Reading and Phonics

Our approach to Phonics and Reading

At Hevingham and Marsham Primary Partnership Schools we aim to create life-long learners who have a passion for reading for the rest of their lives. Reading for pleasure is a key aspect of the curriculum and the basis for teaching children to read. Time is set aside for whole class storytelling, welcoming families and carers into school to share books with their children, assemblies incorporating talking stories and set library times. We offer Reading Cafes, Family Learning Days and opportunities for parents/carers to learn alongside their children.

We recognise the importance of teaching a systematic synthetic phonics programme to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. We follow the Letters and Sounds programme. This provides a detailed, systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of four, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.

There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary:

Phase 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 segent longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, 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.

Teachers assess children’s phonic and reading progress on a half-termly basis. For those children who require extra support we offer booster sessions in the classroom in addition to the daily phonics lesson all children receive.

All children from Reception to Year 6 receive weekly guided reading sessions. Guided reading is a strategy that helps children become good readers. The teacher provides support for small groups of readers as they learn to use various reading strategies (context clues, letter and sound relationships, word structure, and so forth). We use the Oxford Reading Tree scheme which corresponds to the Letters and Sounds phases. Children will also have a graded book to take home to read.