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Reading and Phonics in Key Stage 1


How is it taught?

In Key Stage 1 children continue to be taught using the 'Letters and Sounds' programme which they begin during Foundation. There is detailed transition work between Foundation and Year 1 which ensures carefully targeted teaching of phonics at the correct level for each child.  Phonics takes place daily from 9.20am-9.40am in Year 1. Children can be  taught in small targeted groups dependent on which phase they are working within, with the majority in whole class teaching. The lessons follow a clear structure  of Review, Teach, Practise, Apply.

Children in Year 2 have phase 6 spelling rules and grammar woven into writing lessons where appropriate. Year 2 have some additional 'Grammar Blasts' in the afternoon to ensure all spelling rules and grammar knowledge have been covered.

Fast spelling is also used to revisit spelling rules. Children who did not pass the phonics test in Year 1 will receive further phonics/reading support (how and when this happens is decided by the class teacher).


How is it assessed?

At the end of Year 1 all children will take a Phonics Screening Test, please see below for more details. Within school children are regularly assessed in their phonics throughout Key Stage 1. Each child has an individual phonics assessment record which teachers and teaching partners use to record the sounds, tricky words and high frequency words children can read and spell.


What are age related expectations?

It is the age related expectation that children are ready to begin Phase 5 of Letters and Sounds at the beginning of Year 1 and work through this phase all year.  During Phase 5 children will be taught to read and spell split digraphs (a-e, e-e,i-e,o-e,u-e), as well as alternative pronunciations for example: i (fin, find), C (cat, cent).

Children will also be taught alternative spellings for different sounds and these are sometimes known as sound families, for example ai, ay, a, a-e.


During Year 2 the age related expectation is Phase 6, children will continue to revise and revisit phase 5 but will move onto exploring past and present tense, suffixes ( for example -ed) and prefixes. They will also learn about compund words, homophones and common spelling rules.


 Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

What is it?

The Phonics Screening Check is meant to show how well your child can use the phonics skills they’ve learned up to the end of Year 1, and to identify students who need extra phonics help. The Department for Education defines the checks as “short, light-touch assessments” that take about four to nine minutes to complete.


Whats on it?

The checks consist of 40 words and non-words that your child will be asked to read one-on-one with a teacher. Non-words (or nonsense words, or pseudo words) are a collection of letters that will follow phonics rules your child has been taught, but don’t mean anything – your child will need to read these with the correct sounds to show that they understand the phonics rules behind them.

The teacher administering the check with your child will give them a few practice words to read first.

When does it happen?

Schools will administer the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check the week beginning 12 June 2017.

How will I know if my child passes?

In 2018 the pass mark was 34 and above, which means children had to read at least 32 words out of 40 correctly. The threshold mark will be communicated to schools at the end of June each year, after the test has been taken, so that teachers can mark the Check.

You will be told how your child did, but schools’ results will not be published. If your child’s score falls below the standard, they will be given extra phonics help and can re-take the Phonics screening check in Year 2.




Reading is vitally important to access all areas of the curriculum and we place an emphasis on children developing their reading skills early in Key Stage One. We also want to foster and create a passion for and love of reading, ensuring children have access to a wide variety of high quality texts from a range of genres and authors. Children have a daily shared reading lesson to teach them essential reading comprehension skills and also to support them in reading fluently.

We have recently introduced a reading toolkit-you can find a copy of this in each reading diary. This consists of the key skills children need to become confident and independent readers.

At Henry Whipple we expect that children will read every school day and a grown up will sign their diary. This is collected every day and checked.  

As part of reading for pleasure, the children have been involved in designing and creating some exciting reading dens, pictured below.