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Highnam Church Of England Primary Academy

01452 525872

Wetherleigh Drive, Highnam, Gloucester, GL2 8LW

Children with Confidence

Reading and Phonics Schemes

Reading is a crucial tool for learning and for life. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learn to read. In order to develop an enthusiasm reading at Highnam we have:

- welcoming reading areas in all classrooms

- an infant and junior library with a variety of books

- a Key Stage 2 Book Club

- a group of ‘Reading Champions’ – pupils who play an important role in raising the profile of reading for enjoyment across the academy

- a range of events linked to reading planned throughout the school year such as author visits, book swaps, visits to the library, reading competitions and challenges


Reading Schemes

At Highnam Academy we use the ‘Book Band’ system. This means that all the reading books have been sorted into coloured levels in accordance with reading development. Your child will be given a colour band, from which they will choose their home reading book. This ensures 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 different stories, text types and illustrations. The majority of books within the early book bands can be decoded using phonics skills and knowledge.

We encourage the children to read at home with an adult every day, as regular reading practice has a noticeable impact on children’s learning across the curriculum. However, we realise that this is not always possible and therefore we ask you read with your child at least four times a week. It is also important to discuss what has been read in order to develop your child’s comprehension skills. Children should be encouraged to reflect personally and thoughtfully as they read.



At Highnam Academy we firmly believe that good phonics teaching is at the heart of successful early reading and writing experiences. The children in Reception, Year 1 and 2 take part in daily high-quality phonics sessions. These are fun sessions where 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. Pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds in 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 (tricky words) which do not completely follow the phonic rules. We follow the government published programme ‘Letters and Sounds’ and have recently purchased ‘Phonics Bug’. This online resource provides a multi-sensory approach to teaching and learning in phonics. For more information please go to and


Letters and Sounds – A Summary

Letters and Sounds aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.


Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One (Nursery/Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)

Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.