St Peter's Church Of England (VC) Primary School

Myneer Park, Coggeshall, Colchester, Essex CO6 1YU



.Phonics workshop April 2017 

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EYFS Information for Parents 


Your child will be bringing home books from school to share with you. We aim to change your child’s reading book twice a week, if they are confident and fluent with the text. To help you in the initial stages of reading with your child, we have put together a few ‘top tips’. There will be a meeting to discuss the teaching of reading on Tuesday 18th October at 9 am in the hall.

  1. Enjoy the books together. Whenever possible, sit close to your child in a place that is quiet and comfortable.
  2. Talk about the cover and the idea behind the story. Relate the story to something similar which your family may have experienced recently. It is important for your child to make connections between reading and things that he/she does. Talking together and naming objects will help to build a knowledge of words.
  3. Tell the story, let your child relax and listen to the story. Move your finger smoothly under the words as you read. Make sure that your child can see the pictures AND the print clearly.
  4. Encourage your child to retell the story. By now your child will be able to have a go at reading the book for him/herself. If your child reads a word incorrectly, tell them what the word says and let them repeat it. At the end of the reading session, go back to the word and encourage your child to use their knowledge of phonics to ‘sound out’ the word or parts of the word.
  5. Don’t worry if your child begins by memorising the caption instead of reading the words. This is an important part of the developmental process and it will give your child a real sense of achievement.
  6. Talk about the story and ask questions e.g.: -

‘What do you think will happen next?’

It is better that you discuss the text at the end of the page or section, so that you don’t interrupt the story.

  1. Always praise and encourage your child.Write a positive comment in this reading diary for your child to share with his/ her teacher. Use the reading diary to raise any concerns or questions about your child’s reading.
  2. These activities are intended to take place over several days. It is more important at this stage of learning to read that your child becomes very familiar and confident with a book, rather than having a new book each time they read.

    Finally, if you feel that you need any further information about this, or you want to discuss your child’s reading, please come in and speak to a member of staff in EYFS.

                               Phonics Meeting  for EYFS Parents 

Synthetic phonics involves teaching children not only that blends of letters come together to make sounds but also that different combinations of letters can be formed to make the same sounds. An example of this might be the phoneme (or sound) ‘ai’ which can be formed in many ways including ‘ay’, ‘ai’ and ‘a-e’. It is a system for learning to read (blending or synthesis) and for learning to spell-segment.

Children are taught 42 different phonemes, beginning with common single letter phonemes e.g.  ‘s’ in ‘sat’, and quickly moving on to 2 letter (digraphs) or 3 letter (trigraphs) phonemes. All children in Foundation Stage and KS1 have a daily phonics lesson, which generally follows a given format.


REVIEW     Every session the children will revise phonemes previously taught.

OBJECTIVE       The objective for the session and the criteria for success will be shared with the children. This usually includes reference to the new phoneme to be learned or a new grapheme (way of writing a phoneme) and will be written for the children to reflect upon throughout the session. An example of this might be: to hear, say and write the phoneme  ‘s’.

 TEACH     The new letter, phoneme or digraph is taught. The children will be taught to blend and/or segment with the new letter, phoneme or digraph. Tricky words (those which cannot wholly be sounded out, for e.g. ‘was’) may be taught in this part of the session.

PRACTISE    The children will practise reading and/or spelling words with the new letter.

APPLY     The children will read or write a caption (with the teacher) using one or more high- frequency words and words containing the new letter.

ASSESS   The children will be encouraged to reflect on their learning against the success criteria and the objective. The teacher will also be making an assessment to inform future planning.


The phonemes are generally taught to the children in a specific order. The basis on which the order was devised was the ease with which children would be able to hear the phoneme and the frequency with which it occurs. This order is further organised into phases. Each phase includes a group of phonemes which should be taught, a list of high frequency words that the children are expected to be able to read and another list of high frequency words that they are expected to learn to spell. When the children have mastered the items in each phase they are ready to move on to the next phase. Below is a brief description of the phonics taught at each phase.

PHASE 1   Aural sound discrimination including rhyme and alliteration

PHASE 2   Most single letter phonemes

PHASE 3   Digraphs and trigraphs

PHASE 4   Blending and segmenting longer words

PHASE 5   Alternative graphemes for known phonemes

PHASE 6   Further teaching of spelling including past tense and suffixes


Most children will begin phase 2 as they enter Foundation stage. They will learn to say, read and write single letter phonemes and to blend and segment, vowel-consonant and consonant-vowel-consonant words that are phonically regular.

In phase 3 the children will learn to say, read and write consonant digraphs (e.g. ‘ch’) and vowel digraphs ( e.g. ‘ai’).  They will learn to blend and segment words that are 1 syllable words containing these digraphs.

Phase 4 contains no new digraphs, but the children will be learn to blend and segment longer words.

Most children will be ready to start phase 5 by the time they start year 1, but will spend a period of time revisiting previous phases.



  • Choose a time to practise when you are both relaxed and comfortable.
  • Keep sessions short; stop before it ceases to be fun or interesting!
  • Try to practise every day.
  • Use the letter fans to make words, including pretend words!
  • Make quiet, clean sounds for each letter… ‘t’ not ‘tuh’.
  • Choose words from your child’s reading book to sound-talk . Do this either before they read their book to you, or at the end of reading. Choose words that only include the phonemes your child knows or is learning.
  • Once your child begins to learn digraphs, encourage them to spot these in words BEFORE sound-talking them.
  • Play games to learn the tricky words by sight. Aim for instant recognition.
  • REMEMBER  We learn to read to enjoy books and to discover new things. It must be fun in order for the children to remain motivated, and your child must feel that it has a purpose.
  • Come and speak to us if there are any problems, or questions.




Phoneme    smallest unit of speech sound

Grapheme    the way that we write the phoneme

Blend/synthesise          draw individual sounds together to read a word

Segment       split whole words into individual phonemes to spell

Digraph     2 letters representing one phoneme

Vowel digraph    2 vowels representing one phoneme



Stage 2 Word Games


Word Snap:  As standard snap but child must read top word card before claiming the pile of cards.


Pairs: Cards are shuffled and laid face down on table. Each player turns over two cards to find an identical pair. When a pair is found, player reads the word, keeps the cards and takes another turn. Winner is the player with the most pairs.


Right or Left: Adult holds one word card in each hand. Child then chooses left or right and reads word to win it.


Kims Game: A small number of cards are placed face up on a table. The child looks at the cards for a short period of time and then looks away while one card is removed. Can your child spot the missing word? Begin with 2 or 3 cards and gradually increase the number as your child’s vocabulary grows.


Pack Game: Each player has a set of cards. One player reads the top card from their pack and calls it out. The other player has to find this word in their set. The word must be read out and put on the table. This game is best when there are 3 players or more so the winner can be the first to find the word.


Tiddlywinks: Can the child read the word the counters land on when the words are placed face up on a table?

Make a number track. Roll a ‘word’ die, count the letters, move that number of spaces. Make an empty track, place word cards on track, roll a number die, move to the space and read the word.



Guided Reading at St. Peter’s Primary School

Guided reading is a powerful tool to improve children's reading, comprehension and speaking skills, while also being a great way of supporting progression in reading and encouraging children’s enthusiasm for books.

At St. Peter’s we value Reading for Pleasure and have many opportunities for independent reading and the sharing of books. Alongside this we teach a GR session to each child every week in order to develop independent reading strategies and comprehension skills. (The only exception to this may be where it is deemed ineffective for individual pupils.)

Structure of a Guided Reading Session


All Guided reading sessions follow the structure set out below:

Book Introduction

This provides the context for the reading. The teacher will activate children’s prior knowledge

and/or discuss the main themes of the text, including some prediction of the contents.

Strategy Check (see below for more information)

Just prior to independent reading the teacher guides the children to focus on and apply key strategies while reading independently. We choose a key strategy to model and practise during the session. These strategies are consistent throughout the whole school.

Independent Reading

Children will read independently while the teacher gives focused attention to support, monitor and assess individuals as they read. Children are encouraged to read aloud (at the same time) to themselves whilst the adult tunes in. This means that time is not wasted and all children are participating. They very quickly learn how to do this and it is very effective.

Returning to the Text

The teacher asks questions before the children read which teaches them how to identify key words in a question.  This promotes discussion with the children to extend their thinking and develop their responses to the text.

Follow Up (developed as a separate session)

Children work independently on their comprehension of the text.

The Strategy Check

The purpose of a ‘strategy check’ is to give the children an opportunity to practice and remember the different strategies they need to apply in order to read and understand texts.

Organisation and Implementation:


  • All pupils will be grouped for guided reading on the basis of their reading ability.
  • Reading observations and assessments will be used to inform these groupings.
  • Groups should contain up to a maximum of 6 children.
  • The learning objectives for each group will be identified.
  • Texts will be selected to help deliver the learning objective which will also be at the appropriate book band for that particular group of children
  • A guided reading lesson will follow a five part structure: book introduction, strategy check, independent reading, returning to the text and response to text.
  • A common planning proforma will be used which will also identify relevant follow up activities to take place to reinforce and consolidate understanding.
  • All adults who lead a GR session are trained regularly by the English lead. Observations are carried out and the teaching and planning of GR is monitored.;jsessionid=C654212C5741EAE00DB3C915B3F49232?region=uk#

Watch the video clip showing Nikki Gamble-the author of KS2 Guided Reading in the National Curriculum. In this video she talks about good features of a GR sessions including a Strategy Check.

Watch this space! Coming soon-video clips of 2 GR sessions at St. Peter’s. See how it is done!

Outdoor Reading Area

The outdoor reading area is up and running. The children at St Peter's now have the opportunity to enjoy a quiet reading time every lunchtime, relaxing with wonderful books, comfortable beanbags and cushions. 

 Reading in Reception and KS1

Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 follow the 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.  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 practice and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words.

Children in Reception are also taught ‘Jolly Phonics’ actions to go with the sounds and we use resources and ideas from Phonics Play and the Ultimate Guide to Phonological Awareness. 

We use a combination of reading schemes which include 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.

Reading Schemes used at St Peter’s C of E Primary School include:

Eleanor Curtain - AlphaKids   

Collins – Big Cats   Fiction and non fiction

Collins – Big Cats -Biography

 Collins – Big Cats  -Progress


Learning Media – First stories

Pearson Publishing - Bug Club

OUP - Oxford Reading Tree

OUP - Oxford Reading Tree - Songbird Phonics

OUP – Oxford Reading Tree – Floppy’s Phonics

OUP - Oxford Reading Tree - Fireflies

Our daily phonics sessions in Reception and Key Stage 1 are fun, involving lots of speaking, listening and games. The emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent work.

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 as sight vocabulary.

When children are ready they select, with guidance, reading books from a range of ‘real books’, written by children’s authors. Guided reading is carried out with multiple copies of books sourced from a range of suppliers, such as OUP and Pearson and good quality ‘real’ books.

Children also borrow fiction and non-fiction books from our lending library. In addition to the ‘formal’ teaching of reading there are many opportunities to develop reading skills in the context of the wider curriculum. Emphasis throughout the school is on developing reading skills, comprehension and application, appreciation and an abiding love of books of all kinds.

Reading in Reception 

  • One 20 minute phonic session a day
  • Reading to an adult once a week, either in a small group or individually
  • Phonics session includes regular practice of high frequency words
  • Books are displayed around the classroom and are changed frequently to support the current interests and learning of the children
  • Children are encouraged to bring in books linked to our topic from home, to share with the class
  • Children are encouraged to choose and take home books to be read to them by their parents/ carers
  • There are attractive reading areas in the inside and outside classroom
  • Parents and carers are invited to come into class and share books with the children
  • Opportunities are provided for parents to learn more about the teaching of reading and phonics at St. Peters
  • Information about reading is displayed on the school website


  • Reading comment sheet, which is completed every time a child is heard read.
  • Reading diary which is used for parents and staff to comment on the reading.


  • Use professional judgement and phonic assessment to gauge when the child is ready to move onto the next level.
  • All children know which colour band that they are on.
  • During reading sessions we develop the children’s comprehension skills.
  • Judgements made against Development Matters 2012.


Reading in Year 1/2


  • 20 minute phonics session a day
  • Books are grouped according to colour bands
  • Books are separated into non-fiction and fiction.
  • Children are encouraged to change their own books and replace in the correct place.
  • Display of topic books.
  • Books are displayed in the role play area.
  • Children have opportunities throughout the day to explore the reading corner and share books with peers.
  • Class story at some point in the day.
  • Home learning reading activities including phonics and key word recognition.
  • Celebration of chosen authors.
  • Guided reading twice a week.
  • Targeted children are heard read at least once a day.
  • All children are heard read three times a week by an adult (includes the group reading)
  • Visual displays, learning objectives, literacy lessons etc


  • Tick lists
  • Group guided reading sessions
  • Reading diary comments and/or individual reading record sheets


  • All children know what colour band they are selecting from and some know what they need to do to progress to the next step. 
  • We use our knowledge of the colour bands and how this relates to National Curriculum and also consider this alongside our knowledge of their reading.
  • Year 2 assessment tests and tasks.


Reading in Year 3/4


  • Guided Reading small group sessions at least once a week
  • Individual reading according to children’s needs
  • Every classroom has a Reading corner with a range of colour banded books and fiction books
  • Library Service used to keep books new and fresh
  • Non-fiction library shared with Year 5/6
  • Selection of Topic books termly from Library service displayed and used
  • Home Learning includes daily reading
  • Reading diaries are purchased for all children and parents are encouraged to comment on listening to their child’s reading
  • Cross-curricular links
  • Comprehension strategies taught in English and Guided Reading sessions
  • Weekly phonics session continued from Year 2 for targeted children


Reading in Y5/6

  • Guided reading sessions take place each week – these sessions include a variety of reading based activities such as: the reading of fiction, non-fiction, ICT based research, comprehension skills, children reading their own choice of book and completing structured follow on tasks.  Children have regular slots working in a small group with their teacher or another adult.
  • Children are encouraged to read during registration periods.
  • Buddy reading with younger children.
  • Daily spelling lesson includes work on phonics and letter patterns.
  • Work in English is regularly planned around a class text which is read alongside the other activities.
  • We have a visual literacy unit each term.
  • Regular “Flash book reviews,” when children review books they have read.
  • Reading occurs in all curriculum areas
  • Children requiring additional support with independent reading strategies have access to intervention programmes






Awards and Partnerships