The Links Primary School

Reading and Phonics



  • To help children along the journey from learning to read to reading to learn, for pleasure and purpose.
  • Becoming a fluent with the skills to access, engage with and enjoy a wide range of texts.
  • To provide access to a wide range of reading material which encourages children to read for pleasure and to seek information for themselves.
  • To read with confidence, fluency and understanding.
  • To be able to orchestrate a full range of reading cues (phonic, graphic, syntactic, contextual) to monitor their reading and correct their own mistakes.
  • Understand the sound and spelling system and use this to read accurately.
  • Have suitable technical vocabulary through which to understand and discuss their reading.
  • To be interested in books, read with enjoyment and evaluate and justify their preferences.

In EYFS the children are given opportunities to take books home to share with parents and carers. This is a great opportunity for children to start to acquire basic book handling skills. When we feel your child is ready to read independently, we will give them their first reading book. We use a range of books to develop children’s reading. All of our books are arranged in to levelled colour bands which allow children to read at a similar level, containing the same range of keywords and phonetically de-codable words.

Key Stage 1 we build upon the experience of EYFS. We aim to develop the skills already acquired by the children and allow them to progress. We still use a range of schemes with both sight and phonic focuses to allow us to tailor a child’s reading journey to develop strengths and support weaknesses. Books are selected for or (if appropriate) by the children from a progressive range of reading books, which are stored centrally. The children are then further encouraged to take a storybook from a selection in each classroom. These books are designed to be read between parent and child and foster a love of reading and books. The books are written in reading record, which parents are encouraged to make a comment about their child’s progress or ability to cope with the book. We find that this opens up the channels of communication between the school and parents.

We use a range of reading schemes with EYFS and KS1 children, these include:

Oxford Literacy Web

Oxford Reading Tree

Oxford Reading Tree Phonics


Sunshine Spirals

Stanley Thornes

Flying Boot

Story Street

Bug Club

Phonics Bug

Rigby Star

At Key Stage two children are making the transition from scheme and very structured books to ‘real books’. They still have access to a central store of graded books which the children are supported to work through. Additionally each class has its own selection of suitable reading material which the children can take home and read. Children are encouraged to keep a record of what they have read in a reading diary. This diary can be a communication device between home and school and it allows

positive comments to be made by the children, parents and teachers when appropriate. All teachers keep a personal record of the books the children are reading to highlight the progress being made by the children. The school also has a loan system using the books in the library. Children can use these books to gain further knowledge on the areas that are currently being studied in each classroom.

We use a range of reading schemes with KS2 children, these include:

Oxford Reading Tree Treetops

Oxford Reading Tree Classics

Ginn pocket facts, Tales and Chillers (KS2)

Bug Club

In addition to this all pupils have access to a comprehensive collection of reading material (including fiction, non-fiction, picture books, poetry, plays, traditional and modern texts, newspapers, and reference books, information from the Internet and texts they have created themselves) within each classroom. Each year group has a specific reading area, which encourages the children to go and read different books. In Key Stage 1 these areas are themed depending on topics being taught.

Guided Reading also takes place daily in school. In Foundation, guided reading is introduced within the third term of Reception or when the teacher deems the children are independent enough to read within a group session. In key Stage 1 and 2 Guided Reading takes daily for half an hour each afternoon. To aid the teaching of Guided Reading, each year group has a selection of books specifically targeted for that age range. Whilst Reception and the Year 1 class use a Lighthouse Scheme, the rest of the Year groups all use the Pelican guided Reading Scheme. Each year group keeps a record of the children’s progress during guided reading, and uses the information to update tracking information.

Phonics at The Links Primary School

Phonics is a method of teaching children how spoken words are composed of sounds called phonemes and how the letters in words correspond to those phonemes. The process of reading involves decoding or ‘breaking’ words into separate phonemes, so that meaning can be gained. On the other hand, the process of spelling requires the writer to identify all the phonemes in a word and then use their knowledge of the phonemic code to write or ‘make’ the word.

English is essentially a code that can be encoded (written) and decoded (read). We need to teach children this code with as much emphasis as possible on the rules and regularities of the written language.

Children are taught that we can make a word from the sounds and then break it apart again when we want to spell it. Spelling and reading are taught together but children’s may be better at reading before spelling or vice versa.

Written English is recognised as being a complex language. We have 26 letters but 44 phonemes in the spoken language. There are a huge number of letter combinations needed to make these 44 phonemes (a phoneme is the technical name for the smallest unit of sound).

Phonics is taught throughout the school from Nursery to Year 6. Although discrete teaching of phonics and majority of learning takes place in EYFS and Key Stage One, the teaching often continues in to Key Stage Two where appropriate.

We teach synthetic phonics and use a range of different schemes to support the teaching of phonics including Jolly Phonics, Letters and Sounds, Phonics play etc.

Phonics is taught in differentiated groups. Each child’s phonic ability is assessed and children are placed in the appropriate ‘phase’ group for their ability. These can be and often are mixed year groups. Children are taught in small groups by teachers and teaching assistants. The groups are assessed regularly and children moved if appropriate. All teachers and teaching assistants have accessed recent phonics training.