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Norton Free Church of England

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Phonics workshop information November 2021


Reading is an essential, empowering skill that supports children throughout school and in their lives outside of school.  We have prioritised reading to ensure that all children can learn to read and that they are able to understand what they are reading. It is our aim to develop enthusiastic and confident readers who can understand a range of different texts.  Children will read for interest, enjoyment and information to become fluent, confident readers.  


Becoming a successful reader will also support children throughout all other areas of the curriculum, including writing.  


At our school, children will develop the habit of reading widely and frequently for pleasure and information.  They will be exposed to the wide range of literature available so that they can begin to express preferences about authors and genres. They will learn how to read aloud fluently, confidently and with expression. They will learn how to read for meaning and become critical readers of texts.  


In addition, children will learn how to listen attentively when others read..


Our approach to teaching reading


Children are given a reading record when they begin school in Foundation Stage and books are sent home that match the sounds that have been taught  Please listen to your child read every day and record this in the reading record.  This is the single most important thing you can do to support your child at school.  Reading books can be changed regularly at school.   If your child is in Foundation Stage, Year One or Year Two, they will be able to compete in the Superhero Challenge, receiving superpowers when they read at home. 


We have recently invested money in our home reading books in order that the books sent home only contain the sounds that have been taught , thus enabling children to be more successful and confident when reading.  We use book banding to enable your child to show their progress in reading.  As children move through the book bands, the books use more sounds, there are more words on each page and children become exposed to words that do not meet the standard rules for English (tricky words). When children have completed lime level, they are considered free readers and they may choose the books they read.  When your child becomes a free reader, please continue to read with them and record this in the reading record so that we can continue to support their reading with recommendations and encourage them to widen their reading choices.  


Reading begins with phonics and we begin our phonics lessons at the very beginning of Foundation Stage.  Phonics is taught systematically and children are exposed to new sounds almost every day. Children learn to blend the sounds in a word so that they can read the word.  Phonics lessons also involves reading sentences and longer texts. Phonics continues into Year One and Year Two where children learn to read and write more complex words.  


If children are finding phonics a challenge when they are in Key Stage Two, they will receive additional support with this.  


In Foundation Stage and Year One, children are listened to on a 1:1 basis every week.  This is a very valuable, but time-consuming activity and we rely on volunteers to help us to manage this.  If you are able to support the children by reading at school with them, please let Mrs Sewell know.  


During Year one, some children will move on to small group reading.  


In Year Two and in Key Stage Two, children read as a whole class every day.  You may hear your child refer to Reciprocal Reading, this takes place in every class from Y2 through to Y6, every day of the week. This learning is heavily scaffolded and modelled so that children can learn to comprehend the texts that they are reading.  Activities may include individual reading, partner reading, drama, artwork and comprehension questions. Ask your children about popcorn, pen taps and the word of the day!


All classes also have a daily story time which is often at the end of the day.  


Every classroom has a reading area that is stocked with a range of fiction and non-fiction appropriate to the children in the class. 


We have put together a list of 100 books that children could read before they go to secondary school.  Images of these books are positioned about the school on a book trail.  Reading all of these books would give children a broad and balanced range of reading experiences which would help them to be very successful readers throughout their lives. 


Our school library is stocked with a range of fiction and non-fiction books that children can take home to read with an adult.  Please ensure that these books are returned when your child has read them. Staff are very knowledgeable about the children's interests and about children's books and will be able to offer recommendations for books and subjects that will interest children.  


More information about phonics


We use letters and sounds and LCP to teach our daily phonics lessons. Phonics is split into 6 phases:


Phase 1

This is completed at home and at nursery.  It develops children's ability to hear and and distinguish sounds around them. It focuses on oral blending and segmenting and rhyme.


Phase 2

introduces letter sounds for reading and writing with a set of letters being taught each week. It begins to look at blending for reading and segmenting for writing. A selection of 'tricky words' are taught during phase 2.


Phase 3

introduces the rest of the letter sounds and digraphs. Children will continue blending and segmenting and more tricky words are taught. Children will also learn the letters of the alphabet in this phase. 


Phase 4

helps build on the previous understanding of blending and segmenting and children gain experience of using words that have adjacent consonants such as trap and milk. No new sounds are taught. 


Phase 5 

introduces alternative graphemes for phonemes.  For example, children will know /ai/ as in rain from phase 3 but they will also learn that /ay/ in day and a_e in cake also make the /ai/ sound. They will also learn alternative pronunciations for graphemes.  For example ea in tea, head and break. 


Phase 6 

allows children to become fluent readers and accurate spellers. 



Please see details of the other phonics phases in our booklet for parents, above. Copies of this booklet are also available in the foyer (main entrance).


Useful websites:


For enquiries about reading volunteers, phonics and reading in school, please contact Ms Sewell in Year 1.