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Phonics and Early Reading



A love of reading permeates across the whole school. Pupils enjoy reading. One pupil, typical of many, said, ‘I read every night. It has inspired me to become an author.’ Children in the early years begin to learn to read as soon as they start school...Pupils who struggle with their reading get the extra help they need to catch up. The books pupils read match the sounds that they learn - Ofsted November 2022


Reading is at the heart of everything we do at Woodcote, and we believe it is essential children start off with the right building blocks. In September 2021, we introduced the ‘Sounds-Write’ programme as our new approach to teaching our children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 to read, spell and write. Sounds-Write is effective in teaching pupils to read, spell and write because it starts from what all children know from a very early age – the sounds of their own language. From there, it takes them in carefully sequenced, incremental steps and teaches them how each of the 44 sounds in the English language can be spelt.   

Find the video and leaflet below which will share with you more about Sounds-Write.  

What is Sounds-Write? Video

What is Sounds-Write? Leaflet

The Sounds-Write approach teaches the understanding needed to become an effective reader:  

Reading and spelling also requires expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabet code and pupils need to be able to:  

Sounds-Write provides opportunities for practising these skills on an everyday basis until pupils achieve the automaticity required for fluent reading and spelling.   

Please follow the link for our Phonics Progression document: Phonics Progression


Early Reading

In EYFS and KS1 children bring home books from school that we refer to as ‘decodable readers’. The books have been produced by Sounds-Write, Dandelion Launchers and Dandelion Readers and when read daily, help to consolidate and maximise the children’s understanding of phonics.  These books are fully decodable texts that build on the knowledge or ‘code’ that is being taught during Sounds-Write phonics lessons.  We also use them in our guided and shared reading.

Some of them will look like this: 

In EYFS the children will be learning the Initial Code. From Year 1 and in Year 2 the children will continue following the systematic phonics teaching but will work through the Extended Code – looking at ‘same sounds different spelling’ and ‘same spelling different sounds’. This will be when the children learn how to read and spell words using a variety of different alphabet code.   

The books are carefully graded with a step-by-step introduction to new sounds and spellings and provide children with opportunities to practice and consolidate their reading skills of blending and segmenting throughout the text as well as the opportunity to practice reading fluency.   

Most children in Year 2 have a secure understanding of a wide number of Sound Spelling Correspondences and are able to read books that contain more complex alphabet code. At this point, children will bring home a mixture of Sounds Write, Dandelion Readers and banded reading books.   

Our Phonics Books

We also believe that children need exposure to high-quality, rich texts to develop a love of reading and this is something that we want to promote at Woodcote. Children have access to class libraries and our school library (ran by our year 6 librarians) which are made up of collections of different books, for example:  

The children in EYFS and KS1 are also able to choose and take a library book home every weekend to share with their family and friends. The library books expose the children to a wide variety of topics and text types (fiction and non-fiction). They are aimed at providing enriched reading experiences that promote a love of reading.   

Our Library Books




Phonics Check

In Year 1 the children sit a Phonics Screening Check in June. The check consists of 40 words and non-words that your child will be asked to read one-to-one with their teacher. Non-words (or pseudo or alien 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 they understand the phonics rules behind them.   

The 40 words and non-words are divided into two sections – one with simple word structures of three or four letters and one with more complex word structures of five or six letters. The teacher administering the check with your child will give them a few practice words to read first – including some non-words – so they understand what they need to do. Each of the non-words is presented with a picture of an alien, as if the word were their name (and so your child doesn’t try to turn it into a real word because it doesn’t make sense!).  

 Phonics Screening Check

Our Parent Phonics Screening Check information is available to read here: 

Phonics Screening Check Woodcote

How Can You Support Early Reading At Home?

Reading every day at home has the biggest impact on your child’s learning and progress. Please find below some suggestions that will support you with supporting your child.