to discover their next literary adventure.

Forward-Facing Books: Inviting Exploration

You'll notice the inviting display of forward-facing books. Unlike traditional shelving, forward-facing books showcase their covers, beckoning readers with vibrant images and intriguing titles. This layout sparks curiosity and encourages students to explore genres they might not have considered before.

Our collection books is designed to make the journey into the world of literature an enticing adventure.  And our dedicated readers are always on hand to offer personalised recommendations, fostering a lifelong love for the written word!

Reading for Pleasure and information

We encourage parents to actively engage with their children as they explore the world of reading. By reading together, parents can provide support, celebrate achievements, and foster a love for reading that extends beyond the classroom.

As children’s confidence grows and they become increasingly fluent, children are welcome to choose books from our extensive class and school library where the joy of reading comes to life. 

Our libraries are not just a haven for the imagination, a treasure trove of stories waiting to be discovered but also reference books for children to learn about science, nature, history, geography or whatever takes their fancy.

Engaging in Thoughtful Reading

Our early readers progress through a series of decodable and graded reading books. However, we recognise that reading is not merely about decoding words; it is a dynamic process that involves comprehension, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. 


As children master decoding, they can devote more cognitive resources to understanding the meaning of the text. This paves the way for improved comprehension skills.


Lessons focus on developing  children's ability to delve into the layers of a text, extracting meaning beyond the surface. Children learn to identify literary devices, analyse character development, and discern themes and motifs. Only when they master these skills, will they truly be able to enjoy more complex challenging texts.

Curated Selection: Diverse and Inclusive

From classic literature to contemporary gems, we strive to provide a wide range of choices that cater to various interests and confidence levels making the journey into the world of literature an enticing adventure. 

When our children become fluent readers, they move away from choosing books from a selection of levelled books. Instead, we teach our older more experienced readers to select books that they feel they can enjoy and read successfully within a framework . Where children need guidance, we offer this support using a range of assessment tools and our professional judgement. 

We believe this approach supports our reading for pleasure and information agenda and avoids conveying that reading is solely to move onto the next level.

Unlocking Potential : Cultivating Challenge

Whilst we enable our more fluent readers to choose books to cultivate a love for reading, we also understand that children thrive when faced with appropriately tailored challenges that stretch their abilities and encourage intellectual curiosity. This pushes their boundaries and develops a deep appreciation for the written word across a range of genres.  

Approaches we use to encourage our readers to read material they would typically not choose include Close Reading, Reciprocal Reading and a reading framework that challenges children to explore different genres throughout the year and share their recommendations with others.

Phonemic awareness and phonics

Our approach helps learners achieve reading success by combining the five pillars of a successful reading program - phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.

Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify units of sound (phonemes) within words and use this to segment and orally blend words. Children are initially taught to identify and segment the initial, final and middle sound of simple three letter words such as man, pin and pan and how to orally blend them back.

Phonics is the mechanics of recognising the letters that make each sound and how to use this knowledge to decode words and spell.

Fluency, vocabulary and comprehension


Fluency is the ability to rapidly identify the sound a letter or combination of letters make or read whole words or sentences by sight. A child needs to be fluent to comprehend what they are reading.  We build fluency development into our reading programme.


Children need to have a broad and rich vocabulary to comprehend what they are reading. This too is built into our reading programme using teaching approaches such as Close Reading. Close Reading is approach that enables children to dig deep into a text including examining an author's use of vocabulary. 


Comprehension is key. This is the ability to make sense of the words they hear and read. The ability to retrieve information and establish meaning beyond the literal using inference for example needs to be explicitly taught.