Phonics is the building blocks to reading; the tools the children need to decode words. Comprehension is the understanding of the words they are reading.

Once a child has mastered phonics, they are moved onto the scheme Cracking Comprehension. We deliberately chose this as it has high quality texts from such authors as Dick-King Smith, Michael Morpurgo and William Shakespeare. The software also enables teachers to visually explain the process of scanning through a text to find evidence and how to convert that into a full answer.

There are 18 units for each year group that are taught over two weeks. During each unit, children will read the text aloud, read it silently, read it with a partner, echo read, listen to the teacher read and listen to the software’s audio version. A large portion of time is spent looking at new or challenging vocabulary and giving the children strategies to comprehend these words.

The 2016 National SATs introduced eight content domains by which children would be assessed. We decided that explicit teaching of these content domains would equip our children with the disciplinary knowledge needed to develop as readers and deepen their understanding. Each half term there is a whole school focus on each of these content domains with teachers using the DSAT Teach Simply model as the pedagogical approach.

Teachers also use resources form HeadStart Reading. We chose these activities because they felt they were well designed and thought; they test and extend the children’s understanding of each content domain.


“Reading is fabulous, we do it every day!” – Lexi FS2