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Tomorrow’s success starts today
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Tomorrow’s success starts today

Reading and Phonics

Phonics at Willowcroft


Why it’s important

Reading and writing are part of almost every lesson at school.

Being able to read, helps children achieve their full potential.

Outside of school, children who can read can be confident in the world.


Phonics is the foundation stone of reading

- the first tool to make (blend) words, or write (segment) them


What we do

At Willowcroft we base our phonics teaching on the Read Write Inc. system. Children first learn one way of representing all of the 44 main sounds in the English language, so they gain confidence to read and write straight away! Then, they learn the alternative ways that each sound can be made (the trickier bit!).


How often?

From Foundation to Year 2, Willowcroft children have phonics lessons every day. They will learn and practise the ways of making the 44 sounds, then use their knowledge to read real texts and write words and sentences. 


In KS2, children continue learning phonics (including reading and writing) until they no longer need it, working at least three times a week in groups targeted to their needs.


Beyond phonics

Explicitly linking phonics to reading and writing is key in our approach to teaching phonics, re-inforcing children’s understanding that phonics knowledge is a tool to use all of the time.


In the wider curriculum, we find that children quickly gain independence and motivation to have a go at reading and writing, using the phonics resources that are readily available in all classrooms to help them. All adults working with the children in all year groups use the same, familiar phonics language to support reading and writing.


In partnership:

FACT: the more your child practises phonics and reading, the quicker they will progress. To progress quickly, they need more practise than school hours allow.

So, your home support is vital.

In Foundation and Key Stage 1, you will receive a weekly phonics update on your child’s learning focus and the Bug Club e-books they could read to practise, along with their usual banded reading book. Please take a little time to log on to Bug Club and use this valuable resource, which is provided free to every child by the school.

Phonics progression


Children learn to become aware of the world around them, ready to begin oral blending and segmenting skills. They may begin to link sounds with letters of the alphabet (RWI Set 1, simple sounds) and begin to learn how to form the letters. 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them


Typically starting with Set 1, children learn the name and sound of each letter of the alphabet and how to write it. Importantly, they learn to say each letter as a ‘pure’ sound (phoneme), as it’s much clearer to blend mmmm – a- t   than muh – a – tuh.  Take a look at the video clip, Information for Parents: How to say the sounds - YouTube. Many Foundation children will progress to Set 2 and even Set 3 sounds.  


Set 2, teaches the first digraphs (letters that join to make a sound. For example, ee.) , including one way to make each of the vowel sounds; ay, ee, igh, ow, oo.


Set 3 gradually teaches children alternative ways to make the same sounds and when to use them. For example, the ay sound can also be spelled ai and a-e, or even aigh and eigh


Key Stage 1

Children continue from the level they reached at the end of Foundation, in groups targeted to their needs. Regular assessment ensures that they move between groups as they progress.  Typically, groups will begin with Set 2 or 3 sounds.


When a child knows and applies their phonics knowledge of Set 3 sounds in all their lessons, they will begin to focus on wider spelling rules, while still recapping phonics sounds daily and embedding their learning with reading and writing practise.


The national Phonics Test takes place in Term 5 of Year 1. Results (pass/fail) are published towards the end of Term 6 and we will pass these on to you with the end of year reports.  If a child ‘fails’ in Year 1 they will retake it in Term 5 of Year 2.


Key Stage 2

We recognise that not all children will be secure in phonics as they leave Year 2. So, phonics lessons (and/or interventions) will continue for as long as a child needs them,