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Phonics and Reading

We hope you find the following information useful, and that it gives you an idea of how we deliver Phonics and Reading at Thwaites. We are always happy to chat with you, so if you have any questions please get in touch.


Words are made up of small units of sounds known as phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. At Thwaites, we use the Letters and Sounds programme to teach phonics. This programme is detailed and systematic, and aims to build up children's listening and speaking skills, as well as prepare them for learning to read by using their phonics knowledge and skills. Both Mrs Huddleston and Mrs Yool deliver their daily phonics lessons to small groups in a fun and engaging way, ensuring all children are challenged and supported as appropriate to their individual needs.


The Letters and Sounds programme is broken down into six phases so that sounds can be taught in a particular order. This table helps provide an overview of these phases...


Phase 1 Children participate in a variety of activities focusing on the following seven aspects: environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting.
Phase 2 Children learn 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each of these. They blend these sounds together to make words, and segment words into separate sounds. Children will begin to read simple captions.
Phase 3 Children learn the remaining 7 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each of these. They will also learn graphemes (groups of letters representing one sound, e.g. sh, th...) representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters.
Phase 4

Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump...

Phase 5 Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes they have already learnt, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase 6 Children will continue to work on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, and doubling and dropping letters. In this phase, the aim is for children to become more fluent readers and more accurate spellers.


Alongside the teaching of phonics, your child will be taught to read 'tricky words'. These are words that cannot be sounded out so children need to learn them by heart. At the beginning of each academic year, parents are invited to a meeting where they can find out more about our teaching of phonics. In the meantime, you are very welcome to contact Mrs Huddleston and Mrs Yool for more information.

"The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you'll go!"

Dr Seuss


At Thwaites, we believe in developing a reading culture throughout our school. Each classroom has a welcoming reading area where children can relax and enjoy books by themselves or with friends. Books linked to class topics, are displayed around classrooms too. Our school library hosts a variety of reading genres, attractively and clearly displayed, and includes our reading books. All our reading books are organised according to Book Bands; a system where books are graded by difficulty level, identified by a colour. This whole-school reading system helps us monitor each child's reading development, ensuring they are supported in making the best progress possible. 

High priority is given to reading throughout our school. Beginning in Nursery and Reception, and continuing into Year 6, teachers share texts with their whole class, helping develop listening skills, a love of books and reading for pleasure. Children will be encouraged to listen and respond to questions, make predictions and discuss vocabulary. During Literacy lessons, when introducing texts and prior to writing, teachers will model reading. This shared reading immerses children in the pattern of story and features of text-types. As soon as children move into Year 1, they are placed in ability groups for reading and read a wide range of texts. This method of guided reading ensures our children are taught a range of reading skills which they practice at home and in school. As well as weekly guided reading, we aim to listen to each of our children read independently at least twice each week. Each of our children receives a reading book to share with an adult at home. These reading books will be at an appropriate level for each child and are changed each week. We encourage all our parents and carers to support their child with their reading at home too. Each child has a Reading Diary so adults, both at home and in school, can record notes about their child's reading throughout the year.