Whiteley Primary School

Reading and Phonics


At Whiteley Primary School, early reading is taught using synthetic phonics as the main approach to reading. Pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds all through the word for reading, and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. They are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but are also taught high frequency words which do not completely follow the phonic rules.

The school follows the government published programme “Letters and Sounds” using a range of resources which support us in providing a multi-sensory approach to learning phonics. For more information about phonics, including a video of how to pronounce the phonemes (sounds), please go to Parents’ Information / Parent Guidelines and Information section on this website.


Reading Schemes

At Whiteley Primary School, all our early reading books are colour banded. Your child will be given a colour band to choose their home reading book from, which will help to ensure that the book they select is at about the right reading level for them. Every colour band includes books from a range of reading schemes so that they will experience a range of stories, text types and illustrations. The majority of words within the early book bands can be decoded using phonics skills and knowledge. This is to encourage your child to apply their phonics skills to read, although the books will also contain some of the ‘tricky words’ that they are learning to read as sight vocabulary in school as well. These are words which do not follow the usual phonic code or are outside of your child’s current phonic knowledge (e.g. you, my, said etc.). The range of published schemes used include Rigby Star Phonics, Big Cat Phonics, Fun with Phonics, Floppy Phonics, Phonics Bug and Songbirds.


Reading for Pleasure

At Whiteley Primary School, we encourage pupils to develop a love of reading before they start school by taking part in our ‘Ready for Reading’ challenge, borrowing books from our school collection to enjoy with their families. Once they begin school, we continue to encourage families to share books with their child, and our school librarian visits YR classes regularly and pupils may borrow library books. From Y1, pupils have a weekly school library visit and continue to take home books for sharing with their parents alongside their own reading book. Their library ticket enables them to borrow two library books at a time. We hope that these habits continue as pupils get older – once they are independent readers, pupils select their own reading material, but our school librarian is still on hand to guide and advise pupils. Our librarian is also very happy to speak to parents who want to support their child in widening their reading habits.

To encourage children to read at home, we run several reading challenges every year with badges or books being awarded for reading a set number of times. From YR to Y3, children are expected to read aloud regularly to earn their awards. From Y4, our Reading Ambassador Challenges encourage children to develop independent reading habits, and to widen their text choices.