English (Reading)

Phonics and Reading

Across the Trust, all pupils are encouraged to read widely including both fiction and non-fiction in order 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 is taught through the English curriculum and reading within class will also be seen across all subject areas and include a wide variety of materials.  Reading skills are also taught explicitly through reading comprehension lessons.  Each class also enjoys a daily story time session with their teacher.  It is important for children to be read to daily and for our staff to model and share a story with a real focus on children being immersed in a range of different genres and authors.  


Each of the schools uses the Renaissance Star Reading Scheme which is a complete online assessment of students’ reading growth, allowing teachers to see which skills pupils have mastered aligned to the National Curriculum.  Pupils read books from the scheme and then complete an online assessment tool (in school) to establish comprehension of the book.  Children are encouraged to readat home daily, as part of their homework tasks, and take one book home for enjoyment and one from the REN scheme.  Each pupil has an individual reading record which is completed by parents and school staff. We also encourage our children to make recommendations to each other and be able to articulate their choices and preferences.      


The Read Write Inc. (RWInc) phonics programme is followed from Nursery, and throughout KS1.  It is an inclusive literacy programme for all children learning to read.  Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to blend them to read and spell.  The scheme helps all children learn to read fluently, and at a speed, so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spellings. The RWInc programme is also then used to support pupils in KS2, where needed.  The RWInc sessions are expected to occur each day with no exceptions, as the continuity and pace of the programme is key to accelerating the progress of children’s reading development.  Children are assessed during each session and a formal assessment is completed once per half term by the RWInc Coordinator.  This checks individual children’s ability to recognise and say each sound, to blend and to say real and nonsense (alien) words. RWInc groups can then be adjusted to ensure that children are at a similar stage.       

Phonics is taught through the Read, Write Inc model which is a rigorous approach to the teaching of reading and comprehension in line with the new National Curriculum. Mrs Reed is our Read Write Inc manager at Beechwood. She attends national training and co-ordinates the implementation, monitoring and assessment of the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme in school. There are many helpful resources and information for parents regarding RWI on the Ruth Miskin website.
Owl Reading Scheme at Beechwood

The Beechwood Primary Academy Reading scheme celebrates and rewards children for reading widely at school and at home. Parents are encouraged to read at home with their children and communicate with teachers through a home-school reading diary. Reading achievements are celebrated at school assemblies and the names of all the children are displayed on the wooden Owl Reading Trees in the school hall. Look out for them next time you attend an event in the school hall.
Reading Rewards
 Award  Foundation & Key Stage 1  Key Stage 2
 10 Books  Certificate  Certificate
 25 Books  Reading Sticker Certificate  Bronze Owl Badge 
 50 Books  Reading Badge Certificate  Silver Owl Badge Certificate
 100 Books Reading Bookmark Certificate   Gold Owl Badge Certificate
 100+ Books  Special Reading Badge Certificate   Special Reading Badge Certificate

Year One: Phonics Screening Check Information for Parents

"The Year 1 phonics screening check is not a formal test, but a way for teachers to ensure that children are making sufficient progress with their phonics skills to read words and that they are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning."

1. What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?

The phonics screening check is taken individually by all children in Year 1 in England. It is designed to give teachers and parents information on how your child is progressing in phonics. It will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill.

2 .What is in the phonics screening check?

There are two sections in this 40-word check and it assesses phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1. Your child will read up to four words per page for their teacher and they will probably do the check in one sitting of about 5-10 minutes.

3. What sort of check is it and is it compulsory?

It is a school-based check to make sure that your child receives any additional support promptly, should they need it. It is not a stressful situation as the teacher will be well-equipped to listen and understand your child’s level of skills.

There will be a few practice words first to make sure your child understands the activity.

4. What does it check?

It checks that your child can:

  • Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words.
  • Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
  • Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as pseudo words.

5. What are nonsense or pseudo words and why are they included?

These are words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb. Pseudo words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decode a word using phonics skills and not their memory.

The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of a monster and they will be asked to tell their teacher what sort of monster it is by reading the word. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have. Crucially, it does not provide any clues, so your child just has to be able to decode it. Children generally find nonsense amusing so they will probably enjoy reading these words.

6. Is there a pass mark?

The check is not about passing or failing but checking appropriate progress is being made. If children do not reach the required standard, then the teacher will be in touch to discuss plans and offer additional, tailored support to ensure that your child can catch up. Children progress at different speeds so not reaching the threshold score does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem. Your child will re-sit the check the following summer term.

7. What happens to the results?

The school will report your child’s results to you by the end of the summer term as well as to the local authority, but the results won’t be published in a league table as with SATs. If you have any concerns, do talk to your teacher about this in a parents’ meeting or after school.

8. Do all schools and children have to participate?

All schools and academies in England must take part in the phonics screening check unless they are an independent school. There is a process in place for reviewing children with special educational needs, so if your child’s teacher thinks there are very special reasons related to your child and their needs that make them think the phonics screening check may not be appropriate, they will decide on appropriate action and discuss this with you.

9. What should I do if my child is struggling to decode a word?

  • Say each sound in the word from left to right.
  • Blend the sounds by pointing to each letter, i.e. /b/ in bat, or letter group, i.e. /igh/ in sigh, as you say the sound, then run your finger under the whole word as you say it.
  • Talk about the meaning if your child does not understand the word they have read.
  • Work at your child’s pace.
  • Always be positive and give lots of praise and encouragement.

Useful Phonics Websites

 Alphablocks - lots of videos and games to help with recognising letters and reading.   www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/shows/alphablocks 


​Phonics Games - A variety of different interactive games  

Letters and sounds initial sound game- this game lets your child reveal a sound/letter and then try to find the picture that starts with the same sound. www.letters-and-sounds.com/phase-3-games.html

​BBC Bitesize - this game allows your child to listen to the sounds in a word and to pick the correct letter. Then they can see what word they have made with all of the sounds together. www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zyfkng8/articles/zt27y4j

Phonics play - there are several free games to play that will help your child with their blending and segmenting. www.phonicsplay.co.uk/Phase3Menu.ht