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Phonics & Reading


We believe that ‘high quality phonic work’ is an important means for teaching children how to read and spell. At Hallwood Park we use the National Strategy ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme to teach children phonics. Letters and Sounds enable children to see the relationship between reading and spelling from an early stage - the teaching of one reinforces the understanding of the other.

Progression and Pace

The Letters and Sounds Programme is divided into six phases. However the boundaries between the phases are not fixed. Guided by reliable assessments of the children’s developing knowledge and skills, teachers judge the rate at which their children are able to progress through the phases and adapt the pace accordingly.

Using the six phase structure flexibly is particularly important in the case of the boundary between Phases One and Two. It may not be necessary to complete all seven aspects of Phase One before starting systematic phonic work in Phase 2.

Phase 1

Phase One recognises the central importance of developing speaking and listening skills to pave the way to making a good start on reading and writing. It provides a broad and rich language experience for children in the early years’ foundation stage. Phase One activities are arranged under the following seven aspects:

  1. General sound discrimination – environmental sounds
  2. General sound discrimination – instrumental sounds
  3. General sound discrimination – body percussion
  4. Rhythm and rhyme
  5. Alliteration
  6. Voice sounds
  7. Oral blending and segmenting

Each aspect is divided into three strands:

  • Tuning into sounds (auditory discrimination)
  • Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing)
  • Talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension.

Phases 2-6

We use a multisensory approach to teaching Letters and Sounds. Phases two to six are designed as a robust programme of high quality phonic work to be taught systematically. Letters and sounds lessons are taught daily for 20-30 minutes. The children are encouraged to apply their developing phonic skills as opportunities arise across the curriculum throughout the day.


  • Nursery – Phase 1 and introduce phase 2 letters before children enter reception class.
  • Reception – Teach phases 2 and 3. Introduce phase 4
  • Year 1 – Teach phases 4 and 5.
  • Year 2 – Teach phases 5 and 6.

Children should have completed all 6 phases of Letters and Sounds by the end of Key Stage one. However children progress at different rates and the programme should continue into Key Stage two until children are secure in all 6 phases.


Staff will immerse the children in books, helping them to enjoy stories, rhymes, poems, songs etc. Books are to be enjoyed.


Letters and Sounds is introduced in Foundation Stage, and alongside other strategies, helps children to learn the main 42 sounds of English and blend them together.


The children will be encouraged to use a variety of clues in order to read with accuracy:


a)language clues

b)phonic clues

c)picture clues

d)meaning clues

e)knowledge of key words

f)their own experience to predict events


Children will read their own written work to their teacher, read notices around the school and classroom and read more difficult project materials with the help of their teacher. They will also learn to use non-fiction books. 


The ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ reading scheme is used alongside ‘real’ books, and wider reading schemes including Rigby Star, Project X & Lighthouse.


Home/school Reading  

An important ingredient of reading with the children in Key Stage 1 is the home/school reading scheme. Books are taken home regularly for the children to read to or with their parents, older siblings or another adult. There is a home/school diary in which comments can be made by both parents and the teacher. This provides an important home/school, link. ‘Real’ books may be taken home as well as ‘reading scheme’ books.

For extra reading resources at home, children can find online ebooks using 'Bug Club.' Every child has their own log in details and access to a library of books that match their reading ability. Please speak to the class teacher for your child's log in details. 



Fun reading games & ideas                               Oxford Owl's Kids Barn                              Bug club login