At Chelsea Heights Primary School we understand how vital it is for students to cross the bridge to fluent reading to support self-esteem and give the best chance to develop a love of reading and learning. CHPS use evidence-informed methods to ensure all students succeed and thrive in this area.


Explicit and systematic teaching of fundamental knowledge and skills is at the centre of our approach to provide the best possible environment for all students develop the ability to read, spell and write. Students have a right to understand the rules and generalisations that govern the English language.


We have followed what the science states around literacy instruction and understand Foundation – Level 2 is where the fundamental skills of reading must be embedded, which then leads to sustained improvement and growth through to the later years. 


Reading is made of 6 key areas underpinned by oral language:

  1. Phonological Awareness
  2. Phonics
  3. Heart Words
  4. Fluency
  5. Vocabulary
  6. Comprehension

Our structured reading and writing approach includes:

  • Phonological awareness and phonics skill screening on arrival
  • Explicit teaching of phonological awareness and phonics
  • Automaticity training in the recognition of irregular words (heart words) / high frequency words
  • Guided practice to improve fluency
  • Vocabulary development. Including structured morphology from Foundation to Level 6
  • Engagement in a knowledge rich curriculum
  • Explicit teaching of comprehension strategies
  • Explicit teaching of comprehension questioning techniques.


Fluency is defined as the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. In order to understand what they read, children must be able to read fluently whether they are reading aloud or silently. When reading aloud, fluent readers read in phrases and add intonation appropriately. Their reading is smooth and has expression.



Vocabulary is one of the five major components of reading and is linked to academic success. Vocabulary instruction provides essential background knowledge for reading and writing. If students are taught words before they read them in a text, they have a better chance of comprehending what has been read. Vocabulary must be taught explicitly with the intention of improving comprehension and writing.



Spelling activities involve students spelling, blending and segmenting words. Student are also explicitly taught the 6 syllable types and morphology (pre-fixes, suffixes) and the spelling rules that govern them. 


Spelling activities are not: Alphabetical order, finding words in word sleuths, writing out sentences. These types of activities are grammar or writing activities. Word meanings and orally putting words in context is a vocabulary lesson.  A spelling lesson should not be any longer than 30 minutes.


Morphology looks at the internal structure of the words and their make up.  For example, the word ‘shopping’ has the base word ‘shop’ and the end of the word (suffix) being ‘ing’.  By becoming familiar with various base words, prefixes and suffixes, students start to see patterns and are confident to make more accurate spelling attempts in their writing. 


Etymology is the study of word origins and how they have changed throughout history.  Often when students understand the origin of a word, they begin to see patterns emerge that assist them in spelling.  For example ‘spect’ is latin, meaning ‘to see’ and appears in words such as ‘inspect’ or ‘spectator’.  Having a strong understanding of word origin enables students to finely tune their spelling and understanding of more complex words in the English language. 


Through both explicit teaching and exploration of the English language, students are able to learn to spell and understand a wide range of rich vocabulary to support them as readers and writers. 



At CHPS students are systematically and explicitly taught the fundamentals of writing from letter formation,  handwriting, spelling, sentence construction and paragraphing through to complex writing. During writing lessons, students are involved in a range of writing experiences linked to their learning including modelled, shared, and independent writing. 


 Within writing lessons teachers:


  • provide direct and explicit instruction in order to improve our students as writers
  • ensure students write across a range of genres and for different purposes
  • give regular feedback
  • use consistent school-wide approaches to writing.