Our approach to reading and phonics teaching

Reading at Farne

The school believes that encouraging children to read for enjoyment is key to their success as a reader. Teachers choose potent texts that will excite the children and motivate them to want to read more.

In order for children in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One to become successful, independent readers, they need to process a variety of reading skills and knowledge. These include:

·         familiarity with syntax (sentence structure and grammatical arrangement)

·         good familiarity with the genre of stories

·         good auditory memory

·         recognition of letters and their sounds

·         knowledge of the grapho-phonic construction of words

Our Approach to Reading

At Farne Primary School, we believe in developing a reading culture throughout the school by creating welcoming book areas in all classrooms, by providing a recently refurbished school library hosting a variety of books, and by raising the profile of reading through a print rich environment, attractive book displays and promoting the written word at all times. We also recognise that reading is a core tool for life and we aim to foster a love for reading in all of our pupils through inviting authors and story tellers into school to work with the children as well as by hosting creative reading competitions such as ‘reading in unusual places’.

Reading skills are taught through phonics, guided reading, reciprocal reading, peer reading, comprehension and shared reading across our whole curriculum.

Foundation Stage / Key Stage 1

Through reading, pupils are introduced to new vocabulary that can then be used in their own writing and speech. We foster our love of reading through providing a rich environment which stimulates and encourages children’s reading. We believe in engaging all pupils and have a variety of resources in each class including puppets, story sacks, role play resources and books to develop different interests of the children. From the Foundation Stage and into Key Stage 1 pupils will enjoy a range of texts allowing them to build up knowledge of rhythm, rhyme and pattern in language.

What scheme do we use?

We use a range of books from different reading schemes, to ensure our pupils engage in a breadth and depth of types of fiction and non fiction. Some of these schemes are: Songbirds, Floppy’s Phonics, Project X, Rigby Rockets and Oxford Reading Tree. Older pupils in the school will also have the choice of more challenging reading books from our school library.


The teaching of Phonics is an integral part of the curriculum in both the Foundation and Key Stage 1 classrooms. Children first learn their letter sounds and names then apply these to word building. We use both Letters and Sounds and Jolly Phonics actions as the basis for our teaching of phonics. These are both recognised as synthetic phonic schemes. Through Letters and Sounds, the children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more. As the children grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound. The teaching of phonics is of high priority to all teachers as it enables pupils to decode for reading and encode for spelling. We ensure that our teaching of phonics is rigorous, structured and enjoyable. Children have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they are introduced to new phonemes, can practise and revise previous learning and have plenty of opportunities to apply the knowledge they have.

We use a range of multisensory strategies to enthuse and engage the children, including the use of interactive whiteboards, magnetic letters, speaking and listening, songs, rhymes and practical games and activities. Children work with pace and are encouraged to apply their knowledge across the curriculum with any reading or writing activities. The children also learn a variety of other key words by sight.

Children read individually, in small groups and as a whole class. A variety of different genres are chosen at an appropriate level of ability for each group of children. As well as being able to read the text, children are encouraged to discuss the content of the book and their opinions about people, places and events are sought.

The Jolly Phonics Scheme

What is Jolly Phonics?

Jolly Phonics is a fun and child centred approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics. With actions for each of the 42 letter sounds, the multi-sensory method is very motivating for children and teachers, who can see their students achieve. The letter sounds are split into seven groups as shown below.

Letter Sound Order

The sounds are taught in a specific order (not alphabetically). This enables children to begin building words as early as possible.

How does Jolly Phonics work?

Using a synthetic phonics approach, Jolly Phonics teaches children the five key skills for reading and writing. The programme continues through school enabling the teaching of essential grammar, spelling and punctuation skills.

The five skills taught in Jolly Phonics

1.Learning the letter sounds

Children are taught the 42 main letter sounds. This includes alphabet sounds as well as digraphs such as sh, th, ai and ue. The 42 sounds are:

1. s, a, t, i, p, n

2. ck, e, h, r, m, d

3. g, o, u, l, f, b

4. ai, j, oa, ie, ee, or

5. z, w, ng, v, oo, oo

6. y, x, ch, sh, th, th,

7, qu, ou, oi, ue, er, ar

2.Learning letter formation

Using different multi-sensory methods, children learn how to form and write the letters.


Children are taught how to blend the sounds together to read and write new words.

4.Identifying the sounds in words (Segmenting)

Listening for the sounds in words gives children the best start for improving spelling.

5.Tricky words

Tricky words have irregular spellings and children learn these separately.

Key Stage 2

Through independent reading, reading skills lessons, shared reading in literacy lessons and cross-curricular sessions, guided reading groups and reading for pleasure, reading in Key Stage 2 develops and extends the skills acquired in Key Stage 1. Children explore a wide variety of genre, both fiction and non-fiction which allows them to access, input ideas and understand what they are reading. They are given opportunities to speculate on the tone and purpose of texts they explore as well as consider both the texts’ themes and audience.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact your child's class teacher or ring the school office.