Early Reading - Phonics - Key Stage 1

At Ellwood Community Primary School, we believe that reading is at the heart of the children’s learning. It is an essential life skill that children need to be able to access the whole curriculum and become lifelong learners. We believe that learning to read and reading for pleasure transforms children’s lives.

'We are learning to read and reading to learn'

 ‘Letters and Sounds’ Phonics Programme

We follow a systematic and synthetic phonics programme called ‘Letters and Sounds’ (DFE, 2007). This programme sets out a detailed systematic framework for teaching phonics skills for children from pre-school, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by Year 2.  

There are six overlapping phases within the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme which are detailed below:

Phase 1



Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting. Phase 1 skills lay the foundations for the rest of the phonics programme and underpin the rest of the phonic phases.

Phase 2


Phase 2 consists of learning 19 letters of the alphabet and the corresponding sound that the letter makes. Children also begin to blend sounds together to read words and segment words into individual sounds to write words. Children will also begin to read and write simple captions within this phase.

Phase 3


In Phase 3 children will learn the remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Children will also learn digraphs (such as ch, sh, th, oo) and trigraphs (igh, ure, air) within this phase

Phase 4

(Reception & Year 1)

In Phase 4 no new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught. Children learn to blend and segment longer words within adjacent consonants (such as swin, clap, jump).

Phase 5

(Year 1)

In Phase 5 children learn to broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know, where relevant.

Phase 6

(Year 2 and beyond)

Phase 6 focuses upon teaching spelling patterns and rules. During this phase, children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.

'High Frequency Words' and 'Tricky Words'

Alongside each phonic phase there are sets of ‘tricky words’ that children will need to learn by sight. These are words that are not able to be phonetically sounded out.

KS1 and KS2 children are given words to learn by sight relevant to their attainment. In each year group there is a list of common exception words, which children will learn at school.

Early Reading

Reading books will be given to children from Reception through to Year 6. Reading books are graded and are matched to the phonic ability of your child. This system allows children to choose a book at an appropriate level for them and means that our pupils have more choice about what they read, hopefully leading to increased enthusiasm for reading. Children should be able to read their home reading books with approximately 95% fluency. 

Individual Reading Books - Key Stage 1

The reading books are separated into levels (1-12). Each level features 2 sets of reading books to ensure progression throughout the reading scheme. 

Fully Decodable: These books are fully decodable at your child’s phonic ability. 

Decode & Develop: These books offer more challenge as not all words can be decoded. Children may also practice reading more high frequency words within these books. 

Individual Reading 

We endeavour to hear the children read independently as often as possible. This maybe during guided reading sessions or reading texts linked to other subjects throughout the school day. This type of reading maybe linked to theme work.

Reading Pets
At Ellwood School we prioritise the teaching of reading and want to encourage all children to read for pleasure. We have reading pets in school that go home with the children to listen to them read. Our reading pets have proved successful in developing the children's love of reading. 
Book Vote 
The children in Oak and Chestnut enjoy voting for a story to read at storytime. The stories are taken from our 'Brilliant Books to Read' lists. 
Phonics Teaching

Phonics in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 is taught every day. It is also incorporated into English and spelling lessons. Children who are finding phonics challenging are given extra support and intervention, as and when needed, regardless of the year group they are in.

Sharing Library - Oak Class

As part of our ongoing aim to ensure all children at Ellwood School become lifelong readers we are introducing a sharing library for the children to select stories which can be enjoyed at home alongside their 'phonics decodable reading book'.

As these stories are richer reading opportunities they are to be shared with parents and do not have to be read independently due to the complexity of the text. Your child may like to help retell the story, have a go at blending some words or find tricky words within the text. These stories can be included in your child's reading record and will be counted towards their weekly reads.

The books that will be available for the children within the sharing library have been taken from our 'Brilliant Books to read in Reception' book list.
The children have access to high quality texts, poetry books, fact books and story props throughout the continuous provision in Reception.