Haydon Court Drive, Swindon, SN25 1JP
01793 700443

Reading and Phonics


The Teaching of Phonics and Reading 

At Haydonleigh, we believe that learning to read and reading for pleasure transforms and enriches children’s lives. Reading is a pivotal part of our curriculum and is an intrinsic part of teaching and learning at our school.


At Haydonleigh, we teach phonics and early reading skills using the Letters and Sounds approach. This is referred to as Synthetic Phonics. Synthetic phonics is the breaking down of words into their separate sound components known as phonemes. This systematic approach provides children with the skills they need to begin to read words, captions and sentences as soon as possible.

There are six phases within Letters & Sounds which the children will work through. In our Reception classes, children work within phases 1 to 4 before consolidating phase 4 and progressing into phase 5 in Year 1 and Phase 6 in year 2. The programme enables children to see the relationship between reading and spelling, meaning they learn to blend and segment words successfully. Most children will complete Phase 6 by the end of Year 2, however this can continue into Year 3 if required.


When we are teaching, we discuss elements such as:

phoneme which is the smallest unit of sound in speech. 

For example:

the word ‘hat’ has 3 phonemes – ‘h’ ‘a’ and ‘t’. 

grapheme which is the letter/ letters that represent a phoneme. English has a complex written code and in our code a grapheme can be 1, 2, 3 or 4 letters.

For example:

1 letter grapheme – m  a  t     (m)

2 letter grapheme – sh  i  p    (sh)

3 letter grapheme – n  igh  t     (igh)

4 letter grapheme – eigh  t     (eigh)


digraph is a 2 letter grapheme (the clue is in ‘di’) e.g. ‘ch’ in  ‘chip’ 

trigraph is a 3 letter grapheme (the clue is in ‘tri’) e.g. ‘igh’ in ‘high’


Blending is the process of pushing sounds together in a word. Children are taught to sound out words and then push the sounds together to read a recognisable word. 

Segmenting is the process of separating sounds in words. Children are taught to listen and isolate sounds in words. Then they are taught to represent those sounds in letters. This is the process of spelling. 

Some words in the English language cannot be broken down into separate phonemes. These words are known as tricky words and we teach the children to be able to read and know the whole word, for example, ‘said’ or ‘what’.

It is also vital that the correct pronunciation is used for each phoneme. The video below will help you in supporting your child’s correct sound pronunciation.


These websites are helpful to support phonics:


For a guide to phonics terminology click here.

New link https://www.doodlelearning.com/post/parents-guide-to-phonics-a-glossary-of-key-terms

Reading Books

At Haydonleigh Primary School, we have a wide range of reading books to support the early development of reading. All our early reading books are colour coded to match each phonic phase.

Your child will be given a phonic phase book colour to choose their home reading book from, which will help to ensure that the book they select is the right reading level for them. All books within the early reading system can be fully decoded by the children using their phonics skills and knowledge so reading can be practised at home with confidence. Once a child is confident applying their phonic skills and becomes a fluent reader, they will be able to choose from a selection of free reader books. To help develop their reading skills, children are encouraged to read at home daily for 5-10 minutes. Research shows that children who read daily develop reading fluency at a more rapid rate.


In class, our weekly guided reading sessions use a decodable text to teach word reading and higher level reading skills such as comprehension.


Reading for Pleasure 

We encourage pupils to develop a love of reading. We give children the best start we can by teaching them to read as soon as possible so that they can develop a love of reading that will provide them with the skills they need for the future.

All classrooms have attractive reading spaces with a range of quality texts and children also have regular access to our amazing school library bus. Class teachers regularly read stories for enjoyment to the children.

Our Talk for Writing approach in English encourages our children to read for pleasure and understand to succeed in writing you need to read, read, and read!


Foundation Stage

Websites to help your children at home: 

What is the Year One Phonics Screening Check?

The phonics screening check was introduced in 2011-12; it is a short assessment to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.  It consists of a list of 40 words, half real words and half non-words, which all Year 1 children read to a teacher. It takes place at the end of Year 1 and is a statutory requirement. If children do not pass the phonics screening check in Year 1, they will retake it in Year 2.