Reading at Marshside Primary
At Marshside Primary School we use the Letters and Sounds Phonics Programme for our phonics teaching.

Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for Practitioners and Teachers. For more detailed information, visit the Letters and Sounds website.
Phase Year group Knowledge and skills
1 Nursery &
Reception Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting
2 Reception Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions
3 Reception The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language
4 Reception No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
5 Year 1 Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
6 Year 2 At this stage many children will be reading longer and less familiar texts independently and with increasing fluency. The shift from learning to read to reading to learn takes place and children read for information and for pleasure. Children need to learn some of the rarer GPCs and be able to use them accurately in their reading.

Visit the Department for Education and Skills website to view the ‘Letters and Sounds – Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics’ documentation.
We often use resources from to support the teaching of phonics from phase 1-5. Visit the website to view a sample of these activities and access some useful information to support your child’s phonic learning.
At Marshside we use the series of ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ books to support independent reading. Biff, Chip and Kipper are loved by millions of children and are frequently ranked in the top ten of children’s favourite characters.
Created by Roderick Hunt and Alex Brychta, these stories are guaranteed to hook your children into reading as they follow Biff, Chip and Kipper on their magical adventures. Not only that, they are perfectly matched to the new National Curriculum too!

 Packed full of humour, drama, detailed illustrations and endearing characters to motivate every child
 Perfect for the new National Curriculum
 Carefully levelled to make sure every child makes real progress with their reading
 Packed full of support, including revised notes to help with reading at home
Once our children are confident with ORT characters and are able to sound and blend cvc words and recognise some high frequency words, they are moved onto coloured book banding books. This is to allow us to intersperse our main reading scheme with other schemes for breadth and variety
Organising books in a gradient of challenge enables us to select texts to cater for the range of attainments within a class.
Colour book bands provide a structure within a range of fiction and non-fiction titles from different reading series …this enables teachers to offer children a rich and varied experience of successful text reading (taken from ‘Which Books and Why: Using Book Bands and book levels for guided reading in Key Stage 1’)

At Marshside we the Collins Big Cat reading series to support the teaching of reading during small group guided sessions. This scheme follows the same coloured book banding as ORT.
This scheme exposes children to a rich variety of high quality stories and non-fiction written and illustrated by authors and artists who know what children love. They are indistinguishable from the books children choose to read in bookshops and libraries, with themes of universal interest for all primary school children.

Guide to coloured book bands

Lilac level
Lilac level books are wordless books that tell a story through pictures alone. They help children to develop speaking and listening skills through creating and telling stories.
Pink level
Pink level is the very first level of reading books which has words. The number of words increases slightly as your child progresses through the reading level.
Red level
Red level books have a slightly increased number of words, an increase in the number of pages and slightly more complex story lines.
The growing complexity in the story lines is reinforced through the development of inference and prediction using visual literacy.
Yellow level
New learning in Yellow level books includes a slightly increased number of words and a move away from familiar experiences.
Yellow books require some inferencing skills from the reader, e.g. for humour, and have more variation in sentence structure, including sentences with more than one clause.
Blue level
Blue level books have a slightly increased number of words and some variation in sentence beginnings. They may use ellipses and other punctuation. The story lines are more complex, including more than one event, and the stories are less dependent on picture cues.
Green level
The number of words increases slightly in Green level books. Stories have a wider variety of characters and events which develop over a number of pages. Sentences may include lists of things or actions, and adverbs are used frequently to begin sentences. The books begin to use capital letters to support reading with expression.

Orange level
At Orange level, the page count increases to challenge and encourage reading stamina. There is an increased use of dialogue to encourage reading with expression.
Orange Level books introduce some complex sentences (use of ‘if’, ‘so’ and ‘because’) and include italics to show emphasis. Slightly more literary language is used. Children are increasingly encouraged to infer meaning from the text in order to gain full enjoyment from the story.
Turquoise level
Turquoise level books include an increasing range of adjectives and more descriptive verbs to replace ‘said’.
Turquoise level books include words chosen for appropriateness and impact rather than decodability, with more extended descriptions. Paragraphs begin to develop and more unusual and challenging vocabulary is included.
Purple level
Purple level books include an increased proportion of longer sentences, with a more challenging vocabulary. Some Purple books have short chapters to challenge and encourage reading stamina.
Purple level books include longer and more complex sentences with the inclusion of complex (i.e. ‘when’) and simple (i.e. ‘and’) connectives. Story features such as plot, character and setting are developed in more detail, and the text in the non-fiction books is presented in a variety of ways.
Gold level
Gold level books include more sophisticated and challenging vocabulary, including word play and the introduction of figurative language. Some Gold books have longer chapters for more sustained reading.
Children reading at this level are confident independent readers who can tackle increasingly complex language, story structures and text layout.
The growing complexity in the story lines is reinforced through the development of inference and prediction using visual literacy.

White level
In White level books there is a more sophisticated use of narrative voice. Clauses in longer sentences are separated by commas to encourage developing intonation. Some books have longer chapters for more sustained reading.
The stories at White level encourage children to empathise with the characters and consider why they behave as they do, and how they change during the course of the story. The non-fiction books are divided into sections that require more sustained reading and there is increased challenge in the layout of the information.
KS1/2 Lime level
Lime level books include a widening range of writing styles and an increased variation in sentence structure, including –ing clauses and longer sentences with more than two clauses
Children reading at Lime level are able to interpret more sophisticated word plays and puns. The narrator’s voice in a fiction story may be distinguished from the characters’ voice through figurative, idiomatic and literary language. The story is often told through dialogue and action to ‘show’ instead of ‘tell’ as the plot develops.
Copper level
At this level, children should be able to:
• Read independently using phonics, syntax, context and word structure when reading for meaning
• Identify how fiction and non-fiction texts are organised on paper and screen
• Share and compare reasons for reading preference, extending the range of books read.
At this level, children should be able to:
• Read silently for preference for most of the time
• Identify different text types including mixed genre
• Critically evaluate the usefulness of the text
At this level, children should be able to:
• Adapt reading style to suit activity , e.g. close reading for non-fiction
• Understand how paragraphs and chapters are used to collect, order and build up ideas
• Respond critically to issues raised in stories and relate them to their own experience
At this level, children should be able to:
• Select when to adapt reading style to suit activity, e.g. scanning and skimming to gain an overview, closer reading to infer detailed information
• Explore narrative order including sub-plots and organisation of information texts.
• Identify a range of social, moral and cultural issues in a range of texts
At this level, children should be able to:
• Decode new and unfamiliar words and deduce meaning from the context
• Recognise how authors create different effects.
• Develop a questioning, active response to texts based on personal experience and empathy
• Understand how response can change with reading over time
At this level, children should be able to:
• Develop an active and critical response to texts with a growing awareness of multiple possible themes and meanings.
• Understand how perceptions change over time with reading
• Recognise how authors use sophisticated devices to influence readers

Children are routinely book band assessed to ensure that they are reading at the correct level. Teachers look at decoding skills and comprehension skills to assess what strategies the children are applying independently.

Children from Y3 upwards who have reached Lime band are encouraged to choose books from their class library to ensure that they are continuing to receive a broad reading experience and that they have the opportunity of encountering traditional and modern classics.

A word of caution!
You will be doing your child no favours if you rush them through books. It is not a race, it is a journey! Children learn to read at different rates just as they learn to walk, dress themselves etc. at different rates. Reading must not be treated as a competition. If children are rushed through the books they will not achieve the enjoyment and understanding necessary. Books that they find too difficult will soon put them off reading!
Things to Remember
Do try to share a book with your child every day.
Little and often is more beneficial than a long session once a week.
Think about how long you are reading for – the amount of reading time shouldn’t exceed your child’s span of attention.
Pick your timing carefully- It’s best not to start if your child is tired.
Every child is an individual- try not to compare your child’s progress with other children or with brothers and sisters.
“Parents can instill a love of reading before a child goes to school and deepen that love of reading as the child grows up”
Enjoy reading with your child and help them become lifelong readers.