Reading and Phonics

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Reading underpins all other areas of learning and therefore we believe it is the most important gift we can give a child. We aim to provide high quality teaching, a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, cross- curricular reading and writing opportunities as well as other enriching activities that promote a love of reading, such as story tellers, poets and visits to the local library.

At Bentham CP School children are taught to read using the Government programme Letters and Sounds. It is a systematic and synthetic approach to the teaching of reading and writing, which enables children to blend and segment sounds. We supplement this scheme by using the mnemonics from the Read, Write, Inc reading scheme. To support the learning needs of each child, phonics is taught in small attainment based groups, for 20 minute each day. The sessions are fast paced and active, with children learning a new sound before applying it in their spoken language, reading and writing. Success is celebrated at every opportunity with our main goal being to develop confident readers who enjoy reading and writing. Letters and Sounds is particulaly effective as the individual needs and progress of each child can be identified through daily monitoring by all teachers and teaching assistants involved. The children have lots of other opportunities throughout the day to consolidate and independently apply their learning through reading and writing activities in English lessons and in Cross-Curricular subjects.

Letters and Sounds follows a six phase progression path, from Nursery to Year 2. 

Phase 1- Activities develop speaking and listening skills by building children’s awareness of the different sounds within their environment, sound patterns and rhythms in stories. They gain familarity with books and have lots of opportunities to extend their vocabularly.

Phase 2- Children begin matching sounds with letters of the alphabet and blending these to read words. Children also begin to segment words for writing.

Phase 3- Children gain confidence blending and segmenting sounds and learn 25 new digraphs and trigraphs (two or three letters making one sound) for example ‘ee’ in the word ‘feet’. Children also learn to read and write words that don’t fit the phonetic pattern for example ‘we’, ‘she’.

Phase 4- Children do not learn new sounds in this phase but practise reading adjacent consonants such as: trap, string, scrunch and words of more than one syllable i.e ‘chimpanzee’.

Phase 5- Children learn alternative ways of making the same sound i.e feet, treat, Pete. Children continue to read and write words that don’t fit the phonetic pattern for example ‘people’.

Click on the following link to hear a guide on how each sound is pronounced 

Phase 6- Children will become more fluent readers and more accurate spellers. They will focus upon grammatical rules, for example: using the plural endings and adding suffixes.


Additionally, children take part in guided or whole class reading sessions where the focus is upon comprehending a text. Children explore a range of books and extracts that are designed to develop their ability of extracting meaning from their reading. Along side this, children read a range of texts from our school Reading Scheme (Oxford Reading Tree); this is a combination of fiction and nonfiction books placed into bands appropriate for a child’s reading development.  Once a child is a competent reader and they can show fluency and a deep understanding of what they have read they move off the reading scheme books and on to the Accelerated Reader Scheme. This scheme allows children to read a wide variety of both fiction and non fiction reading books to enable children to develop reading skills and broaden their experience of different texts.  These reading books are organised into 'Book Bands' which is a method used to group books according to their level of difficulty.  The children will move through the book bands as their reading skills develop.  After reading each book, they also complete a quiz to demonstrate their comprehension of the text.  Children are encouraged to select books which cover a range of fiction and non fiction genres.

Our children also have access to our school library which has a wide range of different texts. The children visit the library regularly and are encouraged to choose a book of their choice. They may take the book home to share with parents and can change their book on their next visit to the library.  Visits to High Bentham Town Library are also made every half term to provide further opportunities for children to develop their reading.

As Letters and Sounds ensures holistic development of both reading and writing, children in EYFS and KS1 also take home reading and spelling activities that are related to the sounds they have learnt in school that week. Children in Key Stage 2 also have reading and spelling related homework.

Recommended Reads

Take a look at the recommended texts for your child's year group: