Message sent from:


Scholes J and I School: Early Reading and Phonics


What is Phonics?

Phonics is one method of teaching children how to read and write. Phonics is all about sounds. There are 44 sounds in the English language, which we put together to form words. Some are represented by one letter, like ‘t’, and some by two or more, like ‘ck’ in duck and ‘air’ in chair. Children are taught the sounds first, then how to match them to letters, and finally how to use the letter sounds for reading and spelling. Synthetic phonics refers to ‘synthesising’, or blending, the sounds to read words. It is based on the idea that children should sound out unknown words and not rely on their context.

What do we teach?

Pearson Bug Club (validated by the DfE) is used at Scholes Junior & Infant School to teach synthetic phonics. A graduated approach is used and children begin phonics as soon as they enter Reception class. Phonics is taught daily through a systematic approach. Children are taught within their class and any additional support required is delivered in small groups or 1-2-1.

In Reception class, children begin by developing an awareness of sounds through stories, rhymes and games. They quickly move on to learn the links between individual letters and their sounds. There are 44 different sounds taught in a systematic way throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1.

How do we teach phonics?

Within Early Years and KS1 classes, (and also Y3 where catch-up is needed) phonics is taught discreetly in a daily sessions that last between 30 to 40 minutes. Children then apply their new skills when reading books from the Phonics Bug scheme containing the letters and sounds that have already been taught.

Teachers regularly assess children’s progress to check where they are and what they need to learn next. They are either assessed at the end of each unit or phonic phase.


We adopt a graduated approach to the teaching of reading.

Phonics based approach

A phonics-based approach is used in Reception class to introduce children to reading. Children learn to decode books that are closely matched to the letters and sounds they are currently learning.

Children are encouraged to read at home on a daily basis and are monitored to make sure children do not fall behind their peers. Children keep the same book to allow them to apply their skills to decode the text and books are not changed until children can read the text with confidence. They are then given the same book in their digital library as an eBook to allow children the opportunity to practise reading for fluency. A reading record book is used as a communication tool between parents and teachers. Children are rewarded for their commitment to regular reading with Dojos, stickers or reading certificates in celebration Assembly.

Also, children are provided with log in details for the Bug Club online reading resource. Here children can practise phonics through appealing games and activities. They also have access to a wide range of additional books linked to the phonics they have been taught.

Book bands

When children move beyond Phase 5 phonics and a predominantly phonics approach to reading, they are taught a broader range of reading skills to develop their understanding of the texts they read. Books are grouped by the coloured book band system and pupils are directed towards the appropriate band for their reading level.

Children continue to log their home and school reading in their Reading Record book. Regular reading continues to be encouraged with Dojos and reading certificates in celebration Assembly.

When children can read fluently and independently, they are assessed using the Star Reading system for Accelerated Reader (see below for more details). This assessment provides a standardised score and a reading age for the child. If they achieve the required standard, then they are eligible to begin using Accelerated Reader. Children are given a quiz add the end of each book and complete Star reading assessment termly. Teachers monitor children’s reading scores to ensure they are on the correct reading level.

Accelerated Reader

The Accelerated Reader approach moves away from the traditional reading scheme to include real books by a range of popular, modern, diverse and classic authors and poets. There are also non-fiction texts, graphic novels and play scripts to name a few additional text types.

The system determines the level of readability for this vast range of texts. After assessment, children are allocated a numerical range from which they can choose books. This is closely monitored by teachers.

Teachers’ reading to pupils

There is an expectation that all teachers will read to their class on a regular basis. A wide variety of books are chosen to offer children the broadest reading experience possible and are mapped out across school and matched to children’s reading age. Books are chosen carefully and for several reasons. We look for books that broaden children’s horizons; deal with sensitive or difficult issues; offer a diversity that our context does not offer and books that are fun, exiting or just wonderful.

Phoneme Support

To support your child in pronouncing their phonemes correctly, please click on the link below to find a sound board. Using the cursor select the phoneme you would like to hear.



Informative videos for parents

The following links contain information about the Phonics Bug Scheme.

Video for parents on Phonics:



Pupil World guide for parents:



Guide to Admin on Activelearn Primary



What’s new in Bug Club Phonics Webinar



The Phonics Sound Board can be found at:



Hit enter to search