Teaching Phonics


Teaching Phonics

What do we teach?

At Marldon C of E Primary School, Read Write Inc. (RWI) is used to teach synthetic phonics.  A graduated approach is used and children begin phonics as soon as they enter Reception. Phonics is taught daily through a systematic approach. Children are taught in small groups based on the progress they have made in the scheme.

In Reception, children begin by developing an awareness of sounds through stories, rhymes and games. They quickly move on to learn the links between individual letters and their sounds. There are 44 different sounds to be learnt and again these are taught in a systematic way throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1 using the RWI scheme.  In some cases, where children in Key Stage Two still require early reading skills they will receive small group or 1:1 intervention.

How do we teach phonics?

Within Early Years and KS1, phonics is taught discreetly in a daily session. Children then apply their new skills when reading books from the RWI scheme which match the letters and sounds that they have previously learnt. Teachers regularly assess children’s progress to check where they are and what they need to learn next.

See video link for an information about RWI lessons

See Parent FAQ document for RWI phonics.



We adopt a graduated approach to the teaching of reading, using the following steps:

Phonics based approach

A phonics-based approach is used in Reception and Key Stage One, to introduce children to reading. Children learn to decode books that are closely matched to the letters and sounds they are currently learning. Children are encouraged to read at home on a daily basis. Children keep the same book to allow them to apply their skills to decode the text. They then keep the same book to allow them the opportunity to practise reading for fluency. A reading record book is used as a communication tool between parents and teachers and allows regular updates on reading progress. In Reception and Key Stage 1, Children are also provided with log in details for Bug Club; an online reading resource which allows them to access a range of books both fiction and non-fiction, linked to their reading level.

Book bands

Teaching Phonics 1When children move beyond Set 3 of the RWI scheme and a predominantly phonics approach to reading, they are then taught a broader range of reading skills to develop their understanding of the texts they read. Guided reading sessions in class help them to develop the key skills for reading including key comprehensions skills. Books are grouped by the coloured book band system and pupils are directed towards the appropriate band for their reading level. When they are confident within a level, the children are assessed using a particular title from the colour band they are reading before moving on to the next colour level. Children continue to log their home and school reading in their Reading Record book. Regular reading continues to be encouraged. Online resources add to the wide range of reading material available to the children at home as well as in school.

Bridging Band

By the time that the children are able to read books in the higher colour book band levels, they will soon be ready to move into the next phase of reading. These higher colour bands act as bridging bands to develop the children’s independent reading skills, confidence and fluency. When children enter Key Stage 2, they are assessed using the Star Reading system for Accelerated Reader. The assessment provides a standardised score and a reading age for the child. If they achieve the required standard then they are eligible to begin using Accelerated Reader. Teachers monitor children’s reading scores to ensure the system is right for them.




Accelerated Reader

Teaching Phonics 2

The Accelerated Reader (AR) approach moves away from the traditional reading scheme to include books by a range of popular, modern and classic authors and poets. There are also non-fiction texts, graphic novels and play scripts to name a few additional text types. The system determines the level of readability for this vast range of texts. After assessment, children are allocated a numerical range from which they can choose books. This is closely monitored by teachers. Independent reading and level of understanding is confirmed through an online retrieval quiz taken on the completion of a book. Children are expected to achieve a minimum of 85% success rate over the term. We try to provide books that broaden horizons and help learners connect with the world around them with a focus on positive moral values, developing empathy and showing diversity.

Reading for pleasure

At Marldon C of E Primary School we feel really passionately that the children develop a lifelong love of reading and books and that they choose to read for pleasure.

  • We encourage the children to read a wide range of genres and authors, including non-fiction books, newspapers and novels.
  • Book displays around the school inspire the children to choose books and authors that they may not have considered before.
  • We have also worked hard to develop our reading spaces around the school to inspire the children’s interest and enthusiasm for reading and books.
  • Teacher’s enjoy sharing books daily with children in all classes.