• Stratford Road, Lighthorne Heath, Leamington Spa,Warwickshire, CV33 9TW
Reading: Phonics

Our Vision for Reading

At Lighthorne Heath Primary School, education is about learners experiencing the joy of discovery, solving problems, being creative and developing their self-confidence as learners. Learners do better when they are excited and engaged; when there is joy in what they are doing, they learn to love learning.

We believe that all aspects of our reading programme - reading aloud, shared, group and independent reading and the systematic teaching of phonics, spelling and etymology - should all be enjoyable. We promote enjoyment and engagement through the creative use of high quality literature at the heart of the literacy curriculum. We use the Power of Reading programme, developing teaching and learning strategies to support engagement with books and attainment in reading.

This approach resonates through every other reading experience children encounter, such as group reading sessions and in selecting the books which we provide for children to read independently, and the contexts we provide for sharing and enjoying these books.

Teachers are encouraged to think about themselves as reading role models; to promote books and reading; to develop their reading environment; and to think about broader reading opportunities which enable children to develop their independence and to read widely for purpose and pleasure across the curriculum, both in and out of school.

At Lighthorne Heath Primary School, we believe that every pupil has the right to learn how to read – no child will be left behind. We believe that wisdom grows from wonder. Children should enjoy reading; make progress; and have the opportunity to be creative.

What is phonics? 

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They 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 ' ; and blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to 'de-code' new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.

Why phonics?

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way - starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex - it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7 years.

Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.

Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as 'look and say'.

How do we teach phonics at Lighthorne Heath Primary school?

Our approach enables children to start learning phonic knowledge and skills using a systematic, synthetic programme by the age of five, with the expectation that they will be fluent readers having secure word recognition skills by the end of key stage one (Year 2).

Phonics is taught in discrete, daily sessions progressing from simple to more complex phonic knowledge and skills and covering the major grapheme / phoneme correspondences. We use a multi-sensory approach so that children learn variously from simultaneous visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities which are designed to secure essential phonic knowledge and skills. Children are taught that phonemes should be blended, in order, from left to right for 'all through the word' reading. Teachers demonstrate how words can be segmented into their constituent phonemes for spelling and that this is the reverse of blending phonemes to read words.   

Reception Autumn Term

Oxford Level 1 Sounds Books in the Floppy’s Phonics series are wordless, and are used to enable children to focus on environmental sounds in different settings.

Oxford Level 1+ (Floppy’s Phonics books 1-6) teaches the first set of sounds (s/ss, a, t, p, i, n, m, d, g, o, c/k/ck, e, u, r, h, b, f/ff, l/ll, ul/le)

Reception Spring Term

Oxford Level 2 (Floppy’s Phonics books 7-12) teaches the next set of sounds, including introducing some digraphs and trigraphs (j, v, w, x, y, z/zz, qu, ch, sh, th, ng). One alternative common consonant grapheme spelling is introduced for some of the sounds (dge, ve, wh, cks, tch, nk)

Reception Summer Term

Oxford Level 3 (Floppy’s Phonics books 13-18) focuses on the next set of digraphs and trigraphs (ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, er). Alternative vowel graphemes are also introduced (ue, ure, ture)

Year 1 Autumn Term

Oxford Level 4 revises all previously taught sounds, and teaches blending adjacent consonants (Floppy’s Phonics books 19-20) and introduces one alternative spelling for some of the sounds, focusing on alternative vowel graphemes (Floppy’s Phonics books 21-24) (oa/ow, ue/ew, oo/ew, ow/ou, ur/ir, or/aw, ear/eer, air/are, s/ce, e/ea, u/o, -ed/d/t)

Year 1 Spring Term

Oxford Level 5 (Floppy’s Phonics books 25-30) teaches alternative spellings  (ai/ay/eigh/ey, a/a-e/ae/ea, ee/e/y/ey, ea/e-e/ie, igh/i/y, ie/i-e, oa/ow/o, oe/o-e/ough/eau, s/ss/se/ce, ce/ci/cy, sc/st, e/ea, j/ge/gi/gy, ge/dge, le/el, al/il, ue/u, ew/u-e/eu, oo/u-e/o/ou/ough, ue/ew/ui/u, oi/oy, ow/ou/ough, or/our, aw/au/al/ar)

Year 1 Summer Term

Oxford Level 5 (Floppy’s Phonics books 31-36) teaches alternative spellings (ur/ir/er, ear/or, u/o/ou/our, ar/a/al, s/si/ge, w/wh/u, f/ff, ph/gh, ch/tch/ture/sh/ch/ti/ci/ssi/sci, g/ug/gue/gh, ear/eer/ere/ier, air/are/ear/ere, n/nn/kn/gn, r/rr/wr/rh, m/mm/mb/mn, c/k/ck/ch/qu/que, or/ore/our/oor/oar, aw/al/augh/ough) and alternative pronunciations (ch/k/sh, ie/ee, ow/ou/oa, a/ai/wa/o)

Oxford Reading Tree Floppy's Phonics Sounds and Letters

The ORT Floppy’s Phonics Sounds and Letters systematic synthetic phonics programme provides our school with all the structure and resources we need to deliver really effective synthetic phonics teaching for all children – as well as enriching their vocabulary and language comprehension.

The Floppy’s Phonics Sounds and Letters programme teaches the letter/s-sound correspondences of the English alphabetic code explicitly and comprehensively for reading, spelling and handwriting:

  • Systematic and structured with inbuilt rigorous revision to ensure the success of every child
  • Includes the characters of Floppy the dog, Biff, Chip and Kipper and their family and friends, with hundreds of colour pictures to engage children fully for the phonics teaching & learning, vocabulary enrichment and language comprehension
  • Rigorous teaching sequence ensuring the phonics teaching & learning is straightforward, effective and allows for differentiation in simple, but effective, ways
  • Builds up knowledge of spelling word banks over time where words are spelt with the same letter/s-sound correspondences
  • Designed to inform parents/carers routinely and to work in partnership with them wherever possible
  • The order of introducing the 44 sounds of the English language matches the order in ‘Letters and Sounds’ (DfES, 2007)

For further information about Floppy's Phonics, please click on the links below:


For information about the Phonics Screening Check, please click below: