The Duke of Norfolk CofE Primary School

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The Duke of Norfolk CofE Primary School

Phonics & Reading

Reading in Early Years


Reading is taught in a wide variety of ways in Early Years.  Initially phonics is a very important part of the process, where we teach the children how to read (and write) the basic letter sounds which enable word building. (Please attend our Phonics Evening in September / access online information wherever possible where we will explain our phonics teaching, and tell you how you can help your child at home.)  Phonics is taught daily.  We follow the Read Write Inc scheme for phonics.  


In nursery, we focus primarily on speaking and listening skills that are a precursor to reading, listening for and distinguishing between sounds, exploring rhyme, hearing initial sounds in words.  In the summer term of nursery, the children will be introduced to the Read Write Inc pictures that support the learning of sounds, and then the initial sounds before the summer term.  Please ensure you use ‘pure sounds’ with your child at home to help them as they begin to blend (see phonics section of the website.)


During the first term in Reception, children will be learning / consolidating their recognition of initial sounds, and how to blend them together to read simple words.  Their reading ‘homework’ at these times will be to practise the sounds they have been learning in school through videos home and lists of sounds or flash cards.  They may also bring home some ‘tricky words’ to learn (words that can’t be blended using phonics e.g. ‘the’).


Once your child has learnt to recognise the first set of sounds and blend them together to read simple words (usually after Christmas of their Reception year), they will be sent home with an individual reading book, which is usually changed on Monday and Thursday, assuming it has been read.  These books are closely linked to our phonics learning, and your child should be able to read most of the book on their own, using the phonics that they have learnt.  They will read individually with an adult in school each week.  


Most weeks, our learning is based around a good quality text.  The children are taught to understand texts more deeply and explore vocabulary, through carefully prepared questions which are used during literacy sessions.  These questions are linked to the ‘Book Talk’ sessions that the children will share in Year 1 and beyond.


Reading is interspersed into all our teaching and is encouraged across our whole learning environment, indoor and out.  We are also lucky to have a weekly time to visit our beautiful Dukes library, to choose and check out our own book, and learn to further respect and enjoy the wonders of books!


Finally, when COVID allows, we work with our friends in Year 5 to share 'reading buddy' time.  Each child has their own buddy, who listens to them read, before reading them a library book, as another way of encouraging a life-long enjoyment of books.

On this page you will find useful information about phonics and reading.

'From tiny acorns, great forests grow.'