Our Approach to the Teaching of Phonics

Every child deserves success right from the start.


At Beenham we are passionate about reading and endeavor to make sure that all of our children develop a love of reading and that every child leaves us as a reader. We know that the sooner children learn to read, the greater their success at school. This is why we put reading at the very heart of what we do.

We follow the DfE “Letters and Sounds” programme. With songs, catchy mnemonics and fun games to play in order to teach and consolidate taught sounds, we strive to give each child access to teaching which fits to their learning style.


We teach a twenty minute daily phonics session from Reception to the end of Year One.

We use a proven, fun and multi-sensory synthetic phonics method that gets children reading and writing from an early age. This means that we teach letter sounds as opposed to the alphabet. These 42 letter sounds are phonic building blocks that children, with the right tools, use to decode the English language. When reading a word, they recognise the letters and blend together the respective sounds; when writing a word they identify the sounds and write down the corresponding letters. These skills are known as blending and segmenting and we teach them alongside each other right from the beginning of Reception.

Our Approach to the Teaching of Reading

In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, whilst we use a wide range of books from different reading schemes which we have carefully matched and sequenced to their “Letters and Sounds” phase, our prime reading scheme is  Nelson PM readers. This ensures that each child can access a wide range of  books, which are closely matched to their phonic ability, to read from and enjoy.

Over the course of the year, the children will listen to a range of stories and poems, learning to join in with repeated phrases, for example,  in traditional tales and also, sharing information in non-fiction books. 


At Beenham Primary School teachers use their subject knowledge to link books to other areas of the curriculum where this is appropriate and  develop a range of reading and writing activities for the children to explore and enjoy. Our writing curriculum is based on a text immersion approach whereby children study a book in depth to support the genres and skills they are learning about.


Within our timetable, we are committed to providing independent, or supported reading time on a daily basis and every child’s progress is closely monitored. We have volunteer reading helpers from both parents and the local community. In addition, older children read alongside younger children on a daily basis. We also have book stops around the school which encourage children to stop and read or share a book during play times and lunchtimes.

Guided reading is a daily occurrence throughout Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and 2 and in this time children have further opportunity to engage with high quality texts and show their understanding through a range of responses such as drama and extended writing activities.

All classrooms have bright, stimulating and inviting book corners and we regularly invest in high quality texts for the children. In our book corners, you will often find children’s recommendations and reviews of their favourite books.


You can help your child by making sure they bring their book bag into school every day and by listening to them read at home. If you have any questions, or require any support with this, then please ask your child’s class teacher.

In the Foundation Stage and key stage 1, we send home leveled books and always ensure that these are pitched to give the right level of challenge for every child. Children in the Foundation stage and key stage 1 will also have the opportunity to read with an adult on a weekly basis. Some children may read with an adult more frequently. We also ensure that during their time at school, children frequently hear adults reading aloud.


Reading is a strong feature of our homework programme. In the foundation stage and key stage 1, parents can support by reading with their child every day and encouraging them to begin to fill in their own reading diary each time they read. Parents are encouraged to undertake a weekly book activity with their child. Ideas for these are given in the reading diary.


By the time a child reaches Tundra class there is an expectation that children read regularly and independently at home. Children have a reading journal which is completed each time they read. Children must aim to read the wide range of genres, indicated in their journal, and to sustain a book from start to finish. When they finish a book, or about every two weeks, children must complete an activity based on their reading book, which they will present back to their reading group in class. Suggestions are given in the reading journal.


Further details of reading homework throughout the school can be found in the school’s homework policy.

We have also included links below to recommended reading materials for each year group.


Homework Policy

Recommended reading list - EYFS

Recommended reading list - year 1

Recommended reading list - year 2


Recommended reading list - year 3

Recommended reading list - year 4

Recommended reading list - year 5

Recommended reading list - year 6

Picklepythe Lane


Tel: 0118 9713397

School contact:  Mrs Bev Sharp will answer any queries from parents and other members of the public

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