Phonics and Reading

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Phonics and Early Reading

At Hemington Primary, we teach phonics using a linguistic phonics programme called Sounds-Write. Sounds Write is a very highly structured, multi-sensory, incremental, and code-oriented, instructional approach to teaching children to read and spell. The Sounds-Write programme is implemented in the classroom and provides very fast and effective teaching for children at all levels. The Sounds Write programme is successful in teaching children to read and spell because it starts with what all children know from a very young age – the sounds of our spoken language. Then, using a very systematic approach, it teaches them how these sounds are coded within our writing system.

Click the link below to find out more about our phonics programme: Sounds Write Scheme 

Phonics Intent, Implementation & Impact

What will my child be learning in phonics sessions?

Click on the links below to access the sequence of learning for our Reception, Year 1 & 2 children:

Reception Phonics Long Term Plan

Year 1 Phonics Long Term Plan

Year 2 Phonics Long Term Plan

 What will my child be reading?

In KS1 children read decodable reading books from Sounds-Write and Dandelion Readers. These books are fully decodable texts that build on the knowledge or ‘code’ that is being taught during Sounds-Write phonics lessons.

The books are carefully graded with a step-by-step introduction to new sounds and spellings and provide children with opportunities to practice and consolidate their reading skills of blending and segmenting throughout the text as well as the opportunity to practice reading fluency.

We also believe that children need exposure to high quality, rich texts to develop a love of reading and this is something that we want to promote at Hemington. Children also have access to class libraries which are made up of collections of different books, for example:

Story books

Picture books

Favourite books

Traditional tales

Topic related books  

These books have been carefully chosen so that children will enjoy sharing them and gain pleasure from reading them. They will also support the children’s development of personal book preferences meaning they are more likely to be motivated to read, read widely and develop lifelong reading habits.

We also teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs and read good books to and with the children. This helps to increase the number of words they know– their vocabulary – and helps them talk confidently about books.

What is the Phonics Screening Check?

The phonics screening check is designed to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding and blending skills to an appropriate standard. Alien words are included because they will be new to all pupils; they do not favour children with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. This tests whether children know their sounds and can use them to decode new unfamiliar words. Below are some examples of alien words. In the summer term of Year 1, the Government asks us to do a phonics check of all the children.  Children who do not pass the phonics check in Year 1 retake the assessment during Year 2 to ensure that they have made progress. If your child is a candidate for this, then we will let you know in advance and also feedback the findings.

If you would like more information about the Year 1 Phonics Screen Check please visit:

Phonics Screening Information

Please click here to read our Reading Policy


KS2 Reading

Reading is at the centre of learning at Hemington. We want our pupils to be proficient readers, to enjoy reading and to develop their reading skills as they continue on through school – and through life.  Reading is a fundamental part of everything we do and our children are exposed to high quality texts across the curriculum and reading skills are taught explicitly in all year groups

We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for enjoyment. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read. 

Teachers across the school read to the children every day so the children get to know and love all sorts of stories, poetry and information texts. This helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing.

We check children’s reading skills regularly so we that we can ensure they are progressing or if they need some 1:1 work or small group intervention.  In Key Stage 2 (years 3, 4, 5 and 6,) the children undertake guided reading sessions and have a wide selection of reading materials to choose from. They have access to educational magazines and First News – a children’s newspaper.

How do children learn to read?

Learning to read does not happen all at once. It involves a series of stages that lead, over time, to independent reading and to high levels of fluency. The best time for children to start learning to read is when they are very young. We therefore start teaching reading from reception using a synthetic phonics scheme.

At Hemington Primary School, each child is expected to read at home as much as possible (aiming for four times a week) whether that is to an adult (for developing readers) or independently (for fluent readers). We have our reading race track in each classroom which helps to encourage lots of reading and rewards this! Each child will also engage in focussed teaching of reading in a weekly whole-class reading lesson. Teachers also aim to listen to every child read every week. Teachers, teaching assistants and reading volunteers will aim to listen to struggling readers even more frequently.

How long will it take to learn to read well?

Every child is different and children will learn to read at different speeds. By the end of Year 2, most children will be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for their age. In Year 3 and beyond, we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on.

What reading schemes are used to help children read?

In school we have made a significant investment in a variety of reading material to encourage your child to access a range of texts suited to their own personal interests while also extending their reading ability and confidence.

Following this, we have a selection of hundreds of titles for children to take home and to read with their parents/carers. The books range from picture books with no text all the way to sophisticated texts aimed at confident, independent readers. Our ‘free reader’ selection includes a wide range of books from classics to current, contemporary novels for pupils to enjoy.

In every classroom, pupils also have access to high quality texts written from established and well respected authors, which have been grouped accordingly to extend the range of reading which our children are exposed to. Authors in these collections include Dick King Smith, Roald Dahl, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo, David Walliams, Anthony Horowitz, Malorie Blackman and many more. Each classroom has a themed reading corner and these include author collections, recommended reads (from peers and the class teacher) and poetry collections.

Hemington Primary School uses Accelerated Reader from year 2, which provides a comprehensive book cataloguing and assessment system for all year groups and complements our reading curriculum. All children have their own login and reading can be monitored by staff and parents.

How can I help my child to read?

Our staff talk about their own favourite stories and we encourage students to do the same. Pupils at Hemingon should bring home at least one book. One has been chosen from the class library by your child. It is based on their own interests and they may require additional support reading this book. The second book will be selected from our banded reading programme, designed to match your child’s current reading ability. This book should still provide a level of challenge and your child may need a little support to read/understand some words. Reading with your child for ten minutes a day is better than an hour once a week. If your child is tired, leave the reading until the next day. Your role is to support the reading as little, or as much, as necessary, depending on the book

Throughout the school quality reading texts are used to support our writing, grammar work and reading sessions. These link, where possible, to our half termly topics. 

Please click on the link below to see what books your child is reading over the next 2/3  years

Hemington Quality Key Texts Linked to Our Topics