At Wistaston Church Lane, we believe that reading is fundamental to a child's love of learning. Whether reading for pleasure or for independent study, we want children to develop the skills necessary to become confident and competent readers.


At Wistaston Church Lane Academy, we ensure our children are able to develop their love reading, writing and discussion through high quality teaching and learning. We equip our children with the skills necessary to allow them to be independent, inquisitive learners through our English curriculum which allows the children to build upon prior learning, year on year.

During their time at Church Lane, our children will develop their reading abilities, becoming enthusiastic and confident communicators. They will explore texts and discuss the similarities and differences between them; they will discuss, summarise and make predictions; they will learn how to infer information by reading between the lines; they will develop an expansive vocabulary and enjoy playing with language for various effects on the reader. Our children will explore new and classic, high-quality texts to inspire their writing and help them to develop their own style and individual flair with language.

At Church Lane, we believe that a secure grounding in literacy skills is crucial to gaining the best education; an education that will allow our children to stand out and participate fully as valued members of our society. Our English curriculum aims to ensure that:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage


At Church Lane, we use the Pathways to Read programme of study from Year 2 to Year 6 to deliver our reading sessions. EYFS and Year 1and 2 focus on the teaching of phonics through the Rocket Phonics scheme with class reading books which instil a love of books and reading in the children.

At Church Lane, we identify children who need support and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can. We run intervention reading groups and are fortunate to have parents, governors and volunteers who come in regularly to hear children read. Most children on the SEND register have reading and comprehension as one of their targets. Teachers plan and teach three 20-minute whole-class lessons, using quality text examples, which focus heavily on developing vocabulary and practising the key reading skills of inference; prediction; explaining; retrieval; summarising. We help each child maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary, whilst striving to make children independent workers once we have helped to equip them with the confidence, tools and strategies that they need.

In Key Stage 2, we use Accelerated Reader to inform teachers of the attainment and progress of the children in their class. Accelerated reader offers the children an opportunity to check their understanding through quiz questions based on the texts they have read.  This encourages children to read more, whilst also allowing teachers to see how well children are answering specific question types. This allows for targeted work in reading lessons and interventions in order to hone the skills the children are finding most difficult.

We love to celebrate success of all learners and strive to help all children achieve their goals. Reading is celebrated in classrooms and around school at Church Lane, where our bright and colourful displays celebrate children’s writing, their favourite books and reading reward schemes. 


Through the teaching of phonics at Church Lane, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test 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. The children are regularly assessed throughout the year using NFER and accelerated reader ‘star assessment’ which informs teachers of the attainment of the children. This can support interventions or challenges to ensure the children reach their full potential in reading. 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.

Cultural Capital

At Church Lane, our children are equipped with the necessary skills to become excellent communicators. Through reading, they will develop an appreciation of the nuances of language that make ours so interesting. As reading is so integral to becoming independent learners and creative and informative writers, we aim to ensure that our children are given the best start possible in becoming valued members of society. 

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At Wistaston Church Lane Academy, we WRITE like AUTHORS!

We see writing as a fundamental life skill and intrinsic to our children’s educational achievement. Therefore, we place a strong emphasis on the teaching and learning of all aspects of the subject including: composition, vocabulary, spelling, handwriting, punctuation and grammar. All children are encouraged to become creative and fluent writers, who are able to communicate their ideas effectively and express their thoughts, feelings and ideas in a range of contexts.

Quality texts are used to inspire children and build a wide and varied knowledge of authors and genres. Pupils use these to shape their own writing, as they learn new skills to help them plan, draft and organise their work in a variety of ways. They are encouraged to become reflective learners, who are able to proofread, edit and improve their own work, and take pride in producing high quality writing.

We believe that children should be given the opportunity to write for a range of purposes, which will enable them to become active members of the wider community, both now and in the future. We aim to instil a love of writing that lasts a lifetime and encourage pupils of all backgrounds and abilities to recognise themselves as successful writers.


At Wistaston Church Lane Academy, follow a programme of study called Pathways to Write by The Literacy Company. This is supplemented with our own additional units of work. 

We use a text-based approach to the teaching and learning of writing, providing a context for children to base their work around. Each half term, year groups are provided with a high-quality picture book as their focus. They explore the book using a range of activities which develop their understanding of the text as well as their writing skills. 

At the start of a unit, pupils will engage in a warm-up write to assess their previously taught skills. They will then learn a range of punctuation and grammar skills, which they will apply to various written tasks that allow them to master each one in a range of contexts.  Each unit culminates in the children producing an extended piece of writing which will bring together all of the skills they have learnt.  They will then go through a short editing process.

Spelling/Phonics and Handwriting lessons are taught discretely.


At Wistaston Church Lane Academy, units of work for writing are designed to be inspiring and engaging, allowing pupils an opportunity to express themselves in a variety of ways. High quality teaching and learning in the subject means that a good level of progress is evident throughout, and that all needs are catered for.

Pupils will:

  • Develop an appreciation for a range of writing styles and genres.
  • Understand the process of writing and take pride in producing high quality work.
  • Learn skills and concepts that allow them to write with accuracy and meaning, including aspects of spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • Broaden their vocabulary to express themselves clearly and effectively.
  • Use their imaginations and adopt a range of strategies to write with creativity.
  • Reflect on their own writing and that of others, and revise their work where necessary.
  • Become confident writers, who feel empowered to communicate their ideas successfully for a range of different purposes.

Cultural Capital

At Wistaston Church Lane Academy, we recognise that writing is an essential life skill, and as such, we ensure that pupils leave school with the following characteristics for a successful future.

Pupils will:

  • Have an awareness of purpose and audience when undertaking a written task, and have the ability to adapt their writing accordingly.
  • Plan their writing to meet the needs of the reader and their overall aim and purpose.
  • Have the confidence to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas through writing in a range of contexts.
  • Express themselves clearly, accurately, concisely and effectively to evoke a desired response.
  • Use a rich and varied vocabulary.
  • Communicate successfully with others, allowing them to make a positive contribution to their local and global communities.
  • Gain a love and appreciation for the power of the written word and use this to inspire and share with others.

What is phonics?

Most parents of young children were taught to read using a different strategy to the one that is used today. This can make it difficult for parents to know how to best support their children as they begin their early reading journey. As parents play such a vital role in developing their children’s early reading skills, we feel that it is our duty as a school to support our parents to do so by providing them with the key information used to teach reading in school so that they can continue to encourage this learning at home.

In UK primary schools today, reading is taught in a variety of ways, but phonics lessons play a fundamental role in developing a variety of early reading skills. At Church Lane, we use a synthetic systematic phonics programme called ‘Rocket Phonics’ to deliver our phonics sessions. These sessions take place on a daily basis in Foundation and Year 1 classes.

During these daily sessions, children are taught to recognise letters and to associate them with the sounds that they make. Pupils spend two consecutive days focusing on one sound in order to ensure that they are secure in their understanding. On the first day, children are taught to recognise a letter, to associate it with a specific sound and to apply these skills in order to read words containing the sound. For example, they will learn to recognise the letter ‘n’, to accurately pronounce the ‘nnn’ sound and to read words phonetically decodable words such as ‘pin’. In the following session, children are supported to apply their knowledge of this sound in order to write phonetically decodable words themselves. Children cover two new sounds per week during their phonics session and continuously recap previously taught sounds. After learning individual letter sounds, they later progress to learning sounds made up of two or three letters (eg. ‘sh’ or ‘igh’). One day a week, children are taught to recognise and accurately spell words that they cannot phonetically decode and must be able to recognise and spell from memory (eg. ‘I’ and ‘the’).

The aspect of reading in which children learn to recognise a letter and to read phonetically decodable words is referred to as ‘decoding’. Whilst this is an essential reading skill, the ability to comprehend what has been read is equally important. We therefore devote time in every phonics session to reading story extracts and discussing their meaning, so that children are consistently supported and encouraged to develop these two essential skills alongside each other.

In order to support to best support your child at home, you should encourage them to develop both of these skills. In order to support them to develop their decoding skills, it is important that they are given the opportunity to hold books independently, reading from left to right and to ‘sound out’ words phonetically in order to read them (eg. C-A-T. CAT). In order to support their comprehension skills, it is important that they are given the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of a story whilst reading it. For example, by pausing every so often to discuss what is happening in the story so far or how the characters might be feeling. Looking at the illustrations and using these to

make predictions about the text and support their understanding is also fundamental in developing comprehension.

At the end of year 1, children take part in a government assessment known as the phonics screening check. This check assesses their ability to apply their phonic knowledge to decode a variety of real words and pseudo words. Children who pass the phonics screening check no longer participate in discrete phonics lessons, but continue to build on their phonic knowledge throughout each year group during reading, writing and SPAG sessions. Children who do not pass the phonics screening check continue to participate in discrete phonics sessions in the form of interventions to address any gaps in their phonic knowledge. After the phonics screening check takes place, you will receive a letter informing you of your child’s score. Children who do not initially pass the screening check resit the test in year 2.

If you would like to find out more about our chosen phonics programme, please watch the video below. If you would like to find out more about how to support your child with their phonics and early reading, phonics information sessions are held each year in the autumn term. All parents of Reception and Year 1 children will be notified when these are due to take place.

Please find a list of common exception words below. These are the words that children are unable to decode phonetically and are taught to recognise and spell by sight and memory. They have been divided into colours so that you can see how they correspond with the reading books that we sent home. For example, a child reading pink books should be secure in their ability to recognise and spell all of the pink words before moving onto the following book band. (Please note that we also take into account your child's ability to decode and to comprehend a text when choosing an appropriate book band.)

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