Home Page

Phonics and Reading at Lower Heath

Reading and Phonics at Lower Heath CE Primary School & Nursery  


At Lower Heath, synthetic phonics is taught as the main approach to early reading. Daily phonics sessions are taught from nursery to Year 2, but for some children the teaching of phonics continues in Key Stage 2 if this is necessary. These sessions follow the government published programme of ‘Letters and Sounds’. Each session is a daily 30-minute structured lesson, where the children have the opportunity to practice reading and writing. It is a fun session with lots of speaking and listening and working with a partner.

‘Letters and Sounds’ is split into 6 phases. These are expected to be taught during the following years, however this again may vary according to the needs of the children.

Phase 1                        Nursery

Phase 2, 3, 4                Reception

Phase 4, 5, 6                Year 1

Phase 5, 6                    Year 2

 At each phase children are taught to recognise individual sounds, pairs and clusters of letters. In phonic sessions children are taught to recognise letters, understand the sound they make and then blend them together to create words. Some words, which cannot be phonetically sounded out, are taught at each phase. These are ‘tricky words’ and are taught through sight recognition.

In 2012 a statutory check was introduced in Year 1. The check assesses phonics knowledge learnt in Reception (phase 3) and in Year 1 (phase 4,5). It was developed to help identify the children who need extra help with decoding and blending before they begin Year 2.


At Lower Heath our core reading scheme is the Oxford Reading Tree, however this is supplemented with a range of schemes which will support your child in the process of learning to read. Once we are happy that your child has reached a certain level within the scheme they become 'free readers' which means that they move onto short stories and short fiction books, this can be at any point in your child's learning journey, it all depends on the individual child.


During each week, your child will be involved in a variety of reading tasks such as:

  • Reading with the teacher during guided reading
  • Reading with a teaching assistant on a one-to-one basis
  • Reading independently during DEAR (Drop Everything and Read)
  • Paired reading
  • Reading as a class or group
  • A follow-up activity, which could involve working in their Reading Journals


Please also read with your child at home and encourage them to read for pleasure.


Children take home spellings each week to learn to reinforce phonics covered in class, or they are spellings that are connected to the National Curriculum. 

Spelling tests take place on a weekly basis, again we ask you to support your child with this.


Accelerated Reader

From February 2017, we will be using Accelerated Reader to monitor children's reading progress when they are no longer on book bands.


For more information, see the letter to parents below, as well as the presentation from the Parents' Information Session held on 1st March 2017.