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John Clifford Primary & Nursery School ‘Be your best. Celebrate success. Together we will be successful.’

Reading and Phonics

Picture 1

What is Phonics?


Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. Children are first taught how to recognise the sounds each individual letter makes and identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make such as ‘sh’ and ‘oo’. Children are taught to read by breaking down words into separate sounds or ‘phonemes’. They are then taught how to blend these sounds together to read the whole word.


In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, we teach phonics through the 'Letters and Sounds' scheme whilst using Jolly Phonics as our medium for actions to support the phonemes being taught. 


Why Phonics?


Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way, starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to more complex sounds, this is the most effective way of teaching children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5-7. Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go onto read any kind of text fluently and confidently and to read for enjoyment. 



Phonics Screening Check


Across England, all Year 1 children take part in the Phonics Screening Check in the Summer Term. The check is designed to give teachers and parents information on how your child is progressing in phonics. It will helps to identify whether your child needs additional support so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill.

Reading Schemes and Resources


At John Clifford School we use a wide variety of resources to enable our pupils to become confident readers.  These include:



  • Dandelion Books
  • Oxford Reading Tree – origins, phonics etc
  • Songbirds (phonics)
  • Bug Club
  • Big Cat (Collins)
  • Real Narrative Texts


Key Stage 2

  • Oxford Treetops
  • Oxford Reading tree
  • Big Cat (Collins)
  • Real Reading Texts


From Foundation Stage, children take home reading books linked to the book band that they have been identified as working upon. Children get the opportunity to choose their own book from a wide range of texts within a relevant band. We ask parents to share these books with their children a minimum of three times each week and record this reading in their child's reading diary. In KS1, children change these books on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


Children are also able to select another reading book of their choice from the classroom libraries. This may be a book that is beyond their reading ability but might be of particular interest to the child. Children should enjoy their reading and experience the delights of choosing a book that they love reading. 

The School Library


There should be a balance between structured reading material and other books at each stage. We have wide range of books available to children in all classrooms and in the school library. 


The library allows pupils to borrow a wide range of books from sharing/picture books to non-fiction. It is organised colour bands so that children can be guided to an appropriate range of texts as identified by their class teacher. 


Children are also given the opportunity to choose any other fiction text from the library which they can share with their parents/carers at home.


The non-fiction section can be borrowed by any year group. These are organised by topic. 


Our school library and KS1 reading trolleys are monitored and taken care of by our school librarians as part of our 'Little Leaders' initiative.