Reading At Oldfield


The Teaching of Phonics

We use a systematic phonics programme called Letters and Sounds to progressively develop the children’s phonic skills. This scheme is supported by a range of resources such as games and computer activities which are designed and chosen to maximise the children’s engagement and motivation. 

All children have a daily phonics lesson which systematically develops their knowledge of letters and sounds whilst giving opportunities for frequent practise of skills.

Letters and Sounds is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell 'tricky words', which are words with spellings that are unusual or that children have not yet been taught. When they are ready, children progress from books without words to simple stories with lots of repetition and picture cues to books with an increasing range of words and sounds.


Phonics is the word used to describe the sounds the letters make. For example the word 'cat' can be read by blending its three sounds: c-a-t. These are not the names of the letters as we say them in the alphabet, but the sounds these letters make. 


The sound of the letters.


How the sound is represented by writing it.

It is important to also understand that phonics alone will not produce fluent readers. There are many other strategies to help children read that we deploy in school and that parents can support at home such as sharing reading every day. It is of the utmost importance that children do not feel pressurised or stressed if they cannot grasp these aspects of reading straight away - to become a lifelong reader that gains great enjoyment from reading then reading needs to be seen as a pleasure.

The Year 1 Phonic Screening

The Government are introduced a Year 1 'Phonics Screening Check in June 2012. This is used to ascertain children's attainment in reading phonetically by the end of Year 1. The check consists of 40 words, 20 of them are known words (of which 40-60% are words that are likely to be outside a 6 year old's vocabulary) and 20 'nonsense' words that need to be sounded out by the child. The words will be similar to those illustrated below.

Phonic Screening

Over the last few years the threshold to ‘pass’ the screening test has been achieving 32 out of a possible 40 words.

In 2018 88% of children in Y1 at Oldfield Park Infant school achieved the threshold compared to 83% nationally. The school ensures that those that do not reach the required level receive extra support for the remainder of Year 1 and into Year 2.

Reading Schemes

We use a wide range of reading schemes which are organised using a Book Band system. This means that books from different schemes are organised so that those at a similar level are grouped together. Therefore children can access a wide variety of books on different subjects and develop fluency using a range of texts.

The following diagram shows coloured book bands, how they relate to National Curriculum Levels and the way in which the 'average' child progresses through the different texts, which are carefully graded to ensure that there is both success and challenge in each book.

We have high expectations for the children and set ourselves challenging targets for the end of each year.


Some of the main reading schemes we use are :
  • Oxford Reading Tree
  • PM Books
  • Big Cat

Supporting Children Who Find Reading Challenge

Due to the emphasis we place on all children learning to read successfully at the infant school we run a a range of interventions to support those children who are not making the expected progress.

Supporting Your Child At Home

We expect all children to practise their reading at home at least 4 or 5 times a week. Information about how to help your child with reading at home is given to every parent at a special ‘Reading Evening’ during the Autumn Term.

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