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Birchwood Nursery School

Reading and Phonics

Reading and Core Books

At Birchwood Nursery, we are committed to instilling a love of books, rhymes and stories in all of our children. We know reading is essential for success in all areas of the curriculum and that children who develop good early reading skills are far more likely to become successful, fluent readers who will succeed in all areas of future learning. We aim to enrich and expand children’s vocabulary with a language rich environment not only through engagement in high quality books but by modelling language during shared interactions and encouraging children to develop their imaginative skills to retell and act out stories that are familiar to them.

We have a wide range of books available in all areas of the school for children to enjoy and each classroom has a book area, where children are able to sit with each other or an adult and share a story on a large comfortable sofa. We have a newly established library area and all Nursery children have a dedicated weekly library session to choose a book to take home and share with their family. All children have a reading record book, which parents and staff contribute to, and supports parental engagement.


As a staff, we have chosen a ‘core book’ list, to further support the children in their reading development. Our core books have been chosen for their simple repetitive text and high quality illustrations to capture the children’s attention, so that the experience of reading quickly becomes interactive and the children begin to learn the story as they share the book.

Nursery Core Book List 2023/24

Preschool Core Book List 2023/24

We have also selected a range of 'core rhymes' that we will be frequently sharing with children in the setting.

Nursery Core Rhymes AUTUMN TERM 2023/24

Preschool Core Rhymes AUTUMN TERM 2023/24

Every few weeks, we focus on a different Core Book and you will receive information through Tapestry informing you of the book they are reading and the new vocabulary they are learning.

Reading progression


We follow Letters and Sounds as the basis of our phonics curriculum.

Phase One is the main focus and we concentrate on developing children’s speaking and listening skills and develop these both inside and in the outdoor environment. We encourage children to attune to the sounds around them through playing attention and listening games, music, songs and rhymes. Our core books also help the children to attune into sounds and gain a phonological awareness, many of them develop an awareness of patterns and repetition, as well as rhyme and alliteration.

When children are developmentally ready, we begin teaching children letters sounds (phonemes) and shapes (graphemes) and encouraging them to distinguish between different sounds and segmenting the sounds in words.

 Curriculum Information for Parents

 Click on the links below to see what children are learning in Nursery over the next few weeks and how you can support them at home. 

Academic Year 2023/24

 Curriculum information 8th October 2023

Curriculum information 30th October 2023

Curriculum information 20th November 2023

Curriculum information 8th January 2024

Curriculum information 22nd January 2024

Curriculum information 5th February 2024

Curriculum information 4th Match 2024 

Curriculum information 18th March 2024

Academic Year 2022/23

Curriculum information 10th October 2022 

Curriculum information 31st October 2022

Curriculum information 21st November 2022

 Curriculum information 9th January 2023

Curriculum information 23rd January 2023

Curriculum information 20th February 2023

Curriculum information 6th March 2023

Curriculum information 20th March 2023

Curriculum information 17th April 2023

Curriculum information 15th May 2023

Curriculum information 12th June 2023

Curriculum information 26th June 2023