Phonics & Reading


At Stanhope, we put phonics at the heart of reading.

The National Curriculum says that pupils should be taught to ‘apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words’. The books they practise with at the earliest stages should ‘not require them to use other strategies to work out words’. We also understand the need for children to learn to read common exception words (‘tricky words’) quickly and efficiently to speed up their decoding and increase their fluency.


These essential skills are introduced in the Nursery using the Phase 1 Letters and Sounds and this is built upon in Reception, using the synthetics phonics programme Read Write Inc. (RWInc).


Year 2 continues with the RWInc programme for those children who did not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1 and also uses the No Nonsense Spelling Programme to further enhance children’s knowledge within Phase 5 and 6 of Letters and Sounds.


We begin by making sure that pupils can sound and blend unfamiliar printed words quickly and accurately using phonic knowledge.


We understand that giving children a strong start in the early years is essential for their journey to becoming confident readers.


How you can support your child at home.

    • Talk lots! Your child will benefit from hearing lots of different vocabulary.
  • Read with your child every day. Not only will your child enjoy this, they will hear good modelling of reading regularly. Click on this link for access to a large range of free e-books.


  • Sing Nursery Rhymes. Repetitive activities like this are important too as they will hear the sounds repeated in the words.



  • Help your child with the sounds they have brought home to practise, these sounds have been specially chosen for your child as the sounds they need to learn based on regular assessments in class.


  • Return your child’s reading and library books to school regularly – reading often is the key!


Further information can be found using this hyperlink –




We actively encourage children’s interest in books by creating an inviting atmosphere in which to read and provide a wide range of different reading material available. All classrooms provide a range of age appropriate and level appropriate high quality texts, which children can read regularly within a designated class time. Children regularly hear good modelling from staff members through sharing of a class novel. Pupils experience a variety of texts and are taught to appreciate a range of styles, genres and themes, including those of other cultures.


Pupils receive the age appropriate teaching of reading skills:


FS1/2 – Daily Letters and Sounds/Read Write Inc./Floppy Phonics home reading books/Big Books/Guided Reading

KS1 – Daily Read Write Inc./Guided Reading through class books and RWInc (fiction/non-fiction)/Big Books

KS2 – Daily Guided Reading Sessions/Discrete reading comprehension lessons/Class novel


Questioning within guided reading and reading comprehension lessons focus on reading fluency, linguistic knowledge and knowledge of the world, themes and conventions, comprehension, inference and language for effect.


Stanhope Reading Challenge


All children from Year 1 – Year 6 take part in the Stanhope Reading Challenge which is a passport style booklet encouraging them to read at least 4 times per week (signature from parent/staff member who hears the child read). On completion of the whole passport, the children receive a reward at the end of the year.


Home Reading Scheme


FS2 Floppy Phonics/Oxford Reading Tree

KS1 – Oxford Reading Tree

KS2 – Oxford University Press – Tree Tops (Mixture of fiction/non-fiction/classics/graphic novels)


Achieve 3000


Children in years 5 and 6 use Achieve 3000 to develop their comprehension skills as well as developing their inference and deduction skills. Children complete written tasks based on a text (Thought question). Termly assessments are completed by the children to assess whether they are working at the correct level for their reading age.


Other Opportunities for Reading


  • All pupils are offered the opportunity to attend the yearly book fair.


  • Scholastic Book Club catalogues are regularly given out to encourage new book purchases.


  • Pupils from FS – Year 6 have access to the school library and are encouraged to change their books regularly. Foundation Stage invite parents/carers in on a weekly basis to change books with their children.


  • Stanhope will be proactive in joining in with National Reading events such as World Book Day, Shakespeare Week and Roald Dahl Day to encourage children’s enjoyment and participation in discussions around reading and authors. Author visits are also arranged.


  • – Children are encouraged to use the Reading Eggs online reading programme to practise comprehension skills and read texts from the online library. They can also access this programme at home using logins provided by school.


  • Children from Y1-6 use the Collins Treasure House Comprehension activities to learn/practise their comprehension skills.



Phonics Websites for Parents

Useful websites:

A series of information and tutorial videos explaining the basics of Read Write Inc. Phonics. Your child is learning to read with this programme, these videos will help you support them at home:

Resources to help with learning RWInc Phonics–1/


Interactive games linked to each phase and a useful section on information for parents:


Reading Eggs supports each child’s learning by offering individual, one-on-one lessons. These online lessons allow your child to progress at their own rate.


Games and resources linked to each phase of Letters and Sounds:


BBC CBeebies series of animated programmes featuring the Alphablocks characters – great for practising sounds and blending words:


A website set up by a Year 1 teacher who started making phonics videos for his class.  He has since became very popular and has now created his own phonics apps:


More interactive games to support phonics skills.  Try Phonic Fighter for initial sounds in words.


A collection of further games and resources can be found on the Letters and Sounds section of this website:


The BBC Schools website has a number of phonics activities such as: