Phonics and Early Reading - Reception and Year One

At Redhills we teach children to read through synthetic phonics, following the structure and phases set out in Letters and Sounds (DfE 2007). Every day in Reception and Year 1 children learn the sounds that single or pairs of letters make, and how to blend these sounds together to make words. To find out more about phonics and how to help their children, parents are encouraged to attend informal workshops and drop-ins (with refreshments!). Dates of these sessions are published with plenty of notice in the weekly newsletter.


There are plenty of resources available to help parents and children. To hear which letters and combination of letters (known as digraphs for a pair of letters and trigraphs where three letters work together) make which sounds, watch this video .


There are lots of apps which support phonics teaching - for example follow this link for the Twinkl phonics suite. This is free in the basic version.


Reading at home 

In Reception and Year 1 children take home reading books to read with an adult using a range of reading schemes including Oxford Reading Tree book bands. This is a vital part of their experience of learning to read, as it not only gives them a chance to practice their learning, and share that with their parents or carers, but it also helps them understand the value that we put on reading throughout society. Through sharing books with their children, parents can show children how much they value their child's learning to read. The books the children take home relate to the phonic sounds that they have been learning, and are colour banded to ensure that they give the correct level of challenge to support the child's learning. 


Developing Reading - Year 2 onwards

Throughout the early years of reading (Reception, Years 1 and 2) children progress through books which become progressively more challenging for them, according to their ability to read the words and understand the text. These books follow a colour banding to identify the level of challenge. You can see that in full below. They bring reading books home and, as before, parents are asked to hear them read on a daily basis to support this stage of their learning and give them the encouragement they need.



Reading beyond the colour bands

Once children are reading white books confidently and can talk about their understanding of the book, inferring what is understood but not written, and relating the text to other similar books or stories, they move on to Accelerated Reader. This is a web-based programme, which ensures that children continue to read books at the right level of challenge to their ability. After they have read a book the children log on and take a quiz to show how well they have understood the book and are given a score to reflect this. They earn points, rewards and certificates for their reading, and can get on with books independently, whilst teachers and parents can keep a watch on their progress and understanding. All the fiction books in our school library work with the Accelerated Reader programme, and we exchange  these on a regular basis with the Devon Schools' Library Service so that there are always new books for children to read.  Read more about Accelerated Reader in the leaflet below.



We use a style of learning called Talk for Writing to teach children to write well. This includes looking at - and learning - quality texts that teach children the type of language they need to write in that type of text. They learn to adapt and re-use that language in different situations until they can independently write their own text using what they have learned in a new context.


Through these texts we also teach the grammar that is now explicitly set out in the new 2014 National Curriculum and included in the statutory assessment points at the end of each Key Stage (Years 2 and 6).


A vital part of the writing process at all ages is children editing and redrafting their work. They need to be able to talk about what they had to do - or need to do next time - to make the writing better.

Colour Band Information for Parents

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