Sele First School

  • SearchSearch Site
  • Translate Translate Page
  • Facebook Facebook
  • Twitter Twitter
  • SeeSaw SeeSaw




The Teaching of Phonics at Sele First School

At Sele First School we recognise that being able to read is the most important skill children will learn during their early schooling. This has far-reaching implications for lifelong confidence and well-being.

Our curriculum gives early years teaching staff a powerful phonics teaching tool to ensure that young children are well-placed to read and spell words with fluency and confidence by the time they reach the end of KS1. This is an entitlement we want to achieve for every child.

The following gives a brief summary of our curriculum.  For further information please refer to our English Policy on this website and explore the following links:



Through our reading curriculum we will teach children the phonic knowledge and skills they need to become fluent readers by the age of seven (end of KS1).  We will teach children how the alphabet works for reading and spelling by:

  • fostering children’s speaking and listening skills as valuable in their own right and as preparation to learning phonic knowledge and skills;
  • teaching high quality phonic work from the time children enter Nursery

Our phonics programme works alongside our language-rich early years curriculum (EYFS).  We plan to ensure that all children make progress at a pace and that work is a good match with their capabilities.


Early Introductions to Reading

In Nursery we start using Phase One Letters and Sounds. Phase One develops speaking and listening skills. Good speaking and listening skills are a priority in their own right and they pave the way to making a good start on reading and writing.

We provide a broad and rich language experience for children in early years. You will see children enjoyably engaged in worthwhile activities that encourage them to talk a lot, to increase their stock of words and to improve their command of dialogue.

We know that the more words children know and understand before they start on our systematic programme of phonic work the better equipped they are to succeed.

 Read Write Inc

Children in our Nursery start using Read Write Inc. once we feel that they have got a secure understanding of the content of Letters and Sounds Phase One. If a child does not attend our Nursery they will start in Reception.

We teach phonics using the Read Write Inc scheme so that children can tackle new words by blending the sounds. We organise phonics teaching in short sessions of around 20 minutes each day in Nursery, Reception and Y1.  We also plan lots of additional opportunities for children to use and apply their phonic knowledge and skills throughout the day.

Right from the start, every child at Sele First School will experience success.  They will move step by step through the Read Write Inc programme.  Children learn to segment and blend for reading and spelling; this is made enjoyable and easy for children to understand.  Resources such as magnetic letters can be used on small whiteboards by children, as individuals or in pairs. Children can learn to recognise letters by touch, sight and sounding out simultaneously; they can form and re-form the same sets of letters into different words.  Children can compose words by moving letters even though children may not yet be able to write them.  They can share the activity and talk about it with a partner.

In Reception children build up knowledge of grapheme–phoneme correspondence systematically.  The alphabet contains only 26 letters. Spoken English uses about 44 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). In other words, a sound can be represented by a letter (e.g. ‘e’ or ‘p’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘sh’ or ‘air’).

A letter consists of a sound, a shape and it has a capital form and a lower case form.  The letter sound is the first thing that children need to recognise. We use lower case letters for our writing other than the children’s names at the start of the process; children are then taught capitals that appear at the start of a sentence or for special nouns (naming words).

To recap:

Letter shape = grapheme.

Letter sound = phoneme.

We explain to children the purpose of learning phonics and we plan lots of opportunities to apply their developing skills in interesting and engaging reading and writing activities.

We provide attractive, interesting books that the children will enjoy sharing with you. The key reading schemes used in school at the moment are Read Write Inc, Oxford Reading Tree and Literacy Web.

As the children progress with reading they will be offered a wider selection of texts using books for reference and pleasure. All pupils have regular structured access to both our fiction and non-fiction libraries. Teachers read with all children regularly and keep detailed written records.We have a growing number of parent and community volunteers who support some children regularly on a 1:1 tutoring basis – they are known as reading buddies.

At the start of each new academic year every child from Reception to Y4 is given a Home School Reading Record (HSRR).  These go home each evening with the exception of the evening teachers gather them in to look at the week’s progress. The day this happens is noted in the HSRR.  We ask parents and carers to share in their child’s learning process by keeping in close contact with teachers on a regular basis by adding notes and comments in this diary.

Each day every child from Y1 to Y4 take part in shared reading. Twice a week they will do guided reading with the teacher.  Reading Challenges are set for the older children to help foster the reading habit.


Read Write Inc is taught in groups; helps teachers track children’s progress and make reliable assessments; assessments are used to plan next steps and organise groups.  Groups across each year group are assessed every 6-8 weeks.  This is done 1:1 with the class teacher.  The assessment checks every child’s phonic knowledge against 9 stages; after assessment groups are adjusted to match the progress of each child. Near the end of Y1 each child takes part in the national phonics screening assessment.  Annual reports inform parents of how well children achieve.

Our phonics curriculum is an essential body of knowledge, skills and understanding that has to be learned largely through direct teaching.  Children who regularly miss school can have gaps in their knowledge and understanding.  They may be offered additional group support in Reception or in Y1.

We see Read Write Inc as a time-limited programme of phonic work aimed at securing fluent word recognition skills for reading by the end of KS1, although the teaching and learning of spelling, which children generally find harder than reading, will continue.  We know that more is needed for children to achieve the goal of reading, which is reading to learn and comprehension.

We know that some children need a different or a complimentary approach to secure their progress.  For this we use Lexia® Core5® Reading.  This supports children by providing differentiated instruction for children of all abilities (R–Y4). Lexia provides explicit, systematic, personalised learning in the five areas of reading instruction.  Lexia targets skill gaps as they emerge, providing specific resources individuals or small-groups of children need.

Due to its broad scope and sequence of activities, Lexia provides a personalised solution for our children:

  • Phonological Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension (foundational to advanced KS2+)
  • Spelling Rules

Additional Support and SEND

We recognise that high quality phonic teaching can substantially reduce the number of children at risk of falling below age-related expectations for reading.  At Sele First School we focus on ‘quality first’ teaching to help reduce the need for supplementary programmes.

However, some children can experience short or longer-term conditions such as hearing, visual or speech impairments.  We know that even a mild, fluctuating hearing loss can hinder normal communication development, slow children’s progress and lead to feelings of failure and social isolation.

Risks to their communication and language development must be shared with parents or carers so that the situation can be fully investigated and professional help sought.  Where hearing loss, for example, has been ruled out and practitioners and parents or carers continue to have concerns about a child’s development, advice may be sought from our SENDCo who may refer to the speech and language therapy service.

English as an Additional Language

Children learning English as an additional language are supported to develop speaking and listening in the programme and especially in Phase One.  This helps teachers strengthen provision for children learning English as an additional language.

A familiar speaker using imaginative resources to stimulate talk about a topic which the children already know something about helps us to provide a more helpful context for these children. Our programme offers many opportunities for planned taught and child-initiated small-group and partner work to encourage these children to communicate in English as early as possible.

Word Power (Spellings and Vocabulary Ninja)

At Sele First School, we follow the National Curriculum for spellings. A full breakdown and progression of spellings can be found in the English Appendix 1: Spelling.

The national Curriculum English Appendix includes progression across school for vocabulary, grammar and punctuation.

Daily Read Write Inc. also incorporates spellings into the programme. Children practise age appropriate spellings alongside their taught phonic knowledge.

As set out in the National Curriculum, the children are taught a number of Common Exception Words/Statutory Spellings appropriate to their year group. These spellings do not always follow phonological/spelling rules.

In addition to daily phonics, Y2 receive ‘Words of the Week’ which are assigned each Monday and uploaded onto Seesaw.  Children are quizzed each Friday.  Lists are based on National Curriculum statutory KS1 spellings, common spelling patterns or high frequency words, based on your child’s assessments.

At KS2, Spellings are assigned each Monday (in Reading Records) and uploaded onto Seesaw.  Children are quizzed each Friday.  Lists are based on National Curriculum statutory KS2 spellings, common spelling patterns or high frequency words, based on your child’s assessments. Children in Y3 and Y4 have  dedicated time to practise spellings using the Spell blast app.

Where appropriate, some children may use LEXIA as an additional learning tool to support their knowledge of spelling patterns and phonological awareness.

Vocabulary Ninja resources are used to support the teaching, learning and practise of directed spellings.

Vocabulary Ninja is taught daily cross Reception, KS1 and KS2. This has supported children’s language development and supported their comprehension whilst learning to read. Children are actively encouraged to apply new vocabulary at every appropriate opportunity.