Teaching Programme for Phonics

Developing a love of reading is at the heart of our curriculum.  Through reading, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.  They read for pleasure as well as to seek information.  Reading is essential in enabling pupils to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know.  All pupils should have the opportunity to be fluent, confident readers who are able to successfully comprehend and understand a wide range of texts. We support pupils to develop a love of reading, know a range of authors, and be able to understand more about the world in which they live through the knowledge they gain from texts.  Good comprehension skills are where children gain a love of reading, where children can escape to fantasy worlds or discover new and exciting facts about the world.  Reading ensures pupils develop the skills of language that are essential if they are to participate fully as a member of society. We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills, and so we encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school through good quality texts.


          To enjoy reading for both pleasure and information

          To read easily, fluently and with good understanding

          To be a confident reader

          To gain a wide vocabulary, making links between known and new words

          To comprehend what has been read and enjoy discussing what has been learnt

          To enjoy a range of authors, choosing and talking about favourite books

          To enjoy listening to and joining in with, a range of familiar stories, poems and information books

          For reading to be accessed in all subjects to develop knowledge and understanding

          To develop the habit of reading regularly at home 

          To know and retell a range of stories and poems       

At Devonshire, systematic synthetic phonics is the prime approach to the teaching of reading.  We follow the sequence set out in Little Wandle’s Letters and Sounds program and use their phonic books for children to practise and apply phonic skills.   Children learn discrete sounds, then blend these in words and sentences. Prior learning is revisited every lesson via a revisit and review.  As they move into year two, the children continue to spend time developing fluency and vocabulary to enable them to comprehend what they are reading.  Children spend time understanding spelling patterns, rules and grammar, as well as revisiting and practising prior learning.

Phonics is taught daily in whole class mixed ability groups.  Phonic books are carefully matched to the children’s phonic ability and these books are sent home weekly.  Children who need further support to keep up receive daily peer to peer support for phonics.  Rapid phonics and phonic boxes are used to support children to catch up with phonics.  Group reading provides opportunities for children to practise and embed the phonemes and graphemes learnt, they re-read these books to develop fluency and vocabulary knowledge.  Daily reading ensures children develop blending and fluency skills, whilst gaining comprehension skills.  A phonics first approach is used, but there is also a focus on vocabulary, comprehension, expression and a love of reading.  Reading is taught daily, with opportunities to read and discuss texts.

All children have access to a wide variety of books.  In Reception, they begin with wordless books in Autumn term where they learn good book habits, enjoy developing vocabulary and making up and retelling stories.  When children are able to blend some sounds, group reading will start with their class teacher and a phonics reading book matched to their phonic ability is sent home.   Children also have access to a range of age appropriate reading for pleasure books.  In addition to this, children have access to the school library so that they can choose a book to enjoy with their families at home.  

Teachers enjoy reading daily to children.  They model how to read with expression, share their curiosity in books, discuss vocabulary and take every opportunity to comprehend what has been read with the children. Engaging children in books prepares them to become committed and enthusiastic readers: they can transform their attitudes to reading. Children learn to focus and share the enjoyment of the story; they learn how stories start and finish, and how a plot unravels and is resolved; they learn that books can transport them elsewhere. Without this, they cannot experience ‘the exquisite joys of immersion in the reading life’.  Book-related talk introduces children to language that they might not hear in ordinary conversation, especially the vocabulary of the book itself.