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EYFS Literacy Education Programme (Statutory)


It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth. It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together. Skilled word reading, taught later, involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (Spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing).



Word Reading (Statutory ELG)

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs.
  • Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending.
  • Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words


Word Reading

  • Help children to read the sounds speedily. This will make sound- blending easier.
  • Ask children to work out the word you say in sounds: for example, h-a-t > hat; sh-o-p > shop.
  • Show how to say sounds for the letters from left to right and blend them, for example, big, stamp.
  • Help children to become familiar with digraphs and trigraphs, such as ‘th’, ‘sh’, ‘ch’, ‘ee’ ‘or’ ‘igh’.
  • Provide opportunities for children to read words containing familiar letter groups: ‘that’, ‘shop’, ‘chin’, ‘feet’, ‘storm’, ‘night’.
  • Listen to children read some longer words made up of letter-sound correspondences they know: ‘rabbit’, ‘himself’, ‘jumping’.
  • Note correspondences between letters and sounds that are unusual or that they have not yet been taught, such as ‘do’, ‘said’, ‘were’.
  • Listen to children read aloud, ensuring books are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge.
  • Do not include words that include letter-sound correspondences that children cannot yet read, or exception words that have not been taught.
  • Children should not be required to use other strategies to work out words.
  • Make the books available for children to share at school and at home. Avoid asking children to read books at home they cannot yet read.


Word Reading (Development Matters)

Read individual letters by saying the sounds for them.

Blend sounds into words, so that they can read short words made up of known letter– sound correspondences. Read some letter groups that each represent one sound and say sounds for them.

Read a few common exception words matched to the school’s phonic programme.

Read simple phrases and sentences made up of words with known letter–sound correspondences and, where necessary, a few exception words. Re-read these books to build up their confidence in word reading, their fluency and their understanding and enjoyment. 


Comprehension (Statutory ELG)

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary.
  • Anticipate – where appropriate – key events in stories.
  • Use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems and during role-play.



  • Make previously read books available for children to share at school and at home.
  • Discuss books read in class.
  • Make predictions on books by asking what happens next.
  • Talk about characters in stories they have been read.
  • Talk about story settings in stories they have been read.


Comprehension (Development Matters)

Re-read known books to build children’s confidence in word reading, their fluency and their understanding and enjoyment.