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Learning to Read

Learning to Read at Spinney Hill Primary School


Synthetic Phonics


Learning to read is one of the most important skills that our children will learn to prepare them for life.


At Spinney Hill Primary School, our children start learning to read as soon as they arrive in Nursery. They learn about different sounds, including the sounds that letters make and about rhythm and rhyme through nursery rhymes. They also learn to find letters and sounds in books that they share with their teachers and at home.


Our teachers use ‘Jolly Phonics’ and ‘Letters and Sounds’ to teach the letters of the alphabet and the sounds that they make. This approach to learning to read is called synthetic phonics. This starts in Nursery.


Once the children have learned the letters and sounds (graphemes and phonemes), they learn to put them together in order to read (blend) and to spell (segment) words and sentences. Children learn many of these skills in our Reception (Foundation 2) classes.


There are six phases of Letters and Sounds, Phase 1 is covered in Nursery (Foundation 1), Phases 2 to 4 are covered in Reception (Foundation 2), Phase 4 and 5 in Year 1 and Phase 6 in Year 2.


In Year 1, the children are required to take a Phonics Screening Test to see how well they have been learning phonics.

Children who arrive later than our Reception classes at Spinney Hill are given ‘catch up’ lessons in Letters and Sounds. This takes place mostly in small groups.


Children who arrive at school later than Key Stage One are given a catch-up programme of synthetic phonics called ‘Read Write Incorporated’. This is sometimes called Ruth Miskin Learning (RML) after the lady who devised this style of teaching phonics.


Please download the documents below to find out more about each phonics phase.


Reading Everywhere!


At Spinney Hill, we encourage children and adults to read widely. You will often see children lining up outside the school in the mornings reading their books. The teachers join in too, even using Kindles! There are times when everybody reads in class. This is called ERIC. Children regularly read in small groups with their teacher in the classroom. This is called Guided Reading. Children will often read a large book or from the interactive whiteboard together with the teacher. This is called Shared Reading. We have a large Library at Spinney Hill School and children are encouraged to take home a library book once a week.


Our Reading Scheme


Whilst children in Key Stage Two read a wide range of books, in Key Stage One it is important that children are able to read books which incorporate the letters and sounds that they have just learned in their phonics lessons.


The Reading Scheme used at Spinney Hill School is called the Oxford Reading Tree. This is supplemented by a further scheme called Floppy’s Phonics.