Early Reading and Phonics

How do we teach phonics and early reading skills ? 

 At Rawmarsh Ashwood Primary School we teach synthetic phonics through a daily discrete Phonics lesson in order to teach age related expectation. Staff do this by planning and teaching from the Systematic Synthetic Phonics  (SSP) programme Bug club phonics.  School follows specific long term planning for phonics in order to meet and exceed age related expectation. Teaching the whole class a daily phonics lesson ensures that all children are taught to the level of phonics which is expected for their age group, and even challenged beyond this.  In addition to this, there are lessons throughout the week for early readers who are still learning to decode or develop their reading pace. This is to ensure that we are providing clear and planned opportunities for catch up programmes for children with their early reading and phonics skills. 

There is a whole-school focus on teaching the wide vocabulary that pupils need to unlock learning across the curriculum and become confident communicators. As well as discrete sessions, the teaching of vocabulary is embedded within English lessons and the wider curriculum, forming an intrinsic link between reading and writing.

We encourage pupils to read widely for pleasure through an engaging and relevant reading environment, opportunities to read outside, a lending library to support reading at home and by ensuring pupils are read to in school in a way that excites and engages them.

Please see our reading statement for more information on the teaching of early reading and phonics through school. 


  • Read the parents’ help and watch the video.
  • Your child will bring home with them their phonetically decodable book which they will use to develop their fluency and reading speed and a more challenging book for them to read for pleasure with parents/carers. 
  • Find quality time to spend with your child as the electronic books are intended to be shared with an adult.
  • Talk to your child about the book they have chosen. Challenge your child to be a book detective: look at the book cover and see if they can guess what the book will be about or what type of book it is
  • Initially they may want to listen to the book and can do this by pressing on the speaker icon
  • Now get your child to read the book (as you would do with their home reading book) getting them to use their different strategies like phonics, tricky words, and the context of the sentence.
  • Re-read the book if necessary. Your child should be able to read it independently before they move onto the next book.
  • Take time over each book to get the most learning from it.
  • Two books a week is plenty if they are done thoroughly and the hard copy has also gone home.


  • Understanding the book is vital
  • As you read together, talk about what is happening in the book,what might happen next, and anything that has puzzled them. Get your child to re-tell the main parts of the story, using the pictures as a prompt if they need it. When your child finishes a book, ask them whether they liked it or not and encourage them to explain why.
  • Now would be a good time to do the activities linked to the book.
  • Click on the bug icon. If they get it wrong, talk about the activity and have another go. Try to discourage guessing.


It is important that your child can read the books fluently and understand the information before they move on. If they race through they will not be ready for books from the next colour band and will struggle. This will really affect motivation.

If you don’t have access to a computer or prefer for your child not to use on line reading they can still enjoy a hard copy of the books


The teacher is able to log on and see what books your child has accessed and how many attempts it has taken to get the answers of the activities correct.

Make a note in your child’s reading diary to let us know at school how your child is getting on with developing their reading skills at home. 

Thank you for your continued support.

Phonics Screening Check

The phonics screening check is a short, simple assessment to make sure that all pupils have learned phonic decoding to an appropriate standard by the age of 6. All year 1 pupils in maintained schools, academies and free schools must complete the check.

The phonics check will help teachers identify the children who need extra help so they can receive the support they need to improve their reading skills. These children will then be able to retake the check in year 2.

The check comprises a list of 40 words and non-words which the child will read one-to-one with a teacher. The class teacher in Y1 will prepare the children for their phonics screening check. Children will have phonics work to take home at different stages in the year.

Example of non-words which are known as alien words by the children (words which do not make sense but are used to assess their phonics ability)

For further information on the phonics screening check, click on the link below.



Assessment is a critical element of our programme. The teachers assess:

  • Pupils’ phonic knowledge
  • The speed at which pupils are able to read the text
  • Their understanding of the stories they read.

We record the results from the Sound and Word Assessments, which take place every eight weeks, on the Assessment Tracker. These data allow us to intervene in different ways. For instance, we quickly move pupils to another group if they are progressing faster than their peers. Those who continue to struggle have one-to-one tutoring so that they keep up


How can I help my child with their phonics?

To find out more about how to say the different phonemes(sounds) which your child is learning, please take a look at this helpful video for parents.

Your child may have homework around the sounds they are learning. These might be linked to the spelling pattern they are learning in class or linked to their Read, Write Inc work they are working on.

Here are some websites that can help children to develop their phonic knowledge.





Additional Information & Resources

Please follow the link below to log into your child’s phonics book club account. They will have been given their log in details by their class teacher and given a booklet about how to get started using phonics bug club at home.

Click here!

Reading Library Class Photos