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Teaching Phonics & Early Reading

Subject leader: Laura Mackenzie


Phonics (reading and spelling)

At Normanton Common, we aim for all our children to become fluent and confident readers and writers. We use Read, Write Inc, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception until Year 2, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they prepare for KS2.


Mrs Mackenzie is our Read Write Inc lead teacher and champions reading within Early Years and KS1.


What is Read Write Inc?

Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics complete literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. RWI was developed by Ruth Miskin and more information on this can be found here.


Foundations for phonics in Nursery

  • From the start of nursery we prepare our children for the phonics teaching and learning through the implementation of Launchpad for Literacy. This is an established and effective pre-phonics programme which supports the development of key skills that very young children need, in order to be ‘ready’ for the systemic, synthetic phonics programme in reception.
  • We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. These include:
    • sharing high-quality stories and poems
    • learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
    • activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
    • attention to high-quality language.
  • We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.

Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1


Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read

  • Any child who needs additional practice has daily ‘Keep-up’ support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
  • We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use RWI to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these  – at pace.

Home reading

  • The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.
  • Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.
  • We use the RWI parent resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.


Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

  • Assessment for learning is used:
    • daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
  • Summative assessment is used:
    • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.
    • by SLT and scrutinised through the RWI assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.

 Statutory assessment

  • Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.

Home Reading

Your child will start to bring books home when they are confident readers, relating to their reading stage. They will bring home a phonics based book, this will aid application, speed and fluency – developing speedy reading!  Following on from this, they will bring home a comprehension based book which will begin to enrich their reading, which will require application of decoding skills.  Children are also able to borrow books from the class  libraries for you to share and enjoy at home. We also carefully monitor the children’s reading at home and encourage parents to be fully active and engaged with us in this, in order to support their children’s ongoing development.


Working in Partnership with Parents

At Normanton Common we want to encourage every child to read with a grown up at home every night. Children who read with their families grow in confidence much more quickly and develop a love of reading that can last a lifetime. In recognition of the important role parents have we hope our home/school reading initiatives will motivate children to read at home whilst earning ‘rewards’ for their efforts.


We send out information and links that will support you in helping your child read, as well as holding sessions within school.


Hints for listening to your child read

  • When reading together at home try to make the time relaxed, enjoyable and positive.
  • Vary it. Read together, read to your child and take turns or have them read to you.
  • Before reading, talk about the cover, the title and the pictures, and discuss what the book may be about.
  • During reading, discuss what has been read up to that point and predict what might happen next.

Reading Volunteers
The school actively encourages parents and carers to volunteer their time in school to support reading.

Please contact the school office if you are interested in supporting reading in school.

Useful Resources and Links

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