We have a consistent, highly structured and systematic approach for teaching reading, writing, speaking and listening from Foundation Stage to Year 6. It initially lays strong foundations in both oracy and literacy with Foundation Stage pupils and goes on to provide systematic teaching throughout the primary years. Our approach is evidence based and has been proven to raise standards in reading and writing.


Our lessons provide a wide range of opportunities for children to explore and develop phonic knowledge and comprehension strategies, develop vocabulary and spelling, improve grammatical awareness, analyse whole texts and develop writing in a wide range of genres.


We implement FFT Success for All Phonics which is a complete systematic synthetic (SSP) programme that has been validated by the Department for Education.


Why is our approach so good?

It is more than just reading and writing we embed effective cooperative learning behaviours and positively support and celebrate pupil engagement.  


How do things work in our academy?

In Foundation Stage, our children learn Phonics and early reading skills. Children in years 1-6 have an English lesson each day that allows for extensive practice of reading and thinking skills, as well as providing time for effective writing.


To ensure that pupils progress in line with their ability:-


  • Pupils are assessed on their reading comprehension.
  • Pupils are grouped according to their reading ability.
  • Pupils are taught in ability groups across the school.
  • Pupils are assessed approximately every eight weeks and re-grouped if necessary.


How do pupils learn to read at Hawes Side Academy?

When children start at Hawes Side Academy

Our curriculum is aligned to the Early Years Foundation Stage framework.

It helps ensure that your pupils enter Year 1 with:

  • Age related language, reading, writing and mathematical concepts and skills
  • A basic knowledge of science and the world around them
  • The social skills, self-reliance and confidence necessary to succeed in primary school.


Key features

  • It provides age-appropriate activities that focus on the areas of learning and development set by the early years curriculum.
  • Based around the 16 fortnightly themes.
  • It incorporates a systematic synthetic phonics programme, using specially developed phonetically decodable stories.


How is the Foundation Stage day structured?

  • Each day consists of the same elements. Over the year our children cover 16 themes that run for two weeks each.
  • It is designed to be a spiral curriculum: children build their knowledge and expertise through repeated exposure to a concept or continual practice of a skill.


  • Key elements that are repeated each day:
    • Greetings, Readings and Writings
      We will invite children to begin the day with reading, writing, and other meaningful activities.
    • Let's Get Together
      In this session we will bring your pupils together to talk about the theme. It encourages their oral language development and their sense of community.
    • Rhyme Time
      We will use rhymes, songs, and games related to the theme, to improve vocabulary and phonemic awareness.
    • Story Tree
      Using stories, we will encourage pupils to make predictions, recall events, and learn new vocabulary.
    • Learning Labs
      A range of child-initiated activities involving problem solving, exploring materials, experimenting, observing, and recording.
    • 15 Minute Maths
      This connects maths to everyday life. All the activities centre on an interactive calendar display.
    • Snack/Outside/Gross Motor Play
      By interacting with their peers and adults, our pupils will develop their interpersonal skills. It also promotes self-help and gross motor skills.
    • Sound Steps
      We will use specially-developed stories to practice beginning reading skills. It exposes pupils to phonics through letter-sound connections, blending, and segmenting.
    • Math Mysteries
      This session enables pupils to construct their own understanding of mathematics. It encourages an awareness of numbers and develops maths skills.
    • Let's Daydream
      A chance to engage children's imagination and story-telling skills, while introducing poetry and prose.
    • Write Away
      Using carefully developed creative or theme-related topics, you will encourage pupils to practice their emerging writing skills.
    • Let's Think About It
      We will reinforce the skills and concepts that your pupils have learned during the day.
    • Home Link - Using tasks that link learning to life outside school, this encourages each pupil's family to be involved in their education.


English and reading in KS1

We aim to ensure pupils achieve English National Curriculum reading and writing at the KS1 Expected Standard.

Our english curriculum will help you get your child off to a successful start with reading and writing. It will build upon their existing knowledge of synthetic phonics from Foundation Stage, but will also help them develop a significant vocabulary of words they recognise by sight.  Best of all, it will encourage a love of reading, as we use a rich variety of teacher-read books.


Key features

  • Children are assessed and regrouped according to their reading level approximately every eight weeks – this ensures they are always taught at the right level and can see their own development.
  • There is a strong focus on phonetic awareness, speaking and listening, comprehension, and text level skills.


How are our KS1 lessons structured?

Each lesson is built around four basic components:

  1. FastTrack Phonics
    It will build your child’s phonetic awareness by using colourful mnemonic pictures, integrated with alliterative phrases, sounds, and letter cues. Fun elements, such as games, ensure it remains enjoyable, as the fast-paced systematic instruction reviews and introduces sounds and their written representations.
  2. Shared Stories
    It uses vibrant storybooks to engage your child in practicing their decoding, fluency, and comprehension skills. New vocabulary is introduced then children are guided as they decode the story with their partners. The teacher will also lead whole-class discussions that encourage higher-level thinking skills. These will stimulate your children’s' oral language and cognitive development, as they become confident, enthusiastic readers.
  3. Story Telling and Retelling (STaR)
    Teachers will read both fiction and non-fiction books interactively with children as part of daily lessons. Using partner talk and response, they will start to develop your child’s early skills of predicting, clarifying and questioning, to support the development of effective reading strategies.
  4. Writing
    In addition to a daily supported short writing task, in every third lesson the teacher will guide children through a longer writing activity that is related to the theme of both the Shared Story and STaR books. Your child will think, speak, and work collaboratively with others as they go through the writing process.


English and reading in KS2

Our curriculum is aligned to Key Stage 2 of the English national curriculum.

Our lessons will enable your child to enjoy reading and will create fluent and confident readers by the end of year 6.


Key features

  • Our lessons supports and challenges both basic and more competent readers.
  • It uses a wide range of carefully selected literature including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. In most cases, your child will read the whole book, giving them 'reading stamina' – something that Government advisers have found lacking in the past.
  • Assessment opportunities are built into the lesson.


The co-operative learning style

Our learnig is driven by co-operative learning strategies that put your child at the heart of their own learning. Each individual lesson follows the ‘Cycle of Effective Instruction’, which encourages children to teach their learning to partners and teammates, in order to consolidate their own understanding.


Here are the key benefits of using co-operative learning in the classroom:

  • The supportive team environment encourages children to take responsibility and participate towards a common goal, so they keep engaged and maintain focus.
  • It allows team members to teach each other what they know – a really powerful way of learning.
  • On-going team discussion enables children to use and develop their skills in speaking and listening.
  • Children are given the opportunity to develop their ideas as part of the team process. This develops the self-help strategies that enable them to work independently and with confidence.


How it works in KS2?

We use a wide range of literature, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry to provide well-thought-out, structured teaching that will help you stimulate discussion about the text.

This will be added to with highly structured writing activities based on the texts, with the opportunity for extra-extended writing interspersed between them, including grammar activities.


How can parents/families help?

Reading Together

Many of our older children often spend time with our youngest readers helping them develop their reading skills, this is something that can be replicated at home with siblings.



The greatest gift you can give to a child is to read to them

We all know that reading opens the door to all learning.

A child who reads a lot will become a good reader.

A good reader will be able to read challenging material.

A child who reads challenging material is a child who will learn.

The more a child learns the more a child wants to find out.


10 Tips on Hearing Your Child Read

As parents you are your child’s most influential teacher with an important part to play in helping your child to learn to read.

Here are some suggestions on how you can help to make this a positive experience.

1. Choose a quiet time

2. Make reading enjoyable

3. Maintain the flow

4. Be positive

5. Success is the key

6. Visit the School Library – Pick a book that will encourage your child to get into the habit of reading a book for enjoyment’s sake.

7. Regular practice – Try to read with your child on most school days. ‘Little and often’ is best. Teachers have limited time to help your child with reading.

8. Communicate – Use the contact book and try to communicate regularly with positive comments and any concerns.

9. Talk about the books

10. Variety is important

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