Phonics and Reading

Teaching Reading at Lord Blyton School.


Strategies used to teach reading

At Lord Blyton we use a variety of approaches to teach children to read.

One of the ways we teach children to read words is through phonics. We use the phases of Letters and Sounds to ensure our children become familiar with phonics. We use Jolly Phonics in the Early Years to support Letters and Sounds.

Letters and Sounds are broken down into 6 phases which are taught throughout nursery, reception and Key Stage 1 (year 1 and 2) the children’s phonic development is tracked individually by the school and where gaps develop phonic intervention is planned and delivered.

Children have discrete teaching of phonics for 15-20 minutes a day in the reception class, year 1 and year 2. The children are then encouraged and given opportunities to apply their skills in their reading and writing. If they are identified as requiring intervention this will usually be on top of whole class daily teaching.


Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One (Nursery/Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, 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 Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

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, and jump.

Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)

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 Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.



The teachers use a variety of resources to deliver the phonic sessions but make them interactive and exciting. The lessons are planned so there is revision of previous sounds, new sounds introduced and games and activities to reinforce the sounds. Resources used include Jolly Phonics, Mr Thorne Does Phonics using ICT, whiteboard games and activities.

We also use Oxford Reading Tree Phonic books which are linked to the different phases and sounds. Flash cards are used at times and will be sent home to familiarise children with the sounds they are learning.

At home you can use lots of resources that can be found on the internet and downloaded. All you need to know is the phase your child is working at and you can use the table above to help you identify where they are or ask the class teacher. Your children should also be able to tell you which sounds they are working on in class.

Phonics teaching does not automatically stop once the children reach year 3. Some children will need to continue learning their letters and sounds but it may not be a daily lesson as it is in reception, year 1 and 2.


Pictorial Cues

The children are also taught to use the pictures to give them clues about the story or words being read. Some children are visual learners and use the pictures well to gain an insight into the words they might be reading.

High Frequency Words

There are words that we refer to as high frequency words. These are the words that children read often and make up the majority of the word we read in our language such as and, the, of, off, to. Some of these words can’t be sounded out using phonics so we teach the children to recognise them on sight. Children often use flash cards to learn these words.

Reading Books

Children are sent home reading books each week. We do not follow one reading scheme in school instead we have a number of reading schemes which are organised into national curriculum levels these including Oxford Reading Tree, Oxford Phonic Sounds Books,  This means that the children can experience a wide range of different types of books that are all graded at an appropriate reading level.


Class teachers and classroom assistants change reading books for the children. Each child has a home/school reading record that they keep with their home reading book. We ask parents to read regularly with the children and comment whenever possible.

Children are heard read in school. They may read a different book to the one sent home so that they are having a wide range of reading experiences. Teachers keep their own professional notes about individual children’s reading.

Children also have planned guided reading where they read in groups regularly. Guided reading books are stored in the intervention room and are levelled to the national curriculum. In guided reading sessions teachers will often give the children more challenging books so that they are challenging their reading ability. Guided reading books remain in school and are not sent home.

As well as teaching children to read it is also essential that we teach children to read for pleasure so that they see the enjoyment of reading.


Reading for pleasure

Children who say they enjoy reading for pleasure are more likely to score well on reading assessments compared to pupils who said they enjoyed reading less

There is some evidence to show that reading for pleasure is a more important determinant of children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status

It can have a positive impact on pupils’ emotional and social behaviour and it has a positive impact on text comprehension and grammar.

What works in improving independent reading?

An important factor in developing reading for pleasure is providing choice – choice and interest are highly related. This is why we also encourage the children to use the school library so that they can choose their own books as well as having their structured reading book. It may mean that the library book is harder than the reading book and they will require some support reading it or you may have to read it to them.

Parents and the home environment are essential to the early teaching of reading and fostering a love of reading; children are more likely to continue to be readers in homes where books and reading are valued.

The Department for Education asked a group of teachers and librarians how they promote wider reading of novels in their schools. This is what they told them.

English subject leaders promote wider reading of novels by:

  • Reading themselves – being role models and keeping abreast of new fiction for pupils of different ages
  • fostering strong links with the school library/librarian
  • maintaining a calendar of literary events
  • giving book tokens/books as rewards or prizes
  • providing ideas for parents to promote reading at home.

Teachers at Lord Blyton Primary School promote wider reading by:

  • Reading themselves – being a role model
  • dropping reading hints – leaving books on desks, talking about books and displaying books in the classroom
  • engaging with pupils as readers and getting to know their preferences
  • referring to whole books/literary fiction rather than just chunks in textbooks, e.g. historical novels in history


We always promote the challenges that South Tyneside Library Service offer and contribute towards the Summer Reading Challenge. Although we are a small school we have a great uptake on the Summer Reading Challenge every year.


Reading Assessment

The children are regularly assessed on their reading skills. The class teachers in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 2 use a phonics tracking sheet to track their phonics development.

Class teacher keep individual notes about children’s reading and their guided reading.

Termly children are assessed to inform us about their reading comprehension skills. They usually sit a reading test to tell us this depending on their age and their reading skills.

Reading Intervention

Not all children learn to read at the same pace. If we feel children may be falling a little behind with their reading we will discuss their progress at our pupil progress meetings and put interventions into place.

We use the following interventions

Reception- BLAST, additional phonics teaching.

Year 1- Additional phonics teaching on top of the regular daily phonic sessions.

Year 2- Additional phonics teaching on top of the regular daily phonic sessions. Lexia computer reading program, Project Code X, daily targeted reading.

Year 3, 4, 5 – Additional phonics teaching sessions, Lexia computer reading program, Project Code X, daily targeted reading.

Year 6- Project Code X, daily targeted reading.

Some children may be put onto an Action Plan that focuses on reading skills, you will be informed of this and asked to sign a copy at parents evening.

If children are still struggling to read despite additional interventions the school may involve the Educational Psychologist or Speech and Language Services. You will always be kept informed about your child’s progress and be asked to sign referral forms if necessary.

As a parent myself I always think there is nothing nicer than snuggling up with your child and reading a story together, so try it and see that it can be a very enjoyable experience for both of you. Reading is a skill that everybody needs for daily life and teaching children to read is very high profile at Lord Blyton School.