Avening Primary School


At Avening Primary School, our aim is for children to develop a life-long love of books and reading. Phonics is an important skill that we use to teach children to learn to read and we place high importance on teaching how to phonetically decode through daily phonics lessons as research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way, starting with the easiest sounds, progressing through to the most complex, it is a very effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5-7. 

Phonics and spelling are taught in a structured way throughout the school. In Reception and Year 1, the children have a daily phonics session. From Year 2, most children will take part in daily spelling session. Phonics and spelling sessions are taught by teachers and teaching assistants, and provide a secure foundation in basic skills.

Almost all children who have good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment. Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia.

 At our school:

  • We follow the Letters and Sounds programme from Reception to Y1; planning is taken from the LCP scheme of work, and Phonics Play is sometimes used to consolidate and practice skills.
  • There are daily phonic sessions (beginning from mid-term 1 in the EYFS).
  • Each session has five parts: Revisit and Review; Teach; Practise; Apply; Assess.
  • Children are taught to ‘blend’ letters or ‘graphemes’ to read them. They are taught to ‘segment’ sounds or ‘phonemes’ to spell words. We say the word slowly, count the sounds, then write the sounds.
  • Sound buttons are written under the graphemes to make the decoding strategy clearer.
  • Within each phase, the children are introduced to ‘tricky words’ which cannot be phonetically decoded, which they practise reading and spelling, e.g. ‘the’ and later ‘because’.
  • All teaching areas should have a simple or complex speed sound chart displayed.
  • Children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 usually have phonetically decodable reading books closely matched to the phonic phase in which they are working.  
  • Children at risk of not passing the Year 1 Phonics Screening test are identified and given additional support as required. 

Outside the phonics lessons children will practice their phonics skills when reading in guided reading lessons. The books they read, and activities they carry out, are tailored to their reading skills along with phonics that they are learning. This regular practice helps children apply their skills and become confident and fluent readers.

Click here to learn more about Phonics Teaching at Avening School.