We use the Oxford Reading Tree scheme from Reception- Year 6. 

EYFS & Key Stage 1 Reading

There has been a huge shift in the past few years in how we teach reading in UK schools. This is having a big 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. It runs alongside other teaching methods such as Guided Reading and Shared Reading to help children develop all the other vital reading skills and hopefully give them a real love of reading.

Year 1 phonics screening check - The check will take place in June each year when the pupils will read 40 words out loud to a teacher or test administrator. Parents will find out how their child did, and their teacher will assess whether the child will need extra help with reading.

If pupils do not do well enough (Meet the standard. In 2018 it was 32/40) in the check they will be screened again in Year 2.

So, what exactly is phonics?
Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children learn to read words and spell words.
In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:
This stands for grapheme phoneme correspondences. This simply means that they are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p, i, n..
Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.
Children are taught to segment. This 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 skill is vital in being able to spell words.
What makes phonics tricky?
The English language has around 44 phonemes (or sounds) but there are around 120 graphemes or ways of writing down those 44 phonemes (e.g. ai, ay, ae, eigh and ey all make the long vowel sound for a) Obviously 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 all digraphs - graphemes with two letters)

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

Another slightly sticky problem is that some graphemes can represent more than one phoneme. For example ch makes very different sounds in these three words: chip, school, chef.

So why learn phonics?
In the past people argued that because the English language is so tricky, there was no point teaching children phonics. Now, most people agree that these tricky bits mean that it is even more important that we teach phonics and children learn it clearly and systematically. A written language is basically a kind of a code. Teaching phonics is just teaching children to crack that code. Children learn the simple bits first and then easily progress to get the hang of the trickier bits.
How is phonics taught?
At Ludwell, we follow the government program of Letters and Sounds.  The children are taught in a systematic, yet fun and ‘hands on’ way. In the daily phonics lesson the children will learn using all their senses e.g. by singing, dancing, acting, using magnetic letters, making shapes in the air, looking at pictures, playing games, using computers, making sounds, making choices and as many other ways as possible. This is vital because all children learn differently. They are then taught to apply the new phonemes in their reading and spelling.

There are assessment systems in place to keep track of how all children are doing in phonics.

Where children do fall behind, they are given intervention (specific support with their phonics) to help them catch up as soon as possible.

How you can help your child.
Reading with your child:

Your child’s reading book will have been selected from a colour book band. This means that whatever book your child has chosen, it will be at an appropriate level for them. Your child should then be able to practice some of the phonic strategies to sound out new words. At this stage it is vital that the child uses the sound of the letters rather than the name. (c-a-t blends together to make cat, but see ay tee does not!)

One of the greatest gifts that you can give to your child is a love of reading. Research has shown that one of the biggest indicators of success in a child's life is whether or not they have books in the home. As a parent, try to focus on making reading fun and enjoyable rather than getting bogged down in trying to teach skills. There are many, many different things that you can do. Here are just a few:

  • Let your child see you reading - This can be a newspaper, magazine, anything you like. This is a powerful message to send to your child. Read something with your child - It doesn't need to be a book. The secret is to find something that your child is desperate to read - comics, magazines, football programmes, newspapers, internet pages, texts, e-mails, catalogues etc. However, never underestimate that power of a book that a child really, really wants to read, even if it is too hard for them. If they are very keen to read a particular tricky book then go for it and just help them out when they need it.
  • Talk about what they are reading - Talk before you start. Talk whilst you are reading. Talk after you have finished. You can still talk about what your child is reading even if they don't want to actually read with you anymore.
  • Praise your child - Studies show that children who are given specific support with their reading make much greater progress if they are given lots of praise than if they are given the support alone.


Key Stage 2 Reading

  • Reading is a vital basic skill which all children should be able to acquire
  • Teaching reading must be high priority for all staff in order for children to develop skills and have a positive habit towards reading.
  • The needs of all pupils are taken into account when teaching reading, through differentiation of resources and teaching approaches.
  • Shared reading at home is very important. All staff monitor this in order to continue to develop strong home/school links with reading. Your child needs to read to an adult at home a minimum of five times per week. 
  • All children have a school reading book from the reading scheme/library.
  • Pupils should be on a suitable level- this is assessed by your child's teacher. 
  • This level is to be regularly reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that children are progressing appropriate to their aptitude. 
  • Books are to be changed/reviewed on a regular basis (minimum three times per week, depending on the book) and written in both reading records, one of which will stay in school as a permanent record.
  • Staff will sign/comment/praise when a reading book has been changed.
  • KS2-books will be changed independently by each pupil, using the coloured banding scheme.
  • Voluntary readers are also encouraged to complete reading records.The school reading records will continue through the school with the child.

If you would like more information or ideas to help your child, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Our Phonics Champion is Mrs Lindsay Sutton. 


• The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
• At Ludwell Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers.
• We acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of year 1.
• We also value and encourage the pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills.

• Through the teaching of ‘Letters and Sounds’ the children are taught the essential skills needed for reading.
• Phonics is taught daily to all children in Foundation Stage and KS1 and interventions are in place in Key Stage 2 for individuals requiring more phonic support.
• Interventions are planned for those children who are working below expected levels. Interventions are monitored on a half termly basis.
• Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them.
• Phonics is delivered within streamed groups (where possible) to enable staff to fill gaps and teach children at a level appropriate to their prior knowledge and ability.
• Pupils have regular reading sessions with an adult we ensure the pupils are regularly practising and applying their phonics knowledge.
• In the EYFS and Year 1 the continuous provision matches the pupil’s current knowledge and understanding whilst ensuring the children are suitably challenged.
• Teachers assess (half termly but more often if required) the pupil’s phonics knowledge using the phonics assessment, reading milestones and Reading Early Learning Goal (in EYFS). These regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning.
• The children have reading books which they are encouraged to read regularly at home which match their current phonics level.

• Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school.
• Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally.
• Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.
• We firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of phonics and reading is embedded throughout the whole school curriculum.