Gloucester Road Primary School

Gloucester Road
Nursery & Primary School

KS1 Phonics and Reading Scheme Details 

At Gloucester Road Primary School we have been using the Sounds-Write approach to teaching phonics since February 2015.  Sounds-Write is a quality first phonics programme acknowledged by the DfE as meeting all its criteria for an effective phonics teaching programme. It is an exciting and highly successful approach to the teaching of reading, spelling and writing. Since using this approach we have observed increased concentration and an acceleration of learning.

Sounds-Write is highly effective in teaching pupils to read, spell and write because it starts from what all children know from a very early age – the sounds of the English language. From there, children are taught in small steps how each of the 44 or so sounds in the English language can be spelt.

Children begin by learning simple alphabet code and then progress through to more complex coding.

The programme teaches the following concepts:

  • that letters are spellings of sounds: visual language is a representation of spoken language
  • that a spelling can contain one, two, three, or four letters - examples are: s a t,       f i sh, n igh t and w eigh t
  • that there is more than one way of spelling most sounds: the sound 'ae', spelt as in 'name', can be represented as in 'table', in 'rain', in 'eight', in 'play', and so on
  • that many spellings can represent more than one sound: can be the sound 'e' in 'head', 'a-e' in 'break', or 'ee' in 'seat'

 Reading and spelling also requires expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabet code and pupils need to be able to:

  • segment, or separate sounds in words
  • blend, or push sounds together to form words
  • manipulate sounds: take sounds out and put sounds into words

Phonic Screening Check

In Year 1 pupils sit a Phonic Screening Check in June.  The checks consist of 40 words and non-words that your child will be asked to read one-on-one with a teacher.  Non-words (or nonsense words, or pseudo words) are a collection of letters that will follow phonics rules your child has been taught, but don’t mean anything – your child will need to read these with the correct sounds to show that they understand the phonics rules behind them.

The 40 words and non-words are divided into two sections – one with simple word structures of three or four letters, and one with more complex word structures of five or six letters. The teacher administering the check with your child will give them a few practice words to read first – including some non-words – so they understand more about what they have to do. Each of the non-words is presented with a picture of a monster / alien, as if the word were their name (and so your child doesn't think the word is a mistake because it doesn't make sense!).  

Our Parent Phonic Screening Check information is available to read here


In EYFS and Y1 children's reading books are closely aligned to their phonological knowledge. We use Sounds Write Decodable Readers, Dandelion Launchers and Dandelion Readers. Each of these sets of books follow the progression of sounds taught in Sounds Write. Most children in Year 2 have secure understanding of a wide number of Sound Spelling Correspondences and are able to read books that contain a higher number of Common Exception words. At this point children move onto banded reading books. Children's reading levels are assessed at the end of each big term as a minimum, these assessments are used to ensure the book band they are reading is of the correct level of challenge for them. When children can read complex books with fluency, accuracy and a high level of comprehension they become a 'free reader' and can choose any text from their class library or our school library to read. 

All children choose a book of their own choice from the library each week. 

High quality literature is used for the teaching of reading in both focus groups, Whole Class Teaching of Reading and our Just Reading Project. 


We encourage children to read regularly at home. A growing number of studies show that promoting reading can have a major impact on children and adults and their future. Upon reviewing the research literature, Clark and Rumbold (2006) identify several main areas of the benefits to reading for pleasure: • Reading attainment and writing ability; • Text comprehension and grammar; • Breadth of vocabulary; • Positive reading attitudes; • Greater self-confidence as a reader; • Pleasure in reading in later life; • General knowledge; • A better understanding of other cultures; • Community participation; and • A greater insight into human nature and decision-making