Reading and Phonics

Reading and Phonics

Learning to read is a fundamental skill for life. In reception children are taught the sounds made by individual, pairs and clusters of letters. They read graded books with strongly patterned language and picture cues. In reception class and in Year 1, children have regular phonics sessions that assist them to recognise letters, understand the sound they make and blend these sounds together to create words. Letter-sound correspondence is taught through a highly structured synthetic phonic approach. Alongside this they learn to instantly recognise by sight the most common words in the English language. Many of these words are not phonically regular and learning them by heart is vital as they appear so regularly in all the texts they encounter.

To teach beginning readers about letter-sound correspondence we use a government publication called Letters and Sounds’, alongside a commercial scheme called ‘Jolly Phonics’. The aim of this scheme is to equip children with the phonic knowledge and skills they need to become fluent readers by the age of seven. It is a six phased scheme which is taught in Reception through to Year Two.

Reception – Revising Phase 1, learning Phases 2, 3 and starting 4

Year 1 – Phase 4 and 5

Year 2 – Phase 6

Jolly phonics mnemonics are used when introducing the children to individual letter sounds.

Our colour banded  reading scheme incorporates a range of books from different highly evaluated series introduces children to new words gradually.  We use a selection of schemes including Oxford Reading Tree, Big Cat Phonics, Rigby Star and Project X. These books are leveled into colour bands so that children can progress through the books in levels of difficulty. Reading deliberately patterned, simple, repetitive grammatical structures helps children to achieve early success.

Learning to decode text accurately is just the start of the reading journey.  Reading is also about comprehension and being able to discuss and interpret meaning from the text. We use an assessment system called Nelson benchmarking. This system enables us to accurately assess levels of comprehension and reading ability so that children are reading on the correct book band colour.

Reading journals – All pupils have a reading journal. For young children this serves as a dialogue between the class teacher and parents about:

  • the book the child has read
  • what page they have got up to
  • how they read
  • how well matched the book was to the child’s ability level
  • any words they found hard

as children progress through the school reading journals are kept as part of guided reading and comprehension lessons. Pupils are encouraged to access our school library and also bring books in from home to use as personal reading books for during the day.


Our new school library is currently under construction. A dedicated team of parents and pupils are being led by Miss Line to create a wonderful space where children can enjoy a range of fiction and non fiction texts as well as a space to research using ICT in an environment conducive to reading and enjoyment of reading. Watch this space for photos in the future!