Reading & Phonics

At Adelaide Primary School, learning to read well is a priority. We believe to be successful in life you must be able to read. Our early readers take part in daily phonics and reading sessions matched to their stage of development. They learn the sounds that the letters and groups of letters make, and how to blend these sounds together to read words. They practise these early reading skills in books which are closely matched to their phonic knowledge.

Once children have learned to read with a good degree of accuracy and are assessed as fluent readers, the whole class read the same text with an emphasis on comprehension through carefully planned questioning by the teacher. All children have access to high quality texts and are enabled to develop the skills of reading to learn.

We are excited to announce that we are in the process of implementing the very successful early reading and phonics program Read Write Inc. This popular program is used in thousands of schools across the country and is approved by the Department for Education.

From the Summer Term 2022, children in Foundation Stage 1 and 2 will learn to read using the Read Write Inc program. From September 2022, children in Year 1 and Year 2 (and some children in Years 3 to 6) will join the program too. In the meantime, we will continue to follow the Bug Club Phonics Program (also approved by the Department for Education) for all our early readers from Y1 upwards, until they have learned to read with a good degree of accuracy and are assessed as fluent readers. This is usually achieved during Year 2, however for some children it may take longer. Both Read Write Inc and Bug Club Phonics follow a ‘systematic synthetic phonics’ approach, which research shows is the best way for all children to learn to read. This means they learn the sounds the letters and groups of letters make and blend the sounds together to read words.

Below is a summary of the systematic progression within both Bug Club Phonics and Read Write Inc.

Bug Club Phonics

What do we teach when?

Phase One (FS1):

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two (FS2):

Children learn 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound made by each of these letters. They also begin to learn some simple vowel digraphs (two letters together making one sound). They learn to blend sounds together to read words and segment words into their separate sounds for spelling. They apply these new skills as they learn to read simple captions.

Phase Three & Four (FS2):

Children learn the remaining 7 letters of the alphabet and one sound made by each of these letters. They learn to read and write more digraphs such as ch, oo, th, ai representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. They continue to apply their knowledge and skills by reading captions, sentences and questions and by writing captions and simple sentences.

On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language. Children also learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five (Year 1 and early Year 2):

Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn a further 29 graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Children are assessed every few weeks to check they are making good progress and support is given to those children who may need a little extra practice.

Read Write Inc.

First children learn to read:

  • Set 1 Speed Sounds: these are sounds written with one letter:
  • m a s d t I n p g o c k u b f e l h r j v and sounds written with two letters (your child will call these ‘special friends’): sh th ch qu ng nk
  • Words containing these sounds, by sound-blending, e.g. m-a-t mat, g-o-t got, b-e-s-t best
  • Blending Books and Red, Green and Purple Storybooks to practise these sounds

Next, children learn to read:

  • Set 2 Speed Sounds: ay ee igh ow oo o oar or air ir ou oy
  • Words containing these sounds
  • Pink, Orange and Yellow Storybooks to practise these sounds

Finally, children learn to read:

  • Set 3 Speed Sounds: ea a-e i-e o-e u-e aw are ur er ow ai oa ew ire ear ure
  • Words containing these sounds
  • Blue and Grey Storybooks to practise these sounds


How can you help at home?

Please support your child at home by listening to them read their book every night and signing their Reading Record book. We also send home popular children’s picture books for you to read aloud to your child.

You can watch this video to see how the sounds made by the letters are pronounced in English.

What is the Government’s phonics screening check?

All children in Year 1 are required by the government to take the Phonics Screening Check, usually at the start of June. Each child will sit with a teacher they know and be asked to read 40 words aloud. Some of the words they may have read before, and some words will be completely new to them. The test normally takes a few minutes to complete and there is no time limit. The 40 words in the test will be made up of real words and non-words. The test is carefully designed not to be stressful for your child.

For a sample test click here.

What are non-words? 

Non-words or pseudo words are nonsense words made up of letter sounds. For example: ‘vam’ or ‘jound’. 

These words are included in the screening test so they are unfamiliar to the child and therefore test their ability to decode words using phonics. 


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