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The Teaching of Phonics

When your child begins in Reception s/he will begin learning phonics, which is the code used for reading. This will involve learning individual sounds and being able to hear and say these sounds in words. They will learn to read and write the 44 phonemes (sounds) used in the English language. Children are also taught how to blend and segment sounds in order to read and write simple words.

Some words cannot be easily blended and are called ‘tricky words’, which children must be able to read by sight. These will be taught to the children.

High frequency words which appear in early reading books will be sent home with children so they can practise speed reading and recognising and finding these words in their reading books.


Reading Audit  Updated December 2017


The teaching of reading skills and the encouragement of a love of reading is a high priority at Balladen School.


The updated audit carried out in November shows present practice throughout the school.


Reception Class


  • Reading process is discussed with parents at the initial meeting in school and on home visits prior to the children starting school.
  • A reading diary is provided, 45 High Frequency Word card and the first 7 words. These words are made up from the letters taught in phase 2 of letters and sounds.
  • Progress is individual with children being given the next set of words by any adult working in the classroom or request by parent.
  • It is the aim of the reception class to listen to each child read every day. This is dependent on the number of adults -paid and voluntary working in the classroom.
  • Reading is taught through big books, guided reading,letters and sounds programme,classroom walls and individual support.
  • A reading environment is encouraged in the classroom –baskets of books, reading area with bean bags, deckchairs etc. The children enter the classroom in the morning and sit on the carpet for 15 mins enjoying books chosen by themselves and shared with friends or an adult.
  • If a child is not reading regularly at home, because parents come into the classroom morning and evening it is easy to approach parents and enquire as to why it isn’t happening.
  • Reading has been taken outdoors into the outside classroom.


This practice of teaching reading is continued and extended throughout Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.


From Year 1 onwards all teachers are provided with a Daily Reading List of children who are not reading at home or are progressing at a slower rate than their peers.


Year 1

  • Phonic sessions Monday – Thursday.
  • Reading Books are changed when ever the book is finished.
  • Specific guided reading sessions during literacy lessons.
  • All children are listened to in class at least twice a week.
  • SAT papers are given to the higher ability children in the Summer Term.
  • Reading Comprehension tasks are given to the HA in the Summer Term.
  • Wordshark/ Literacy Box and Phonics Play are the main ICT programmes used.
  • A reading area with cushions, books etc.
  • Basket of Books on the carpet 8.45-9.00.
  • If children are not reading at home, parents are approached which is then followed up by a letter from the Head Teacher.


We realise as a school that there will always be a small minority of children who do not regularly read at home. These children are catered for in school.



Year 2


  • Book worms are displayed on the window for children who have read at least 4 times in one week.
  • Specific children are targeted to read to volunteers who come into the classroom in an afternoon.
  • During assembly, reading comprehension is taught on a rolling programme to ensure it is not the same children who miss the assembly.
  • Daily discrete phonics lessons.
  • Repetition during literacy lessons of HF words,word families,sentence structure etc.
  • Children who have been identified by School Tracking systems as falling behind are taught skills through the Toe by Toe and IDL programmes. School has invested money in a T A to carry out this programme.
  • T A in Year 2 has specific duties – IEP work with PP / LA  SEN children
  • H A Termly assessments through SAT’s.
  • Grammar skills are taught with HA children in the Autumn Term which will progress to all ability groups throughout the year.


All Key Stage 2 classes have class readers – one book per term.


The catch up programmes toe by toe  and IDL are run for children in every KS2 class.


In class, weekly records are made of children who have read 4 times or more . In all KS2 classes, golden time is the reward for reading.



Year 3


  • Daily word work sessions for all class –differentiated.
  • Individual children listened to read during assembly by teacher and TA’s.
  • Extra reading for targeted children by TA’s/ volunteers in the afternoon.
  • Comprehension skills taught through VIPERS throughout the week.
  • Silent reading/Phonics for everyone -10 mins at the end of the day.
  • A reading area in class.


Year 4


  • A daily session 20- 30 mins which normally takes place after lunch. Every reading session the children either do ICT, Free Reading, Creative Area, Silent Reading, Class Diary. During this session the class teacher listens to children read and the TA listens to children read from the daily reading list. All comments are recorded in a reading file.
  • When children are benchmarked, it is Mrs Pickup’s job to move children up to a different level.
  • A TA has been employed to teach daily discrete phonic lessons - Phase 3 onwards, taking children from Year 3 and 4.
  • Phonic displays are up and used in both classrooms.
  • “Early Work “– High Frequency Words are written and read.
  • Discrete comprehension lesson taught throughout the week.
  • Nuture Time has been introduced to engage able but reluctant readers.

Year 5 and 6


The practice in the lower classes is mirrored in Years 5 and 6.

  • Daily emphasis on the teaching of comprehension through VIPERS.
  • An Individual Reading Support Programme is administered by a teacher to children who are not reaching their full potential.
  • Children are very much involved in decision making as there is a lot of emphasis on children enjoying reading –e g a shelf of boy friendly books has been created after listening to the boys.
  • Reading games, boggle, scrabble etc are encouraged.





Books have been banded throughout school. Each colour has an assessment sheet.  A best fit approach is adopted and as children move through the levels appropriate assessments are made. These assessments are recorded on the “colour” sheets and are passed onto the receiving class teacher.


Half termly assessments are made for children in the school who are reading books levelled by colours. These are recorded in the tracking file.


Reading comprehension assessments are carried out half termly in KS2. PIP’s are administered in the Reception Class on entry and at the end.


Next Steps


Head and Deputy head to meet regularly to decide where we go next:-


  • A Reading Action Plan has been developed with all staff to have an impact on comprehension.
  • The local Library has been contacted for every class to visit in Spring Term.
  • Contact an author to visit in Spring Term.
  • Audit Junior Library – involve children.
  • Reading Club aimed at children who just want to read!