Reading and Phonics

Our approach to Phonics and Reading:

At Rock Ferry Primary School we firmly believe that reading is vital in enabling children to learn and we aim for all children not only to become fluent readers but to develop as life-long learners with a passion for reading for the rest of their lives. Reading for pleasure is a key aspect in accessing the curriculum and time is set aside on a daily basis for the teaching and practising of reading skills in classes. At Rock Ferry Primary School we pride ourselves in providing a rigorous, systematic approach to the teaching of reading and this is mainly through the use of Phonics.  

What is Phonics?

Reading is taught using an approach where children are taught the phonemes (sounds) and how to blend the sounds within a word e.g. early individual letter sounds such as ‘c-a-t’ and later move onto words such as ‘sh-o-p’ where some letters join together to make different sounds.

Teachers and support staff have excellent knowledge and understanding of the processes that help children to read and use Phonics as the central part of this process.

How is it taught?

The school uses the government published programme ‘Letters and Sounds’ to teach the 6 ‘Phases’ of phonic development, which begins with very early reading readiness in Phase 1, right up to becoming fluent, confident readers in Phase 6. In order to address each child’s different needs teachers assess each child’s phonic and reading progress regularly. This allows children to be grouped according to their needs and ability so that really effective, targeted teaching can be employed at each child’s level. The Phonics sessions take place every day for at least 20 minutes. Those children who have reached the Phase 6 level move onto a progressive KS2 spelling programme.


At Rock Ferry Primary School all our early reading books are selected by Letters and Sound phonic phase. In F2 and KS1 class children are taught and are able to apply their reading skills through ‘ Guided Reading,’ sessions on a regular basis, where a teacher takes a small group of children at the same level of ability and teaches them using one book with a copy for each child. 

Once your child becomes a more proficient reader, they move onto a programme called Accelerated Reading. Accelerated Reading ensures the children are able to select a wide range of high quality texts at their own level which they read at their own pace and then quiz on. These quizzes give teachers important assessment information which they use in other reading sessions. For more information about how the programme works see the link provided -

There are, in addition, regular opportunities for silent reading, whole-class stories/texts, reading for pleasure and reading on an individual basis. Comprehension skills are explicitly developed throughout both key stages.

Accelerated Reading - Information for Parents

Developing Reading Comprehension:

We follow a Mastery approach to English through the programme Pathways to Read. Units of work are delivered using high-quality texts and children in all year groups are given varied opportunities for reading. Skills are built up through repetition within the units, and children apply these skills in the reading activities provided. We deliver one whole class shared reading lesson per week from years 2-6 with bespoke grouped reading for every pupil at least once a week as well as individual reading. For pupils still needing support with phonics from years 2-6, we provide an individual reading programme that has phonically decodable texts at the heart of it. In our shared and grouped reads, there is a clear teaching focus with the opportunity to master key reading skills in each session. There are follow on reading tasks to enable pupils to evidence the skills they have mastered independently. Many opportunities for widening children’s vocabulary are given through the Pathways to Read approach and this builds on the extensive work we do in school to provide our children with a rich and varied vocabulary. 

You will find the end of year expectations for reading for each of our year groups in the attached documents. For further detail on the skills that your children are learning on a termly basis, please contact your class teacher. We also use Pathways to Write to drive our writing curriculum. This aligns with Pathways to Read ensuring meaningful links for our pupils with texts and topics that are used across Literacy, Humanities and Science. 

Pathways to Read skills progression Y2 to 6

Reading Homework:

Children are given regular reading homework to enable them to practise the skills they have learnt in school. This is vital in terms of building up their knowledge of words as well as helping them develop confidence and fluency. We feel that reading homework is a vital part of ensuring that children are able to progress and succeed as readers. It is clear that those children who get good support from home with their reading homework – by listening to them read regularly and then returning books on time- often make the much better progress than those who do not.

If you can take just 5 or 10 minutes to sit with your child each day you could make a HUGE difference in how well they learn at school. Just think what a great investment in your child’s future you could make!

And so to sleep……
One of the most powerful ways you can interact with your child is to read them a bedtime story. Children love it and, not only does it help with developing their language skills and imagination, it also helps them wind down after a hectic day at school.

If you would like any support, help or advice with helping your child to read please do not hesitate to contact any member of staff, who will be happy to help. The school also provides a recommended booklist and opportunities throughout the year to purchase quality books through the school book club and book fair. 

Below are links to some websites offering some guidance for the pronunciation of phonics which you may find useful when helping your child to ‘sound out’ words.