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Phonics - Reading Scheme

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PhonicsPlay Website

PhonicsPlay reading Scheme

PhonicsPlay is the phonics scheme we use to teach reading and spelling in Early Years and Key Stage One. We have chosen PhonicsPlay because it provides a well sequenced scheme and a variety of engaging resources for the children to develop their early reading skills. Evidence suggests PhonicsPlay enables children to make good progress in their reading as well as develop a love of reading

children reading

Reading at Home

One of the greatest gifts that you can give to your child is a love of reading. Research has shown that one of the biggest indicators of success in a child’s life is whether or not they have books in the home. As a parent, try to focus on making reading fun and enjoyable rather than getting bogged down in trying to teach nitty gritty skills. There are many, many different things that you can do. Here are just a few:

Let your child see you reading - This can be a newspaper, magazine, anything you like. This is a powerful message to send to your child so go on, put your feet up for 10 minutes and have a read.

Reading to your child - Bedtime is great but any other time is fine too. Even when children are old enough to read by themselves they will still love to hear you read to them.

Read something with your child - It doesn’t need to be a book. The secret is to find something that your child is desperate to read - comics, magazines, football programmes, newspapers, internet pages, texts, e-mails, catalogues etc. If you are reading books together you could ask your child’s school what Book Band your child is reading at (this will be a colour) and choose a book from this band. However, never underestimate that power of a book that a child really, really wants to read, even if it is too hard for them. If they are very keen to read a particular tricky book then go for it and just help them out when they need it.

Talk about what they are reading - Talk before you start. Talk whilst you are reading. Talk after you have finished. You can still talk about what your child is reading even if they don’t want to actually read with you any more.

Praise your child - Studies show that children who are given specific support with their reading make much greater progress if they are given lots of praise than if they are given the support alone. It can be tough to think up lots of new ways to praise your child. Iit can be also be hard to stay positive if you are particularly worried about your child’s reading skills. Try to praise your child’s accuracy, understanding and attitude. If you are stuck for ideas have a look at these Ways to Praise.

One really effective technique is Paired Reading. To do this you will read a book out loud at the same time as your child. When the child is ready they will give you a subtle signal agreed in advance (tap the book, nudge you - it can be anything but mustn’t disturb the reading). On this signal, you stop reading and the child carries on independently. If they make a mistake or get stuck, give them a moment to correct themselves. If they do, let them carry on. If they don’t then you join back in with them until they next give you the signal. This is a system that has been used since the 1970’s and has been proven in many studies to make a huge difference to children’s reading skills.

Unofficial homework - sharing what they have learned today

Encourage your child to tell you what they have done at school today. The earlier you can get into this habit the better. Children in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 will have been learning songs and actions that they can show you and you can join in with. If your child absolutely won’t tell you, have a chat to the teacher and see if there are actions or songs that they can share with you. Otherwise, try learning some songs and nursery rhymes at home together. Have a look at the interactive Hickory Dickory Dock game together or try some of the books below. Sharing songs and rhymes is something that you can easily do when you are busy with something else e.g. cooking, cleaning, driving in the car.

If you find out from the school which letters your child has learned so far, you could print out picture cards from this site. Ideally print them onto card and cut them up. See if your child can match up the pictures to the words and then use them to play matching games such as snap, pairs etc.

If your child plays any of the games from this site at school, they may wish to play them at home too. If they are willing, share this with them and encourage them to tell you how they are working things out. See the teaching ideas sheets to get some clues about the types of questions you could ask.


If you wish to know more about how your child’s reading is progressing and how you could help, here are some questions that you could ask your child’s class teacher to find out a bit more information. Do bear in mind that class teachers are usually rushed off their feet and have a lot of children to take care of. They may not have all this information at their fingertips. You may need to give them a chance to get back to you. Also, no matter how concerned you are about your child, they will always do best if you and the class teacher are working as a team so try to keep discussions as positive as you can.

How do you teach phonics in this school?

Are you using Letters and Sounds or another phonics programme - if so, which one?

What phonic phase is my child working at?

Is this above, below or the same as the phase that the whole class are being taught at?

What book band are they reading at?

Is this above, below or the same as the average child in the class?

What would you suggest that I do to help my child at home?

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