Phonics and Reading


Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible but also loving to read (and to want to read for themselves.) This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read. Sharing books with your child will also help foster the love of reading.

How will my child be taught to read?

We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Reception class. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Ask them to show you what these are.            

The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘said,’ ‘the,’ ‘have’ and ‘what’.

The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence. We have a variety of different book types and these are book banded so that the teachers know what level they are. Children can choose books from within that level, we all want to choose what we read! This helps them to enjoy their reading.

The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.


How will I know how well my child is doing?

We will always let you know how well your child is doing. We have reading records that go home in your book bag every day. We will often make comments in this and we love to read your comments also.

How long will it take to learn to read well?

By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. This happens when the teacher reads to the children and also when the children read their own story book.

What do the book bands mean? 


What can I do to help? Is there anything that I shouldn’t do?

You will be invited to a meeting so that we can explain how we teach reading and phonics. Please come and support your child. We would very much like you to know how to help.

Your child will bring different sorts of books home from school. It helps if you know whether this is a book that your child can read on their own or whether this is a book that you should read to them. The teacher will have explained which is which. Please trust your child’s teacher to choose the book(s) that will help your child the most.

Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘blend’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds. If you are unsure, please feel free to ask for clarification on how to pronounce a sound.

Sometimes your child might bring home a picture book that they know well. Please don’t say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to tell you the story out loud; ask them questions about things that happen or what they think about some of the characters in the story.

We know parents and carers are very busy people. But if you can find time to read to your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a family.

Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?

It matters a lot if your child misses school. The way we teach children to read is very well organised, so even one missed lesson means that your child has not learnt something that they need to know to be a good reader.

What if he or she finds it difficult to learn to read?

Everybody finds different subjects hard and for some children that is reading. We encourage children to be brave and resilient learners. If your children needs to develop certain reading skills we will cater for this in school but also share with you strategies of how you can help them. The key is to maintain the love of reading. If we have any serious worries about your child’s reading, we will talk to you about this.

Some children take a bit longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word, e.g. c-a-t to make the word ‘cat’. At our workshops, we will explain how you can help your child to do this.

What if my child turns out to be dyslexic?

The way we teach reading is especially helpful for children who might be dyslexic. This is because we use a very well-organised programme that has a strong focus on phonics. This is very important for children who find learning to read difficult. If you are worried about your child, please come and talk to us.

My child has difficulty pronouncing some sounds. Will this stop him learning to read through phonics?

This isn’t a problem for learning to read as long as we know what sound the child is trying to say. This is not something to worry about. Many children have a few sounds that they can hear clearly but find it difficult to say, particularly the l-sound, r-sound, w-sound, th-sound, s-sound, sh-sound and j-sound. Often they say a t-sound for the c-sound; “tttssh” for the s-sound; “w” for the r-sound and “r” for the l-sound. You can help your child by encouraging him or her to look at your mouth when you say the sound. Whatever you do, do not make your child feel a failure. They can easily learn to read, even if they find one or two sounds difficult to say.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. We want to work with you to help your child make the best progress.

PHONICS – the sound that a letter or group of letters make.

Here at Platt we believe in the importance of teaching phonics on a daily basis from the first day they arrive. We follow the Letters and Sounds document for the sequence of sounds and key words. Children are taught the sound that a letter represents and they then learn how to ‘blend’ (put sounds together to make a word) and ‘segment’ (separate a word to recognise each sound in the word). Throughout the year children are assessed and grouped according to their next steps. Later in the year, Reception join Year 1 and Year 2 in working their way through the entire programme. The process means that children are taught, practice and then review what they have learnt.

When the children first start they learn the Phase 2 sounds and the move to Phase 3 when they are able to securely blend sounds. Phase 4 ensures that children are using the sounds confidently in reading and writing sentences. Phase 5 teaches the children familiar sounds but with an alternative grapheme (the letters that represent each sound). Phase 6 focuses more on the spelling and grammar side of sounds. Most year 1 children will be on Phase 5 and most year 2 on phase 6 but this is just a guide. In the term 6, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done, and especially if we have any worries at all.

You can use the links below to help you see how we pronounce each sound correctly. We also offer parent workshops to help explain throughout the year.




Have fun learning each of the sounds together with your child!