School Gateway

Hillbrook Primary School

Be Responsible · Be Resilient · Be Reflective


I am one of the Early Reading leads at Hillbrook, as well as being the Head of Nursery and a class-based teacher. I developed a love for teaching after home educating my children. I have a Master’s in Teaching and Learning, which included researching ways to scaffold pupils’ reading, writing, and metacognition skills.

I’m passionate about Phonics: reading is an essential life skill, and Phonics is key to Early Reading.

I feel fortunate that I get to support and witness children developing into confident readers and writers.

Ms Qaid - Early Reading Lead

I am one of the Early Reading leaders and also a Year 2 teacher. Since I was little, I always wanted to be a teacher. I completed an undergraduate degree in Primary Education with Mathematics and Physical Education specialism. Before going to university, I had not given phonics much thought but after going to a phonics seminar, my interests were piqued! Currently, I have taught phonics for 6 years and love how phonics empowers children to become more confident when reading. Phonics is one of the key foundation stones and unlocks a whole new world for readers!

Miss Corrigan - Early Reading Lead

How is reading taught?

Early Reading

Throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One we follow Little Wandle Letters & Sounds Revised programme which uses a rigorous system of synthetic phonics to teach the technical aspects of using letter/sound knowledge to read and write words. We use decodable books, both at home and school, that are matched to the Little Wandle progression for children to practice their word reading.

In addition to daily phonics lessons, children also have three small group reading practice sessions each week where they are supported to read decodable books that are matched to their phonic stage.  These sessions also develop children’s fluency, prosody (expression) and comprehension.

Wider opportunities are given for children to apply their phonic knowledge throughout the day in speaking, reading and writing, in a language-rich curriculum.

 Phonics and Early Reading Policy



Across the school, we use a talk-based approach using Reading Conversations to develop pupil’s reading comprehension.  Drawing from educational and psychological research, this approach focuses on pupil dialogue whereby the teacher acts as a facilitator, modelling language and supporting and encouraging the children to share and discuss their understanding and opinions of texts more independently. A carefully selected lead text is used as the basis for reading conversations.

Specific reading strategies are actively and consciously taught to support comprehension: Questioning, Clarifying, Summarising, Predicting, Visualising, Connecting. To promote active engagement with a text, pupils are also taught and encouraged to ‘think aloud’ as they’re reading.

We believe that not only do reading conversations increase depth of understanding leading to improved comprehension and enjoyment of a text but they also develop key social skills, encourage children to respect differences of opinion and values collaboration as children work together to bring more meaning to a text.