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Phonics and Reading at Farsley Springbank Primary School

We set out to enable our children to learn phonic knowledge and skills with the expectation that they will become fluent readers, having secured word building and recognition skills.


Our key aims are as follows:

• To ensure that the children are taught to read and spell high frequency words that do not conform to regular phonic patterns.

• To ensure that children have opportunities to read texts and words that are within their phonic capabilities as early as possible, even though all words may not be entirely decodable by the children unaided.

• To encourage the children to attempt to spell words for themselves, within the range of their phonic knowledge, by building an individual repertoire and the confidence and strategies to attempt the unfamiliar.

• To help the children to apply the skill of blending phonemes in order to read words.

• To help the children to segment words into their constituent phonemes in order to spell words.

• To learn that blending and segmenting words are reversible processes.


Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 follow the ‘systematic synthetic phonics’ approach, using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. It’s an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words. We have adopted the suggested daily teaching sequence set out in ‘Letters and Sounds’; Introduction, Revisit and Review, Teach, Practise, Apply and Assess learning against criteria. Alongside this programme, we also teach using the ‘Jolly Phonics’ programme, where children learn a story, a song and an action to go with each sound.


Letters and Sounds is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. There are no big leaps in learning. Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ – words with spellings that are unusual or that children have not yet been taught. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’ – you can’t really break the sounds down for such words so it’s better to just ‘recognise’ them.

At Springbank, the teaching of phonics is multi-sensory, encompassing simultaneous visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities to motivate the children and make learning fun and exciting. Phonics is taught in short, briskly paced sessions and then applied to reading and writing in a meaningful context. All activities are well matched to the children’s abilities and interests, and all classroom environments have an age appropriate display concentrating on both sounds and key words.



Whole class daily discrete phonics lessons every day for up to 20 minutes.

By the end of Reception, children are expected to be secure up to Phase 4.


Year One

Whole class daily discrete phonics lessons for up to 30 minutes.

By the end of Year 1, children are expected to be secure up to Phase 5.


Year Two

Whole class daily discrete phonics lessons for up to 30 minutes.

By the end of Year 2, children are expected to be secure up to Phase 6.

Children will revisit sounds and tricky words learnt throughout Reception and Year 1.


Differentiation and Assessment

Children’s progress in developing and applying their phonic knowledge is carefully assessed and monitored. In Reception, children are tracked using the Letters and Sounds Progress Tracking sheet. All teachers use daily phonics sessions to monitor children’s progress and assess children through their writing and reading.  This allows next steps to be identified.


Phonics Screening Check

In Year 1 children will take the phonics screening check. This is carried out in an informal way and your child will not know they are being assessed. They will be given forty words which they will be asked to decode and read (e.g. chop, drip, bright). Twenty of these words will be pseudo words (non-words) which are still phonically decodable (e.g. brip, snorb). Pseudo words are included in the check to assess whether your child can decode a word using phonics skills and not their memory. This assessment will confirm whether children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. If a child does not reach the appropriate standard then additional support will be put in place and the check will be repeated in Year Two.



We use a combination of reading schemes. These include Oxford Reading Tree, Floppy’s Phonics and Collins Big Cat. These give a variety of fiction and non–fiction books to develop children’s reading range. Children learn to read at different rates. Once they finish the reading scheme, we encourage them to become ‘free readers’ and choose their own books.