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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.


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

  • read fluently with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and acquiring information
  • have a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions needed 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) along with the recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This understanding 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’. This is supplemented to in order to adhere to the curriculum requirements. Pupils are gradually introduced to sounds through modelling, repetition and playing games involving the sounds. The reading of books is carefully aligned to the phonic sounds taught so children can consolidate their learning. Pupils across Year One participate in a twenty minute phonics session each day, which allows for rigorous coverage of the curriculum. At the end of Year One, the Phonic Screening Check is completed. After this check, some children will revisit specific phases in the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme in Year Two. In Year Two, all children will follow the Year Two spelling curriculum using the Herts for Learning ‘Essential Spelling’ programme.


Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular, from vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussions, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems, and non-fiction texts. 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 and this aligns to the sounds that they have learnt. Starting in Year One, and when children are confident and fluent in using all the phonic sounds, they are able to choose books that are in a coloured banded system. We have a variety of core book schemes so there is a range of books with each phonic sound and in each colour band. 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 endeavour to ensure all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence across the curriculum. We aim to develop children’s love of books, a true enjoyment of reading which will continue for life!