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Phonics and Reading


In Nursery our children engage in activities to develop sound awareness, in preparation for more formal phonics teaching.  From the start of Reception, we teach ‘phonics’ using the Sounds Write programme. 

In addition to daily Sounds Write phonic lessons, children take part in daily dedicated reading sessions to build their ability to read automatically and fluently using their phonic skills. We use Sounds Write and Dandelion reading books which are carefully matched to our phonics scheme. Once children become fluent with their reading in Year 2, they will be given opportunities to read books that are not Sounds Write or Dandelion readers, so they can apply their phonic skills in ‘real’ contexts. Reading skills are also developed through our cross curricular links where we encourage children to read texts related to the topic being taught.

Our daily English teaching follows a text-based approach using carefully chosen ‘book hooks’. These texts have been selected to be both engaging to children, and to broaden their understanding of a range of experiences and cultures. They are high quality texts recommended by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), which are award winning or written by award winning authors. Children’s comprehension skills are developed through the ‘book hooks’ and in dedicated comprehension lessons.

Reading for pleasure is at the heart of our reading ethos, as we understand the positive impact reading for pleasure has on children’s academic, social and emotional development. We encourage children to read for pleasure in a range of ways; through inviting class reading areas, daily story time sessions, school poetry recitals, visiting our school and local library and visiting author and poetry workshops.


In Early Years we enjoy the same book for a whole week, repeat reading throughout the day to enable children to know the story and related vocabulary really well, so they can retell, role play and reinvent these stories. In Key Stage 1, each year group has a ‘story suitcase’ containing twelve specially chosen stories which they repeat read throughout the year. These texts have again been carefully selected to be both engaging to children, broaden their understanding of a range of experiences and cultures and are also recommended as being high quality, age appropriate texts for children by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education. Weekly ‘book blether’ sessions are enjoyed by all, allowing adults and children the opportunity to share and discuss books in common.

Library Visits

Children across school visit the local library in South Moor every half term. Lisa the Librarian reads us stories, gives us activities to do and we even get to choose our own books to borrow for our class reading areas back at school! We always look forward to our visits to the library! We regularly share links to our ‘Lisa’s Library Reads’ on our Facebook page where Lisa the Librarian suggests books for the children in our school and keeps them in the library just for our school!


The excellent Punctuation Show has provided us with a Parent Guide to Grammar,  It’s  designed to give parents a reference if their children are talking about a term they’re learning about in class.

The Punctuation Show – Parent Guide to Grammar


Helping Your Child With Reading

Sounds Write have some useful hints and tips for parents on their website or follow them on Facebook.

We teach phonics using a linguistic phonics programme called Sounds Write. Sounds Write is a highly structured, multi-sensory approach to teaching children to read and spell. Its structure and simplicity mean learning is accessible to all children and helps them to learn and make progress with reading and spelling.


The four key concepts children are taught are:

1. Letters are symbols that represent sounds

2. Sounds can be spelled using 1, 2, 3 or 4 letters

3. The same sound can be spelled in different ways

4. The same spelling can represent different sounds


The three key skills children learn to master are:

1. Blending

2. Segmenting

3. Phoneme manipulation


In Reception children are taught the ‘initial code’, the sound and letter correspondences for the twenty-six letters of the alphabet.  We reinforce that sounds need to be said very precisely. For example, when we see the spelling <m>, we say /m/ and not ‘muh’. The children use this ‘code’ knowledge, ‘blending’ to read words with two or three sounds in them by saying the sounds and listening for the word these sounds make when blended together. They are taught to ‘say the sounds, read the word’. Children then move onto reading more complex words, such as those with four and five sounds e.g. ‘lamp’ and ‘crisp’.  Alongside reading, writing using the skill of ‘segmenting’ is also taught and practised, reinforcing the sounds that are heard and the letters that are used to spell those words, being taught to ‘say the sounds, write the word’.







​Once the ‘initial code’ has been mastered, children are taught the ‘extended code’, that sounds can be spelled with two and more letters e.g. that <ow>, <oa> and <oe> represent the sound /oa/ in ‘slow’, ‘boat’ and ‘toe’, and that the same spelling can represent different sounds, such as in ‘cough’, ‘bought’, and ‘bough’. When reading, children continue to use the prompt ‘say the sounds, read the word’, looking for the spelling patterns they have been taught to help them read new and less familiar words.  Throughout Key Stage 1, as in Reception, writing the words that have been read is also a fundamental part of each phonics lesson, using the prompt ‘say the sounds, write the word’.

Whilst learning the ‘extended code’ children are also taught to read and write polysyllabic words at an age appropriate level, applying their phonic knowledge to read these more complex words.

To support children’s learning at home, word lists containing a revisit of previously taught ‘code’ are sent home for children to practice blending and segmenting.


Repeated exposure to consistent teaching through the daily 30 minutes phonic lessons, additional reading lessons, and weekly homework challenges, provides our children with opportunities to learn and practise recognising new ‘code’, revisit previously taught ‘code’ and to practice blending and segmenting, supporting them to become confident, fluent readers and writers.

Please access the free Sounds-Write online course for parents to find out how to support your child with their reading.


If you have any further questions about Sounds Write, our approach to phonics, or how to help at home, please see your child’s teacher, Mrs Fagan (English Subject Lead) or Mrs Thompson (Head Teacher).

At the end of Year 1 the statutory Phonics Screening Test (introduced by Department for Education in 2011) takes place to assess achievement in Phonics.


Phonics Teaching


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