Robert Ferguson Primary School, East Dale Street, Denton Holme, Carlisle, CA2 5LA 01228 535091
Headteacher Mr Graham Frost BEd (Hons) NPQH MA


The Importance of Reading

At Robert Ferguson Primary school we promote a culture of love for reading. We want your child to love reading - and to read for enjoyment. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as learning to read. Our aim is to teach every pupil to read well, for meaning and for pleasure. Reading is fundamental to pupils' development as independent learners, during their time at school and beyond.

At Robert Ferguson Primary School, we teach children to read using a wide-range of approaches, including:
  • whole-class shared reading;
  • guided group reading;
  • listening to children individually;
  • paired reading - older children support younger children with their reading;
  • e-platform: Children have access to audiobooks and e-books;
  • book choice and availability, we have a huge range of books for children to choose from;
  • everyone Reading in Class (ERIC), including the staff;
  • high quality texts are used in English and our topics;
  • author visits and writing to authors.


Phonics is one of the tools we use to teach early reading. Children learn how to 'read' the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well.

Phonics teaches the link between the words we read/say and the words we write on the page. It teaches how the letters in written words represent the sounds we say in spoken words - this is called decoding.

Say the word CAT.

When we say this word we say lots of sounds very quickly - so quickly we hardly notice the sound each letter makes.

Say the sounds in CAT c/a/t

What sounds can we hear? When we write the word cat we represent each sound with a symbol that we call a letter. C A T

This is phonics!

There is some technical vocabulary that we use for phonics and that your children will use.

Grapheme - the written letter or groups of letters

Phoneme - the sounds that the grapheme makes.

To ensure all children are making progress, they are regularly assessed and supported through bespoke interventions.

We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds.

ULS Summary of Phonics Progression

Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they continue through the book bands so that they can develop their skills and become avid, expert readers. At all stages, children are encouraged to read for pleasure and access books that interest them.

Your Local Libraries

Denton Holme Community Centre - Opening Times | Website

Carlisle Library - Map

Our Local Library Promotion

Supporting Reading at Home

  • Read with your child as often as you can, a little bit every night makes a big difference.
  • Ask questions and talk about the books you are reading.
  • Have fun! There is no right or wrong way to share a story - as long as you and your child are enjoying it.
  • Children learn through modelling; if they see you reading, they are more likely to pick up something to read themselves.
  • Keep reading together. Just because your children are older, it doesn't mean you have to stop sharing stories - perhaps you could try the Harry Potter series or A Series of Unfortunate Events.
  • Every child has a reading record, parents can use this to write a comment about their child's reading at home. This can be about their school reading book or a book they are enjoying at home.

Hearing your child read Phonics - The order in which phonemes are taught