Early Reading (Phonics)


The Vision of Reading

At Devonshire Primary Academy, we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers.  We believe that Phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier.  Through daily, systematic and consistently high quality phonics teaching, children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend phonemes to read words.

How do you teach a child to read?

The English Spelling Code is one of the most complex in the world.  Our words are made up of combinations of 44 different sounds, but many of these sounds are spelt in different ways in different words.  Furthermore, we only have 26 letters to write these sounds down.  This can lead to real confusion for children as letters combine together in different words to make different phonemes.

In order to help the children conquer this complex code, we teach it to them systematically, using a programme called Success For All (SfA).

We start by teaching children to read the first thirty sounds and to be able to blend these phonemes to read words (i.e. to know that the sounds c/a/t can blend together to read the word cat).  As they conquer this skill, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the phonemes they know.  This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency.  At the same time, we teach them how to write the sounds and use this knowledge to spell words, leading to writing short sentences.

As their confidence and fluency grows, the children learn that a sound can be written using 2 or 3 or even 4 letters.  We call this a grapheme (e.g. igh represents the /i/ sound in the word night).  Equally, they learn to use these graphemes to spell words.

As we start to introduce more sounds, the children read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes (ie. /igh/, /ie/ or /ay/, /ai/).

Reading at Home

  • Read to your child and always discuss the story you are reading to try to build your child’s comprehension skills and understanding.
  • Listen to your child read.  Find a quiet time to hear your child read and use lots of praise to encourage them.
  • Practise the sounds they know at home.
  • Make use of your local library.  Children love going to the library and having access to such a huge, diverse range of books.

Useful Websites

  • https://readingeggs.co.uk
  • https://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/