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Early Reading & Phonics

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Early Reading & Phonics

Early Reading & Phonics at All Saints Ranton, we use the DfE validated systematic synthetic phonics programme, ‘Bug Club Phonics’ from Pearson (Activelearn) to deliver phonics in the Early Years and KS1. We also use decodable phonics books from Bug Club, which is our reading scheme to teach reading.


We use a systematic approach to the teaching of synthetic phonics to enable children to develop secure reading and spelling skills. It is proven that high quality phonics teaching is the best way to teach children to read, ‘the EEF considers phonics to be one of the most secure and best-evidenced areas of pedagogy, recommending all schools use a systematic approach to teaching it. There is convincing evidence of the value of systematic synthetic phonics (SSP)’ (The Reading Framework –Teaching the foundations of literacy January 2022). A strong emphasis on high quality teaching of phonics can substantially reduce the number of children at risk of falling below age-related expectations for reading.


• Deliver high-quality phonic teaching which secures the crucial skills of word recognition that, once mastered, enable children to read fluently and automatically enable them to concentrate on the meaning of the text

• To establish consistent practice, progression and continuity in the teaching and learning of phonics and spelling throughout the school

• To support pupils with targeted, differentiated phonics and spelling work, in addition to the whole class teaching, so that all children are given sufficient support to progress and experience challenge at a level at which they can succeed

• To give children word work strategies that will enable them to become fluent readers and confident writers

Beginner readers should be taught:

• Grapheme phoneme correspondence in a clearly defined sequence as outlined below: -

• to apply the highly important skills of blending (synthesising) phonemes in the order in which they occur

• to apply the skills of segmenting words into their constituent phonemes to spell

• that blending and segmenting are reversible processes


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High-quality Bug Club Phonics sessions will:

• engage children in a range of activities and experiences to develop their speaking and listening skills and phonological awareness

• provide multi-sensory activities to enliven core learning

• enable children to explore a variety of fiction and non-fiction books that are 100% decodable books

• entail fun, interactive videos and activities with games and pictures

• support children in their reading, spelling and writing skills

• follow the Bug club lesson progression as outlined below: -

Bug Club Phonics Lesson Sequence

Bug Club Phonics is structured with Phoneme Sessions and Language Sessions. This structure fully supports the daily phonics teaching sequence recommended by the Primary National Strategy in the renewed Framework. The following diagram illustrates the alignment of the Bug Club Phonics lesson structure to this teaching sequence.


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Programme of Teaching Expectations:

Bug Club Phonics is taught in reception to Year 2, daily for up to 30 minutes. Children are taught in whole class/group sessions to ensure children are taught age-related phonics. Additional phonics intervention is given for children who need targeted support of earlier phonics with a member of staff trained in delivering high quality phonics, using phonics bugs games and lessons resources.

Nursery - We aim for all children to receive a strong foundation of Phase 1 teaching across all areas of provision. The children in Nursery will be immersed in a learning environment rich with Phase 1 opportunities as well as adult led sessions covering the seven key aspects as outlined in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE, 2021), Communication and language Development Matters (DfE, 2021) and The Reading Framework (DfE, 2021)*See overview below:

Aspect 1 – General sound discrimination – environmental

The aim of this aspect is to raise children’s awareness of the sounds around them and to develop their listening skills.

Aspect 2 – General sound discrimination – instrumental sounds

This aspect aims to develop children’s awareness of sounds made by various instruments and noise makers.

Aspect 3 – General sound discrimination – body percussion

The aim of this aspect is to develop children’s awareness of sounds and rhythms.

Aspect 4 – Rhythm and rhyme

This aspect aims to develop children’s appreciation and experiences of rhythm and rhyme in speech.

Aspect 5 – Alliteration

The focus is on initial sounds of words, with activities including I-Spy type games and matching objects which begin with the same sound.

Aspect 6 – Voice sounds

The aim is to distinguish between different vocal sounds and to begin oral blending and segmenting.

Aspect 7 – Oral blending and segmenting

In this aspect, the main aim is to develop oral blending and segmenting skills.

*Phase 2 will be introduced when/if children are secure within Phase 1

Reception – We aim for all children to have completed Phase 4 by the end of Reception.

Year One – We aim for all children to have completed Phase 5 by the end of Year One.

Year Two – We aim for all children to be working securely within Phase 6 by the end of Year Two.

Key Stage Two (Year 3 – Year 6) – Further phonics interventions for children who are not yet secure in Phase 6 phonics will be tailored to meeting their needs and delivered by a member of staff trained in delivering high quality phonics, using phonics bugs games and lesson resources.

High Frequency (common) words:

Our schools agreed approach to the teaching of common exception words is that children are encouraged to use their knowledge of synthetic phonics as much as possible to work out how to read unknown words aloud. The bits of a word that are 'irregular/tricky' and do not directly correspond to known grapheme/phoneme correspondence are identified and discussed as a teaching point. Within this sequence, we have identified where we expect ‘irregular/tricky’ words and decodable high frequency words to be taught. This includes the decodable high frequency (common) word list from Bug Club Phonics (which makes up the 100 high frequency word list), alongside the National Curriculum Common Exception Words.

Letter formation:

Bug Club Phonics teaches letter formation (for both lower case and capital letters) at the point of introduction of every grapheme, talking-through elements of such teaching also supports the children’s cognitive processes.


- Children have access to phonics resources including whiteboards, pens, magnetic letters and Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence (GPC) sounds mats.

- Bug Club Phonics provides a range of digital resources that are allocated to our children post direct teaching sessions such as interactive games that allow for the application of newly taught knowledge.

- All classrooms display friezes and/or grapheme wall posters that match the Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences (GPC)and progression of the Bug Club Phonics Programme.

- All classrooms are language rich where the children have opportunities to apply their phonics knowledge.

Assessment and Tracking: Assessment:

Teachers assess children’s understanding of phonics half-termly using the assessment tools provided by the Bug Club Phonics. The data is analysed half termly to provide an overview of children’s phonics stages in classes, key stages and overall and track how children are progressing and identifying areas that need to be retaught to specific groups of children through additional intervention. At the end of the academic year, the class teacher passes on the end of year phonics data to the next class teacher stating where the children are within the Bug Club Phonics programme. This data will provide teachers with possible next steps for children to build on their personal phonics development.


Children have opportunities to apply their phonic knowledge using phonetically decodable books from the Bug Club (Pearson) reading scheme in conjunction with Rhino Readers and Oxford Reading Tree. The sequence of reading books shows a cumulative progression in phonics knowledge (See outline below). Once the children are secure with the new content that has been taught, they are able to read the books from that set within the Bug Club phase, to develop their fluency. They may also read books from parallel schemes within school, alongside their main Bug Club text, that have been categorised in phases to support their progression, both for enjoyment and fluency.

Home Reading:

Bug Club Phonics provides a full library of eBooks that can be allocated to individual children post phonics teaching session. All decodable readers match the order of phoneme introduction. This ensures that each child can find a book at exactly the right level for them. All of our home readers are decodable and graded into colour units in accordance to the Bug Club Phonics teaching scheme where there is a carefully planned progression of books. This progression gives children plenty of opportunity to develop their reading skills and master each step while moving through the reading programme.

Children progress through the colour bands once they have achieved two goals:

1. That they are able to decode and fluently read the words playing close attention to punctuation

2. That they are able to answer retrieve explicit information from the text and are also able to infer meaning out less explicit details

There are also a variety of additional books to match each unit of the teaching programme. Following half termly assessments children are matched to the correct unit of home reader. Thus providing an opportunity for children to practise and consolidate their learning at each stage.

When the children have completed the first two units of Bug Club Phonics, they will have acquired a sufficient number of grapheme–phoneme correspondences to start reading their own books. Prior to this there is a strong focus on communication and language where parents will be given guidance for prereaders.

The Bug Club Phonics readers are designed to support children in practising and consolidating the knowledge they acquire during the whole class/group teaching sessions. Bug Club’s online reading world helps children improve core reading skills at school or home with exciting texts and fun rewards. It also enables teachers to monitor every child’s progress.

Support/Guidance for Parents/Carers:

Communication between home and school occurs through the children’s home reading logs.


Description automatically generated with low confidenceChildren receive 1 home reader from the reading library and 1 or more allocated eBooks from the Bug Club eBook library each week.


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Remote Learning:

Each child in Reception to Year 6 has access to an online account for Phonics Bug Active Learn. Each child has a personalised homepage where they will find the eBooks they have been allocated by the teacher and motivating rewards. The online reading world ensures children can access independent reading resources anywhere at any time.

Meeting the need of the lowest 20% of children:

A phonics baselining assessment is completed during the first six weeks of the school year. This aids the identification of those children who required additional support.

Children working within the lowest 20% will be supported by the following provision:

Extra consolidation through catch-up support is provided for children who need it.

The extra support is flexible and enables slower learning children to achieve steady progress. Some children may switch between levels, so the support needed may vary. Both ongoing formative assessment and summative assessment will ensure that any skill weakness is identified promptly so that no child is left behind.

These children benefit from additional small nature group teaching who are all struggling with the same concept, for instance particular sounds. By revisiting learning and games in a smaller group setting, they develop confidence and self-esteem. This is further reinforced through discussions with parents at home.


Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Children can then focus on developing comprehension and greater fluency throughout the rest of school. Teachers and learning assistants leading phonics sessions are constantly assessing the progress of individual children within a session or series of lessons and making adaptations to teaching or interventions based on this assessment.

National Phonics Screening Test

Attainment in phonics is formally measured by the ‘Phonics Screening Test’ at the end of Year 1. All children in Year 1 will be screened using the National Assessment materials in the Summer Term. If children in Year 1 do not pass the screening test, they will be retested when they are in Year 2. This data will be submitted to the Local Authority.

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