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Reading / Phonics

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At Western, we have high expectations of all children and the aim of our phonics teaching is to ensure they have a firm foundation on which to build reading skills.

Phonics is taught systematically every day in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 classes. We follow the Letters and Sounds resource, which sets out clear principles and practice of high quality phonics.  In Key Stage 2, the approach is carried on in spelling sessions and also in intervention programmes for children who need extra support.

High-quality phonics teaching helps children develop their reading, writing, spelling and general communication skills. It helps secure the crucial skills of word recognition that enable children to read fluently, allowing them to concentrate on the meaning of the text. Activities are designed to teach word decoding and recognition skills as well as comprehension skills.

Beginner readers are taught:

  • Grapheme-phoneme correspondences in clear stages (linking spellings and sounds).
  • The important skill of blending (synthesising) phonemes.
  • Segmenting words into their constituent phonemes to aid reading and spelling.

The teaching of phonics is systematic. It follows a carefully structured programme building on previous learning to secure children´s progress. It is taught discretely and daily at a brisk pace. There are opportunities to apply phonic knowledge and skills across the curriculum and in activities such as whole class and guided reading, as well as reading independently. The children´s progress in developing and applying their phonic knowledge is carefully assessed and monitored.

We have a consistent and rigorous approach to teaching phonics and use a range of resources alongside Letters and Sounds to support teaching and learning including Jolly Phonics.

There are a wide range of reading books in classrooms and the school library. The principal reading scheme of the school is Oxford Reading Tree alongside other schemes so that we can cater for the interests and needs of all our children.  We encourage parents to read frequently with their children using their school reading books and books from home.

Children with special educational needs:

We understand that all children are individuals and that they learn in different ways.  We believe in being proactive and seek to identify any learning difficulties in phonics or reading that children may have as early as possible.

The Learning Support branch of the Inclusion Team is passionate about helping children fulfil their potential and provides additional and different methods, resources and activities to help support children with their specific learning needs.

Our provision includes intensive 1 to 1 support and we have a range of interventions and programmes which can be tailored to a child's individual requirements.

We use a multi-sensory, kinaesthetic teaching approach to engage the children and embed learning.


Western Primary School is part of Red Kite Learning Trust, a charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 7523507, registered office address: Harrogate Grammar School, Arthurs Avenue, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG2 0DZ

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