Enhancing reading skills in young learners

Garden Fields JMI School will evaluate an innovation that aims to develop early reading skills through explicit phonological awareness teaching and sight word recognition.


We have noticed a recent trend of pupils entering our school in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) with lower literacy skills than previous years. Many arrive with weak knowledge of rhyme and syllables and with weak alphabetic knowledge and few sight words known for reading. Speech and language specialists and occupational therapists suggest that younger children are not benefiting from sufficient exposure to rhyme, as traditional nursery rhymes are not being told as much by parents.


The intervention aims to teach phonological awareness and reading of sight words. It involves the explicit, multi-sensory teaching of phonological awareness and sight words to supplement the synthetic phonics programme already taught to Year 1 pupils.

Lead school

  • Garden Fields School, St Albans


  • 9 months – report due June 2019

Download the protocol document