Thornton Primary School

Thornton Primary School

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Phonics and Reading

All children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 have daily phonics lessons. Pupils are taught in phonics phase groups each morning for a period of approximately 20 minutes. The groups are reviewed regularly to ensure all children are working at the appropriate phase.


The 'Letters and Sounds' Programme is used throughout EYFS and Key Stage 1 to support the delivery of phonics lessons. Staff tailor lessons to meet the requirements of the groups of children they are working with so that all children are able to make the best progress possible. This may mean that sometimes mnemonics are used to support children's acquisition and understanding of sounds.


There are six phases within the Letters and Sounds programme:


  • Phase 1 – Activities are divided into seven aspects. Environmental Sounds, Instrumental Sounds, Body Sounds, Rhythm and Rhyme, Alliteration, Voice Sounds and finally Oral Blending and Segmenting.
  • Phase 2 – Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting sounds into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
  • Phase 3 – The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as “ch”, “oo” and “th” representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
  • Phase 4 – No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
  • Phase 5 – Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
  • Phase 6 – Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters


To support the teaching of letter formation during phonics, a consistent patter is used.


In addition to phonics, all children across school have guided reading sessions each day. Over the course of a week, each child will read with their class teacher as part of a small group and complete reading related activities that support their understanding and knowledge of reading with a focus on decoding words as well as a wide range of comprehension knowledge and skills. In school, we use Pearson's Bug Club Guided Reading texts to ensure that all children have access to high quality reading resources.


Home reading books are initially phonics based when a child is at the earlier stages of acquiring reading knowledge and skills. All phonics reading books that are sent home are linked to the phase and sounds that a child has been learning in phonics lessons. This allows parents/carers to carry out reading with their child that reinforces what they have been taught in school. The majority of our home reading books are Collins Big Cat; these are high quality texts that help ensure children make accelerated progress in reading.


Supporting your child by reading with them as regularly as possible at home makes a notable difference to their academic attainment and progress not only in reading but across the whole curriculum.


At the end of each day, all classes listen to a whole class reading book that further develops the children's passion and lifelong love for reading.