Byker Primary School

Phonics and Reading


In Early Years and Key Stage One we deliver a consistent approach to phonics, in the past using a programme called Letters and Sounds; this year we have decided to implement Read Write Inc as this programme will enable us to accelerate the teaching of reading in Early Years and Year One so more focus can be on higher order comprehension and vocabulary in Year Two to meet the demands of the new curriculum and tests. Every pupil in Early Years and Key Stage One works through the programme to help them decode (sound out) words that they read and spell. Reading is linked into understanding what they have read and also links into writing activities. Using small group work on a daily basis allows staff to pin point any individual who may need additional support in this area and will plan intervention activities if needed or 1-1 tutoring. Teachers will always keep you informed if your child is having additional support. In Year One and Two children have a daily Read Write Inc lesson as well as an English lesson.

Talk for reading and writing are two other approaches we use to support children’s reading and writing development across the school. We also use reciprical reading and an inference intervention from Year 2 upwards.


Reading schemes

Pupils read through a set of book banded books. Each colour in the book band is a different level. We provide a diet and range of books at different levels within a book band. The pupils know which book band they are working at and recognise the book band that they are working towards. Children also read Read Write Inc books in school as part of their lesson.

We also teach high frequency and sight vocabulary which are words you cannot sound out and you have to read from looking at the shape of it and what it looks like. Children from Reception will bring words home in packs to learn to read ‘on sight’ which they have to memorise. These words will link to the book band they are reading.


Opportunities for reading

Pupils also read regularly in other areas of the curriculum and in other parts of the school day through:


•Guided Reading – Teachers work with small groups of pupils to teach specific and targeted reading skills in a book that is sufficiently challenging.

•Reading Across the Curriculum – Pupils read a range of books linked to other areas of their learning and have regular ‘reading journal’ lessons to look at texts in more detail.

•Story Time or class reader time – throughout school books are read to pupils for them to hear good examples of reading aloud and to develop an enthusiasm for reading books themselves.  Class books are shared with pupils, where they read along with the teacher.

School Library

We have a well-stocked school library that is staffed by Mrs Pace. 
As well as opportunities for borrowing books, children are able to access a number of clubs and sessions all aimed at promoting reading for pleasure and confidence to independently choose a book. 
Book Buddy sees year six children pair up with year one pupils. The older children read aloud to their younger peers to model storytelling. They also initiate book talk using a range of questioning techniques to get the year one pupil considering sequencing, predicting, inference and retrieval. Using these questioning techniques also strengthens the older readers abilities when handling richer texts. 
Chatterbooks is for less confident readers, we meet to discuss books so that the Chatterbooks children are able to offer peer-reviewed books to their classmates, empowering them to confidently engage in book talk. We use a ‘book battle’ to compare books moving one to the next phase and knocking one out. The winning book is the half-termly recommended read and children really respond well to having decided it themselves. 
Challenge Reads is where we delve into the classics and higher-level texts. Typically for higher achieving readers this group looks at inference and  vocabulary and the children practice investigating and explaining the authors choices. Recently we have looked at Peter Pan, Treasure Island and Black Beauty.


Our library has strong links with renowned children’s authors and we have a wall dedicated to messages sent to the children to encourage their successes in reading. Most recently Joffre White, UK Patron of reading contacted Mrs Pace with a video message for our pupils. 

You can explore our school library further using the link below. 

Phonics policy 2020-21

Sound Pronunciation Guide

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This video will show you how to say each letter sound.

A guide to phonics

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How to teach Set 1 Sounds

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How to teach blending

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