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Phonics and Reading

The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.


At Mandeville Primary School, we aim to ensure that all pupils:


  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding;
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information;
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language;
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.


Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics is emphasised in the early teaching of reading. The teaching of phonics begins in the Early Years Foundation Stage and is guided by ‘Letters and Sounds’. Pupils are gradually introduced to initial sounds through modelling, repetition and playing games involving the sounds. Carefully planned activities are set up to consolidate phonic learning. Once children reach Year One, phonics is taught in phases with the pupils being split into smaller groups to ensure each child’s needs are met. Pupils across Year One and Two participate in a twenty minute phonics session each day, which allows for rigorous coverage of Phase Three to Phase Six phonics. At the end of Year One each child’s phonic knowledge is assessed in a phonics screening test carried out on a one to one basis with the class teacher.


Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech.


In The Early Years Foundation Stage children are gradually introduced to reading through modelling and sharing books. They are given an individual reading book when the teacher feels they are ready. From Year One onwards, books are put into a book banded system. Our ‘core’ scheme is Oxford Reading Tree, however other schemes are also used and fit within the book banded system. Key skills and techniques are modelled and taught throughout Key Stage One and Key Stage Two. Parents/carers are encouraged to share books, read to and listen to their child read at home on a daily basis.


At Mandeville, we aim to ensure all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject. We want to develop within our children a love of books and a true enjoyment of reading.