Collingwood's Approach to the Teaching of Phonics and Reading

At Collingwood, we strive to ensure that all pupils become functionally literate individuals. We want them to be as independent as possible and to read both habitually and for pleasure.  The teaching of phonics and opportunities to improve fluency and comprehension skills are, therefore, explicitly planned into the pupils’ programme of study.

We aim to:

  • enable pupils to read to the best of their ability;
  • provide children with a range of ‘tools’ to interpret texts;
  • develop an interest in books and reading for pleasure, including enjoying a wide variety of texts such as fiction, non-fiction and poetry;
  • ensure children can read with confidence, accuracy, fluency and understanding;
  • support children to become independent readers, applying these skills across the curriculum;
  • use books as a source of inspiration for their own imagination and creativity;
  • enable children to engage in the next stage in their education;
  • liaise with families to ensure consistency between home and school.


To achieve our aims, phonics provision at Collingwood is embedded within a whole school, language rich environment. High frequency, subject-specific words are displayed in classrooms to support our sight readers and to complement phonics, with a view to improving fluency. All teaching and support staff are trained in the delivery of the Twinkl phonics programme. This is a nationally recognised scheme, designed to give pupils a solid base, upon which they can build as they progress through school. The delivery of the teaching of phonics is therefore uniform across all subject areas and reading interventions.

We are sensitive to the needs of our pupils and understand that all will progress at different rates. Pupils at Collingwood are, therefore, explicitly taught phonics until they are functionally literate, irrespective of their age or key stage. They experience daily activities that allow them to practise and master the alphabetical code and the blending and segmenting of sounds, including phonics lessons within the primary phase and beyond for as long as is required. The Twinkl approach is multisensory, including the use of physical actions and song to reinforce learning for pupils with different preferences and needs.

Reading Scheme

To accompany the Twinkl phonics programme, we use the Rhino Readers reading scheme at Collingwood, to bridge the gap between decoding and fluency. It provides pupils with books that include the sounds they have been taught until they have mastered them. We use physical books in school and encourage parents / carers to support their child’s reading at home by accessing the eBook library or the Rhino Readers app. 

A support guide to alphabet names and sounds can be found here.

Reading for Pleasure

When ready, reading for pleasure at Collingwood is informed by the reading age scores that pupils attain on Accelerated Reader (AR). This helps teachers manage and monitor independent reading practice: pupils choose books at the recommended levels, read them at their own pace and, when finished, take a short quiz on the AR website. This programme is best suited to, although not exclusively used by, pupils within the secondary phase. 

Parents and carers are encouraged to read AR books with pupils at home. Instructions on the use of AR, including the link to the school’s platform, can be found here.