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Phonics at Dalestorth

Our Intent

At Dalestorth Primary and Nursery School, we value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We believe that reading is key for academic success and that children who read regularly have increased chances later in life. We aim to deliver a high-quality education which teaches pupils to read accurately and with good comprehension so that they can effectively access the world in which they live. We want them to develop a love of reading, reading with good pace, fluency and expression in a range of contexts. We aim to deliver quality first teaching that follows a carefully planned sequence of lessons through exposure to high-quality texts. We provide the children with opportunities to explore precise and enriched vocabulary to use within the context of the lesson and to connect to wider subject areas. Reading is taught in each year group progressively, using a wide variety of quality texts. We want children to become independent readers who choose to read for pleasure. Teaching is designed to take account of our progression documents to ensure age appropriate content. Where appropriate, links are also made to ensure that children’s social, moral, spiritual and cultural development is enhanced through their reading experiences.


At Dalestorth Primary and Nursery School we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.


As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Dalestorth Primary and Nursery School, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.


The sequence of teaching involves:

  • Selecting and reading high-quality texts which enrich children’s knowledge and experiences.
  • Teaching challenging vocabulary with cross curricular links.
  • Developing pace, fluency and expression when reading.
  • Teaching and developing the skills of understanding and using vocabulary, inferring, clarifying, summarising and sequencing, predicting, retrieving and questioning.


In the early stages of reading, we strongly advocate the use of phonics and children are given daily opportunities to blend and segment words to read and write. Alongside this, we provide children with a diet rich in high quality literature to foster and promote high quality vocabulary and a genuine love of reading. By the end of the EYFS, we want the children to have a strong phonological awareness and have the ability to hear and discriminate sounds within words. In reading, they should be able to say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs. They should read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending and read aloud simple sentences and books, including some common exception words (‘tricky words’). In writing, they should be able to write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed; spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters; and write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.


By the end of Year 1, children should be able to state some of the more common alternative pronunciations for graphemes and read many familiar words without the need to blend the sounds out loud first. They should be increasingly able to apply their phonic knowledge to select the most plausible graphemes (using the ‘best bet’ strategy) when spelling new words. The majority should be able to read and write an additional 33 common exception words correctly. These are specifically taught to children.


This is continued into Year 2 where children continue to explore alternative pronunciations and become increasingly adept at making the correct choice of grapheme when attempting new words. They learn an additional 64 common exception words so that, by the end of Year 2, most children are able to read and spell many words correctly, including those containing common suffixes.

Oxford Owl - How to Pronounce Pure Sounds

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