Reading & Phonics

We know that the ability to read well is a vital skill for all children, paving the way for an enjoyable and successful school experience.

Children learn and practice many of the skills that they need for reading from a very early age. They do this through a wide range of activities and experiences, at home, in nursery settings and in school. At Tunstall Primary School, when children enter the Reception class they take part in high quality phonics sessions every day. These are fun sessions involving lots of speaking, listening and games, where the emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play.

We primarily use the Letters and Sounds phonics scheme throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. This is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. There are no big leaps in learning. Children have time to practice and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’, which are words with spellings that are unusual.

Moving through Key Stage 2, children will investigate, identify and learn spelling patterns and rules. Through games and active tasks children learn how words change when prefixes and suffixes are added and discover irregularities. Children will investigate meanings and apply skills across the curriculum.

We model how to form letters (graphemes) correctly, following a cursive style, so that children can eventually acquire a fluent and legible joined handwriting style. These skills develop over a long period of time. A child’s ability to form a letter correctly is a separate skill from phonics. Holding a pen or pencil needs considerable co-ordination and practice in making small movements with hands and fingers. In the early phonic phases children can use letter cards or magnetic letters to demonstrate their knowledge of phonics.


For further information on Early Reading and Phonics, please click here to see our Phonics Guide.