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Henry Maynard Primary School and Nursery

Learning, Working and Achieving Together


We use Letters and Sounds phonic scheme to teach phonics and reading from Nursery to Year 3. In the Foundation Stage and in Key Stage 1 phonics is taught everyday and strategies are put in place for children that may need some additional support.

Phonics is important for children to become effective readers, but it is not an end in itself. Our children are taught phonics as part of a language rich curriculum, so that they develop their wider reading skills at the same time.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way - starting with the easiest sounds, progressing through to the most complex - it’s the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It’s particularly helpful for children aged 5–7.

Our classes use a wide range of reading scheme and non-scheme books, colour coded into ability bands using the Book Band system, to teach and support reading.

Parents and significant grown-ups are invited into classrooms every Friday morning to take part in Reading Morning with their children from Reception to Year 4.

We hold Reading workshops for parents in the Autumn term to support reading at home.

To encourage reading across our school community a book swap trolley for parents and carers is available outside both school offices. Please bring in a book to swap and share.

Information about Phonics for parents from the DfE can be downloaded here.

Each week your child is expected to take a free choice book home, providing they have a book bag to keep it in.  Your child's teacher will also select a book for them to read with you at home as they progress to becoming a fluent reader.  We really encourage dialogue between home and school so please complete the reading diary with your child each week.
Helping your child with phonics
Phonics works best when children are given plenty of encouragement and learn to enjoy reading and books. Here are some simple things to support your child
  • Attend our parent phonics workshops
  • Highlight letter sounds when you read with your child. Teaching how sounds match with letters starts with individual letters such as ‘s’, ‘a’ and ‘t’ and then moves on to two-letter sounds such as ‘ee’, ‘ch’ and ‘ck’.
  • With all books, encourage your child to ‘sound out’ unfamiliar words and then blend the sounds together from left to right rather than looking at the pictures to guess. Once your child has read an unfamiliar word, talk about what it means and help him or her to follow the story.
  • Your child’s teacher will be able to suggest books with the right level of phonics for your child. Your child will be able to work out new words from their letters and sounds, rather than just guessing
  • Read with your child every day. Grandparents and older brothers or sisters can help, too. Encourage your child to blend the sounds all the way through a word.
  • Word games like ‘I-spy’ can also be an enjoyable way of teaching children about sounds and letters. You can also encourage your child to read words from your shopping list or road signs to practise phonics.
  • Use the reading diary to communicate about books and reading with your child's teacher, this tells us whether your child has enjoyed a particular book and shows problems or successes he or she has had at home.

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

The phonics screening check is statutory and comprises of a short and simple assessment of phonic decoding. It consists of a list of 40 words, half real words and half non-words, which Year 1 children read to a teacher. Administering the assessment usually takes between four and nine minutes per child.

The check is designed to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard and have grasped the essential skills that underpin good reading.

Pupils who have not reached the standard at the end of Year 1 receive extra support to ensure they can improve their phonic decoding skills. They have the opportunity to retake the screening check in Year 2.

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