Phonics and Reading

‘Reading is the gateway into unfamiliar places, other people and alternative experiences. There are three aspects to reading in schools: the first is the teaching of reading, the second is reading in subjects beyond English and the third is reading for pleasure.’ 

  • Mary Myatt 


Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read and spell.  

Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words.

This first video demonstrates the pronunciation of synthetic phonics. 


In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:


They are taught GPCs. This stands for grapheme phoneme correspondences. This simply means that they are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p.


Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.


Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.

Phonics in Reception

Reception children start learning to read using Jolly Phonics. This is a structured programme and resource for learning that is built around a systematic approach to letter sounds and phonics. Our pupils take part in daily activities in order to learn their sounds that help them to read and write. Children take home a phonically decodable reading book that matches the phonic sounds they are learning. Parents are asked to listen to their child read at home and liaise with their class teacher using their child’s homework diary. We will provide support so that families can feel confident helping their child to read.  


Reading is encouraged through all aspects of the curriculum, and the school has various reading schemes which are used in guided and independent reading. Our reading books have been carefully chosen to ensure they are phonically decodable and are carefully matched to pupils' developing phonic knowledge. SISN children in school have their own login for Reading Eggs our online reading scheme, which includes tasks to develop decoding and reading comprehension skills,

Please speak to your child's class teacher if you would like further information about the curriculum.


Key Stage One (Year 1 and Year 2) 

Year 1 children continue to learn phonics following the Letters and Sounds 
Programme. Children’s home and school reading books match the phonics sounds 
they are learning. Year 1 children take a test to assess their phonetic decoding in June. If children need further support with their phonetic decoding then this support continues into Year 2 and beyond until all children know all of their phonic sounds and can decode words confidently. We identify any children at risk of falling behind and provide small group intervention work to help pupils catch up straight away.  The site has a sound icon next to each phoneme so you and your child can hear what it should sound like when reading. 

When children have completed the phonics programme, they choose from colour banded books that match their reading age.  


Reading for Pleasure

 If you are looking for ideas for a book, click here for inspiration.

‘Let there be half an hour of story time at the end of every day in primary schools. Make this the half hour they all long for, that they don’t want to be over. Let the children go home dreaming of the story, reliving it, wondering.’ 

  • Michael Morpurgo