Westgate C.P. School


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Reading and Phonics for Key Stage 1

Reading and Phonics Statement for Key Stage 1


Phonics  Statement


Phonics is taught in a highly structured programme of daily lessons across FS/KS1 and KS2 in groups differentiated according to children’s phonic awareness and development. At Westgate it is our aim to provide children with the skills necessary to be able to read confidently and to be able to access information throughout the curriculum.


The Phonics Programme


Phonics at Westgate Community Primary School is taught following the Fisher Family Trust ‘Success for All’ Phonics programme. This is a complete systematic, synthetic phonics programme that has been validated by the Department of Education.


Phonics is an integral part of the curriculum across the EYFS (Reception classes) and Key Stage 1 (continuing into KS2 as necessary). Lessons are taught daily to ensure that children develop the skills needed to become successful readers and writers. Children are regularly assessed and there are additional planned intervention groups for children needing extra support.


We understand how important it is for children to become fluent readers and develop a love of reading and we chose the FFT ‘Success for All’ Phonics programme as their vision is perfectly in line with ours.


“Our ambition is to enable success for all children and inspire a lifelong love of reading” (FFT - 2022)


Please click on the links below to find information about how to support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. There are also lots of really useful videos and tips for you to access.


Tips for reading at home reading at home:


Correct pronunciation of sounds:


Click on the link below to access further videos and information. This link will also allow you to access the shared reading books your child is reading in class each week. Login details will be sent home for you:


What is Phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write by learning to associate letters or groups of letters with the sounds they represent. There are 44 main sounds in the English language. Each sound is represented by a grapheme (the written representation of a sound).

At Westgate CP School, we use ‘Success for All Phonics’ as our systematic synthetic phonic programme. Synthetic phonics is a method of teaching where words are broken up into the smallest units of sound (phonemes).

Children are taught how to:

  • recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  • identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as /sh/ or /oo/;
  • to blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
  • to segment words into individual sounds

Key terms we use in our teaching:

Phoneme – a single unit of sound

Grapheme – a written letter, or group of letters that represents a sound

Consonants – b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z

Vowels – a, e, i, o, u

Blend – to put or merge the sounds together to make a word (e.g. the sounds c-a-t are blended to the word ‘cat’.)

Segment – to break down the word into individual sounds to spell (e.g. dog can be split into the sounds d-o-g.).


Phonics Phrases

For each of the Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences in ‘Success for All’ Phonics,  we teach children a short alliterative phrase to help them to remember it, e.g. for ‘s’ we have ‘The snake slides and slithers.’

If your child is having difficulty in remembering a GPC, reminding them of the alliterative phrase might help. Helpful video guidance for this that can be viewed by clicking on the link below:


Letter Formation Cues


When children learn to write lowercase letters in the correct way, we use a short rhyme to help them remember how they should do this, e.g. for ‘c’ this is ‘curl around the caterpillar.’


We want children to form their letters in the correct way as early as possible and prevent them from developing poor letter writing habits that will need to be corrected later.


Please click on the link below for the alliterative phrases and letter writing cues


Phonics in our Reception Classes

Children learn the short sounds and use these to read CVC words. A limited number of Common Exception Words are introduced and children practise writing new and previously learnt sounds in uppercase and lowercase letters.


Children then learn consonant digraphs and long vowel digraphs, and read CCVC and CVCC words.


Children are introduced to two-syllable words.

Spelling and sentence writing with known sounds are introduced. Common alternative spellings / pronunciations are introduced.


Consonant digraphs – zz, qu, ch, sh, th, ng

Vowel digraphs – ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er 

Finally, we focus on reviewing and consolidating all Reception content in preparation for Year 1. Decoding skills are applied to more challenging word structures.


Phonics in Year One

In Year 1, we teach the remaining long vowels, including split digraphs:

ay, ou, ie, ea, oy, ir, ue, aw, ew 

a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e, -y, ow, soft c, soft g

ire, are, tch, oe, ph

Children learn to read nonsense words along with CCVCC, CCCVC and CCCVCC words.

All Key Stage 1 CEWs are taught and reviewed, and children learn the spelling and grammar conventions from the Year 1 National Curriculum.


The Key Stage One Phonics Screening Check 

It is a statutory requirement for children in Year One to complete the Phonics Screening Test.  This test contains real and nonsense words (referred to as ‘alien words’).  It is designed to see if children have reached the expected standard in phonics before Year Two.  The assessment is administered by our Phonics Leads in a set week in June. The children will do practice screenings throughout the academic year so the set up will be familiar to them.  The standard pass mark is unknown each year but is usually around 32 (out of a possible 40 marks) . It is only published once the Local Authorities have scores from all schools.  Parents are told the result of this screening in the end of year school report.  


Click here to see an extract from a Phonics Screening Check.


Phonics in Year 2

Some children will continue their phonics learning in Year 2 whilst accessing our FFT Phonics Intervention programme ‘Tutoring with the Lightning Squad’. As soon as they are completely confident with applying Phase 3-5 GPCs in both their reading and writing, they will begin our FFT spelling programme ‘Spelling with the Jungle Club’. The spelling sessions follow the four-part phonic lessons with review, teach, practise and apply with fun and interactive activities, designed to motivate pupils and allow teachers to teach and track progress through Y2 National Curriculum objectives for Spelling.


Shared reading lessons continue in Year 2, with the children embarking on our new FFT reading programme, ‘Routes to Reading’. This programme supports pupils on their reading journey.

Over the year, they will experience texts from a range of genres and text types. Lessons include opportunities for pupils to use and refine comprehension strategies and complete a bank of reading journal activities. The programme builds on pupils’ phonemic knowledge, decoding, fluency and comprehension skills from Year 1.


Reading Statement:


At Westgate Primary School children will learn to read with confidence, fluency and understanding, providing them with the skills required to achieve a lifetime of enjoyment through reading.

Children read in school independently, in guided groups, with reading buddies, and as a shared class session. They listen to adults and other children read, taking part in paired reading with their own and other age groups.


Our Reading aims are:


  • To promote reading for pleasure.
  • To promote confidence and positive attitudes to reading through access to a wide range of literature.
  • To develop phonetic skills which lead to blending and reading accurately and fluently.
  • To broaden their vocabulary.
  • To develop comprehension skills, and enable children to analyse what they read and to participate in discussion and debate about texts.
  • To encourage good home/school partnerships.
  • To monitor each child’s progress through the use of a range of assessment strategies eg NFER reading tests, on-going reading observations, of our statements on the Insight tracking system.
  • To support those children who require additional support with their reading.
    Reading in School
    Many activities take place which promote pre-reading skills. Children become aware of print in their environment and match pictures and words. Language comprehension is developed by talking and reading to the children. For example, children might be introduced to stories and allowed to orally compose a story which is acted out by themselves and their peers.
    Initially, as children learn to read, they are given a picture book with no words with the intention that they will share the book and take part in a conversation generated by the pictures. Gradually as the children's knowledge of letters and sounds develop they begin to phonetically decode words.
    We have a number of Big Cat phonics books available which are fully phonetically decodable. Our reading books are then organised into coloured Book Bands. Children are assessed regularly and move onto the next ‘Book Band’ when their fluency and understanding show that they are ready. Children move through the Book Bands until they reach the required standard to become a Free-Reader, choosing a book to read from our well-stocked school or class libraries. In addition to a personalised reading book children are able to take a book home from the school library. In KS2 there is a greater emphasis on comprehension with most children decoding easily.
    Developing Reading for Pleasure
    We try to encourage a love of reading by holding book themed days and events both as individual classes and across the whole school e.g. World Book Day. Each class teacher reads to their class on a regularly basis. Reading assemblies take place regularly, introducing children to a variety of literature. Book Fairs are held to allow all children the chance to look at new books of all genres and hopefully purchase a new book of their own to take home!
    Our well-stocked school library promotes authors and a range of reading material to appeal to all pupils. Children's suggestions for new books are encouraged and purchased.
    Assessment of Reading
    Reading is assessed regularly and monitored on the school tracking system. In addition, children in the Key Stage 1 are assessed using the YARC reading test to check progress in reading age relative to their chronological age. Liaison with the school SENCO and external agencies is arranged for children who require additional support and reading intervention strategies.