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Reading and Phonics Information


What is phonics? 

Synthetic Phonics is an approach to word reading that explicitly teaches the correspondences between individual letters or groups of letters and their related sounds (graphemes and phonemes), as well as the skill of blending the individual sounds together to read whole words. This skill can then be inverted so that words can be broken down (segmented) into their component sounds in order to spell them. Much evidence has been collated in recent years to show that teaching children to read words using Synthetic Phonics has a positive effect on children’s long-term ability to read and comprehend text. 

Around 50% of English words are decodable if the reader has the necessary skills, of  the remaining words, the majority have only a vowel sound, that is not regular. This means that if we teach children to read words using a synthetic phonics approach, we are equipping them to read, at first try, at least half of all words in the English language and to have a good chance of working out the tricky GPC in most of the remaining words. 

A phoneme is defined as the smallest unit of sound into which a spoken word can be broken down. For example, in the word ‘cat’ there are three phonemes /c/ … /a/ … /t/. In this example, each phoneme is represented by a grapheme comprised of one letter. 

The word ‘cheese’, in contrast, also comprises three phonemes /ch/ … /ee/ … /z/, but in this instance, the graphemes that represent the phonemes each have two letters: ‘ch’, ‘ee’, ‘se’. Graphemes can be comprised of either one, two or three (very occasionally four) letters and there will always be the same number of graphemes in a word as there are phonemes. 

In our synthetic phonics programme , children are first taught the most common GPCs in the English language so that they can quickly begin to apply this knowledge to read whole words (blending), and soon after, to spell them (encoding). Over the course of the programme, they will be introduced to a number of alternative ways of representing the same phonemes, including some of the less-common GPCs. 









Phonics at Coates Way School

Phonics at Coates Way School is taught following Fisher Family Trust’s DFE approved phonics scheme ‘Success for All’. We have developed a uniform approach to our resources and teaching which develops progressively from Nursery to Year Two, and into Key Stage Two as necessary. Lessons are taught daily and systematically to ensure that children have the skills to meet the requirements of the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1. In addition to phonics lessons, children read phonically matched books in Shared Reading lessons in order to develop reading fluency and comprehension. Children are regularly assessed and there are additional planned intervention groups for children needing extra support.


Teaching Sequence 

We have very clear expectations about what sounds will be taught and when, alongside which common exception words will also be taught.  These are then matched to your child's reading book (based on the phonic knowledge they have secured) in order for them to continue to practise these skills when reading (both at home and in school). 

Teachers will assess which phonics skills have been mastered by children at each phase. Assessment is based on daily classroom work and observation, capturing children’s responses to questions and their oral and written learning. Children’s interactions with books and other texts will give teachers a good indication of how well they are able to apply their phonics knowledge and skills to reading. 


Shared Reading Lessons 

We want our children to be fluent readers, so shared reading sessions are to teach children how to read (using their phonic knowledge to date) and to model fluency in reading.  

 It is important that children can apply their phonic skills to reading. Children have a daily reading session, based on the phonic skills they have been taught. We use fully decodable texts to give children opportunity to use their new skills. We also give children the opportunity to discuss higher tier vocab, to ensure children understand what they are reading. 


Supporting your child at home

We will invite you into school to discuss with your class teacher how you can further support your child at home. 

Your child will also have phonics work to do at home, and we ask that you hear them read every night too.   

When supporting your child with their phonic skills, it is vital that you say the phonic sounds correctly.  The link  below will support you with doing this.    

Following on from daily phonics, Year Two then move on to daily spellings and reading comprehension which follows the FFT Jungle Club literacy programme.  

Helping Your Child with their Phonics   -  

Reading in KS2 - VIPERS 







KS2 have daily guided reading comprehension sessions from Year 3 onwards to ensure that children read age-related texts and answer V.I.P.E.R.S (Vocabulary, Inference, Predict, Explain, Retrieve and Summarise / Sequence) as our method to explicitly teach each skill. These whole class or group reading comprehension sessions are used as a powerful tool to allow all children to make progress in reading and provide regular and supportive opportunities for children to encounter engaging texts that will resonate with their interests and capture their imagination. Carefully graded questions allow for children to develop their comprehension skills at an appropriate level. 

Vipers Progression 




Helping your Child with their Reading 


Lots of parents worry about their child’s reading. With reading books coming home from school every week, it is easy to feel overwhelmed if your child doesn’t seem interested or isn’t making progress. Fortunately, issues with reading are very common and there are all sorts of things you can do to help. Please let your child's teacher know of your concerns.  It’s important to remember that reading isn’t a race. Being a good reader might be the finishing line, but children get there in many ways and at different speeds. 

What should I do if I am worried? 

The best thing to do if you are worried about your child is to talk to your child’s class teacher. They can set your mind at rest if they think your child is making good progress, or they can talk you through plans to help if they think your child needs more support. 


Free Resources  




Phonics Policy 2022

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