Reading and Phonics


At Coquet Park First School reading is central to our curriculum. Our Reading provision aims to provide pupils with the skills and knowledge necessary to read fluently and confidently while developing a love of reading that allows pupils to draw on knowledge of the world around them.

Our children progressively learn a range of key skills in reading using a variety of different strategies:

  • Word reading – systematic phonics, learning GPC (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence), developing skill of blending, sharing high quality texts, developing fluency  
  • Comprehension – drawing on linguistic knowledge and on knowledge of the world, read widely across a range of genres, develop a love of reading, increase pupils’ vocabulary, develop reading for pleasure 
  • Curriculum links – All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to gain information and knowledge develop their knowledge of the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.

Teachers have carefully planned out the books that they are teaching and reading with their children across the year in order to expose children to a variety of books and authors.

At Coquet Park children’s reading begins in Nursery. Children are immersed in a wide range of reading experiences to develop a love of books through the Over and Over programme and Helicopter Stories; an Early Years approach to communication and literacy skills based on the storytelling and story acting.


In Nursery children follow Phase 1 Letters and Sounds concentrating on developing children’s speaking and listening skills and ensuring the children are attuned to the sounds around them by covering all seven aspects:

Aspect 1 - General sound discrimination - environmental

The aim of this aspect is to raise children's awareness of the sounds around them and to develop their listening skills.

Aspect 2 - General sound discrimination - instrumental sounds

This aspect aims to develop children's awareness of sounds made by various instruments and noise makers.

Aspect 3 - General sound discrimination - body percussion

The aim of this aspect is to develop children's awareness of sounds and rhythms.

Aspect 4 - Rhythm and rhyme

This aspect aims to develop children's appreciation and experiences of rhythm and rhyme in speech.

Aspect 5 - Alliteration

The focus is on initial sounds of words, with activities including I-Spy type games and matching objects which begin with the same sound.

Aspect 6 - Voice sounds

The aim is to distinguish between different vocal sounds and to begin oral blending and segmenting.

Aspect 7 - Oral blending and segmenting

In this aspect, the main aim is to develop oral blending and segmenting skills.

To practise oral blending, the teacher could say some sounds, such as /c/-/u/-/p/ and see whether the children can pick out a cup from a group of objects.

In Spring Term, Nursery children are introduced to the 26 letter sounds and the RWI lively mnemonics to support handwriting and letter formation e.g. ‘m’ Maisie mountain, mountain.

In Reception and Year One children complete the Read Write Inc phonics programme. Using synthetic phonics, children quickly learn to blend letter sounds together following a fun and effective programme. Phonics provides children with the building blocks needed to become successful readers.


Why do we use RWI? The RWI programme has been proven to be a very successful method of teaching every child to read and write using phonics. Children are assessed and are put into groups and given the appropriate RWI sounds to learn, sound blending and reading books to follow matched to their phonic knowledge. Each week children will take home a RWI story book which is matched to their phonic ability.


What do children learn in RWI? In Nursery, children follow Phase 1 Letters and Sounds programme and then move onto learning Set 1 sounds in Read Write Inc. during Spring Term. Once children begin learning sounds, they use this knowledge to read and spell words. The first sounds children learn are: ‘m’, ‘a’, ‘s’, ‘d’, ‘t’. These can immediately be blended for reading to make simple CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant), e.g. sat, mat, dad, mad. Children then develop segmenting for writing skills; breaking the word into sounds to spell it out. In Reception and Key Stage One we continue to develop children’s phonics knowledge through the RWI scheme. The children learn Set 1 “special friends” sounds e.g. sh, ch, Set 2 and 3 sounds, which enable them to read and write a range of words. Children learn different representations of a sound (‘graphemes’), for example ay, a-e, ai. This enables children to become more confident with not only their reading, but also spelling and develops skills which are transferrable to their Literacy.

Children are grouped according to ability for daily phonics lessons. Each session is broken up into different parts including: revision of previous sounds taught, teaching of a new sound, reading words with the new sound and writing them, reading and writing about a core storybook matched to their phonic ability. The children are encouraged to use these sounds to support their writing in all lessons across the curriculum.

Children are assessed in Year 1, using a phonics screening check. Regular assessment using this enables us to group children for phonics and RWI, ensuring the teaching they receive is tailored to the level they are at. The final phonics screening check takes place in June. The check is designed to confirm whether individual children have learned sufficient phonic decoding and blending skills to an appropriate standard. The test consists of 40 words - it is a combination of 20 real words and 20 pseudo words (nonsense words) for the child to read 1:1 with their teacher. Children who do not meet the expected standard in Year 1 will re-sit the check in June the following year. The results of this are reported to parents in the summer.