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Seer GreenChurch of England School

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'I praise You because You made me in an amazing and wonderful way.' Psalm 139 :14 ICB

Reading and Phonics



We believe that all of our children can become fluent readers and writers. Early reading skills are taught through Essential Letters and Sounds, which is a systematic synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Essential Letters and Sounds progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of letters and sounds, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through the school.

As a result, our children are able to tackle unfamiliar words as they read. We model the application of phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.




Foundations for phonics

The Essential Letters and Sounds programme is designed to be used as part of an early learning environment that is rich in talk and story. We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy.’ These include:

  • sharing high-quality stories and poems
  • learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
  • activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
  • attention to high-quality language.


Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

  • From the early days of Reception, whole-class phonics sessions are taught for up to 30 minutes a day.  Through the rigorous Essential Letters and Sounds programme, children build an immediate understanding of the relationship between the sounds they can hear and say (phonemes) and the written sounds (graphemes).
  • Practice and repetition are key
  • Essential Letters and sounds lessons are active – children are engaged at all times.
  • Review lessons are taught each Friday, ensuring recap and application of the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.


Phonics teaching in Year 2

Phase 6 phonics is taught throughout Year 2, with the expectation of progress:

  • to become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers: through their use of phonics as they tackle more complex books and learn to spell more sophisticated words
  • to use spelling guidelines to improve accuracy. For example, to recognise that the position of a phoneme in a word may rule out certain graphemes for that phoneme.
  • to use strategies for gaining independence, such as proofreading and use of dictionaries and spell checkers and how fluent joined handwriting supports accurate spelling.
  • to be able to use spelling rules to spell words


Daily 'keep-up' sessions

  • Any child who needs additional practice receives 'keep-up' support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and refrains, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.


Working with parents and carers

Decodable reading books are taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. Children are given books that match their phonic knowledge and, in meetings with parents, the importance of re-reading books, to build confidence and develop fluency, is explained. An annual Phonics training session is held to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books as well as other aspects of our provision.




Our children make rapid progress from their starting points in reading and writing.  They leave the Early Years Foundation Stage equipped with the fundamental skills of learning to read and write and build on this knowledge in Year 1 and Year 2.  By the end of Year 1, children should have a secure grasp of phonics sounds to enable them to achieve highly in their Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. 


As children become more secure in their phonic knowledge, reading evolves from learning to read, to reading to learn.



Supporting our children to develop as motivated readers for recreation and learning for the rest of their lives is a priority. At Seer Green CE School pupils are given a broad range of reading experiences aimed at fostering a lifelong love of reading. All pupils throughout school are frequently read to and have access to a rich, well-displayed environment in both the classroom and the library. Pupils are given time to read for pleasure during the school day, and it is expected that all pupils read at home on a daily basis. 


Reading comprehension skills are taught in all year groups on a weekly basis and regular guided reading sessions help to develop specific skills related to understanding, interpreting and analysing texts.

Children are encouraged to use the library on a weekly basis. The school library is well stocked with a range of exciting fiction and non-fiction and is also used to supply classroom book corners with fiction, non-fiction and poetry books, and changing these on a half termly basis ensures that the children have continual access to high quality reading material that is broad, ambitious and enriching.