Reading and phonics

At Long Mountain Primary School, we strive to achieve the highest standard for all children entrusted in our care whilst ensuring that they're equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding to support their future learning. We believe that reading is a complex skill with many components, and therefore have adopted a consistent approach to the teaching of these components throughout the school. Reading is a valuable and rewarding experience, and laying a firm foundation in this crucial area will enable our children to become enthusiastic, independent, and reflective readers. Success in reading will have a direct impact on progress in all other areas of the curriculum, and will be crucial in developing our children socially and academically, both during their time at school and in their future lives.

In order to meet expectations in reading we:

  • Deliver a structured and consistent whole school approach to reading
  • Have developed a range of reading strategies and skills: fluency, accuracy, understanding and response to different texts
  • Understand the sound and spelling system and use this to read and spell accurately
  • Monitor and assess children’s progress in reading and identify those who require extra support and intervene at an early stage
  • Develop a love of books and reading
  • Have created a whole school reading culture through a language-rich environment in classrooms and the wider school environment
  • Develop the knowledge of different authors, poets and illustrators
  • Value parents and carers as essential in supporting and developing reading skills and love of reading


Initially the children learn phonics (the sounds letters can make) to read and write. This is called the Letters and Sounds Programme. Children read regularly with their class teacher in reception (when the child's ready) to teach them how to apply the skills to reading. In their daily letters and sounds sessions they apply their skills to writing and spelling.

As the children move through the school, further phonics teaching ensures that they continue to make progress. In Year 1 they carry out the phonics screening.

Alongside the use of phonics, children are taught the "tricky words", words that can't be sounded out and need to be sight read.

As the children progress, they move through the banded school reading books, but are always encouraged to read for pleasure too, most importantly with an adult. Children are encouraged to read regularly at home through the reading challenges.

In our phonics lessons we:

  • Deliver high-quality phonic teaching which secures the crucial skills of word recognition that, once mastered, enable children to read fluently and automatically enabling them to concentrate on the meaning of the text
  • Give opportunity to practice in a variety of ways that interest the learner
  • Differentiate phonics and spelling work according to the needs of pupils, so that all pupils are given sufficient challenge at a level at which they can experience success
  • To give children word work strategies that will enable them to become fluent readers and confident writers

The Rose Report (2006) makes it clear that ‘high-quality phonic work’ should be taught systematically and discretely as the prime approach used in the teaching of early reading. The progression of the Letters and Sounds Programme used in school provides the structure for all phonics teaching.

Beginner readers will be taught:

  • Grapheme–phoneme correspondences in a clearly defined, incremental sequence
  • To apply the highly important skills of blending (synthesising) phonemes in the order in which they occur, all through a word to read it
  • To apply the skills of segmenting words into their spellings
  • That blending and segmenting are reversible processes

We teach phonics like this because it's most effective when:

  • It's part of a broad and rich curriculum that engages children in a range of activities and experiences to develop their speaking and listening skills and phonological awareness
  • It's multisensory, encompassing activities to enliven core learning
  • It's time-limited, to promote confident readers by the end of Key Stage 1
  • It's systematic, that's to say it follows a carefully planned programme reinforcing and building on previous learning to secure children’s progress
  • It's taught discretely and daily at a brisk pace following the structure: revisit, teach, practice, apply from the Letters and Sounds programme
  • There are opportunities to reinforce and apply acquired phonic knowledge and skills across the curriculum, and in such activities as independent, shared and guided reading and writing

We aim to encourage all children to reach their full potential through the provision of varied opportunities to access phonics. We recognise that our phonics planning must allow pupils to gain a progressively deeper understanding of the phonetic structure of the English language as they move through the school to ensure all children are provided with the key tools needed to become a fluent reader. Careful thought is given to the provision of appropriately structured work for children with SEN, often through intervention groups. The school has a variety of strategies to enable all children to have increased access to the curriculum through a broad–based, multi-sensory, visual, auditory and kinaesthetically planned phonics sessions.