Phonics & Reading

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At Wharton CE Primary School, Phonics is a high priority and it is essential that our approach to teaching phonics and reading is accessible to all learners, regardless of background and that it promotes and fosters a life-long love of reading from the very beginning of their school journey. 

We teach phonics from the beginning of Reception and through Year 1, and to those in Year 2 and 3 who have not yet passed the phonics screening check in Year 1.  Children are taught to phonically decode and blend through a daily discrete phonics lesson. We follow the Little Wandle for Letters and Sounds programme. The children are taught phonics in ability groups within their year group and as children progress and become fluent and confident at identifying, decoding and blending phonemes, phonics lessons focus more on grammar, spelling and spelling rules. Continual assessment informs teachers of next steps and ensures progression.

Our early readers use Big Cat Collins phonically decodable books to practise their reading skills in school and to take home.   Pupils will bring home a phonically decodable book each Friday, which they have already read in school three times with their teacher in reading practice sessions.  After practising the book at home, children return the book the following Tuesday. 



Our intent is for all pupils to be capable readers and writers with the ability to transfer their English skills to other subjects using a wide range of purposeful vocabulary.

We encourage the children as readers, who select texts for purpose and pleasure.  Books and reading are at the heart of everything we do.  Our aim is to provide timetabled guided, shared and independent reading time based around assessment that provides progression in learning while identifying next steps.

We intend to enhance and engage learning through activities and events which promote reading for pleasure, including open-door story time events, competitions and visits by poets and authors.

Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.    National Curriculum 2013

The National Curriculum programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consists of two dimensions:

  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading).

Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners when they start school.


Reading for pleasure is an activity that has real emotional and social consequences. There is a growing body of evidence which illustrates the importance of reading for pleasure for both educational purposes as well as personal development. The evidence strongly supports the argument that those who read more are better readers.  Reference: DFE-57519-2012


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