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Phonics and Reading

Reading and Phonics

English is taught daily with work appropriately differentiated to match all abilities. We aim to nurture in the children a love of literature and language and the confidence to continue reading and writing throughout their lives.

With parental support, we want our children to:

  • speak clearly and confidently in any situation.
  • listen actively and respond appropriately, developing knowledge and opinion.
  • read fluently for both pleasure and information.
  • write clearly and with confidence in any given genre.
  • use spelling rules, phonics and grammar accurately.
  • be able to proofread their own work and make amendments and improvements.


What is phonics?

There has been a big shift in the past few years in how we teach reading in school.  This is having a huge impact and helping many children learn to read and spell.  Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read.  Phonics runs alongside other teaching methods to help children develop vital reading skills and give them a real love of reading – hopefully for life.

Phoneme?  Grapheme?  

Words are made up from small units of sound (phonemes) and phonics teaches children to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word.  This helps them learn to read and spell words.

In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:

GPCs (grapheme phoneme correspondences)

GPCs simply means that children are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. 


Children are taught to blend sounds together by merging the individual sounds together until they can hear what the word is.  This is a vital reading skill.


Segmenting is the opposite of blending!  Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up.  This is a vital spelling skill.

Why is phonics so tricky?

The English language is very complicated!  England has been invaded so many times throughout its history and each set of invaders brought new words and new sounds with them.  As a result, English only has around 44 phonemes but there are around 120 graphemes or ways of writing down those 44 phonemes.  Plus, we only have 26 letters in the alphabet so some graphemes are made up from more than one letter. 

ch  th  oo ay  (these are digraphs – graphemes with two letters)

There are other graphemes that are trigraphs (made up of 3 letters) and a very few made from 4 letters.

Some graphemes can represent more than one phoneme, ie, ch can make different sounds, chip, school,chef

Learning to read is like cracking a code so teaching phonics is a way of teaching children to crack the code.  As reading is the key to learning it is important that we teach phonics clearly and systematically learning easy bits first then progressing to trickier bits!


At Beeston Fields Primary and Nursery School reading and phonics are taught in accordance with the National Curriculum and the Revised Literacy Framework using the Letters and Sounds phonic scheme.  Reading is taught using Oxford Reading Tree as a basis but the children will also access a wide range of other books to develop their reading.   We are passionate about teaching children to read. Reading enriches children's vocabulary, their writing and their spelling. They have access to the wider curriculum and their self-esteem is enhanced because they realise they are succeeding.

Each child’s reading journey begins in EYFS where phonics is introduced during a daily ‘Funky Phonics’ session.  When your child starts with us you will be invited in to watch one of these sessions.  As children progress through school and their phonetic awareness develops, reading books from Oxford Reading Tree scheme are introduced.


As the children move through school there is a timetabled daily guided reading session.  During this time children may be working in a focused reading group with a teacher or teaching assistant, reading with a paired ‘Reading Buddy’ or working independently on another reading focused activity.

We encourage the children to read daily at home, please write in their reading diary’s if you have heard them read.  The children work towards completing their ‘Buzzing to Read’ chart.  Once it has been completed they go to see Mrs Lindsay to celebrate their reading and get a small prize.


How will I know how to pronounce the phonic sounds?

Click here to find out! Make sure that you have sound on!

The Oxford Owl site is a FREE website built to support you with your child’s learning.

To help you along the way, you’ll find age-specific reading tips and activities, FREE eBooks, and lots of fun ideas to really bring your child’s learning to life.

You will also find support and advice on a range of questions you may have – including helping your child with their phonics and motivating them to read.


If you would like to find out more about the schools curriculum in this area please speak to your child's class teacher.