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English Policy

Teaching Reading at Holly Meadows

We teach phonics and early reading skills using the letters and sounds approach. You may have heard this referred to as Synthetic Phonics. Synthetic phonics is the breaking down of words into their separate sound components known as phonemes. Phonemes can consist of more than one letter for example ch, oo, er, igh etc.

In our teaching we discuss elements such as:

Digraphs: these are two letters making a single sound eg: ar, ee, ou etc.
Trigraphs are three letters making a single sound eg: igh.
A grapheme is a phoneme written down.

Segmenting is where you break each word into its separate phoneme, for example ‘chop’ has 3 phonemes, ch/o/p. Blending is simply putting those sounds back together to form a word.

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’.

There are 6 phases within Letters & Sounds and most children will complete Phase 6 by the end of Year 2, however this can continue into Year 3 if required.

 Jolly Phonics is the scheme that we use to help deliver the phonics across EYFS and KS1; this system uses a combination of something to look at (the grapheme), something to hear (the sound of the letters) and something to do (an action to help us to remember it). The children learn a story to go with the phoneme and even a little jingle to help fix the learning! Jolly Grammar is used to introduce grammar and to continue phonic teaching combined with spelling patterns from Y1 up to Y6.

For more information on Jolly Learning click this link:


Reading Schemes

We use a range of reading scheme books that are organised into “Book Boxes” so that the children experience a range of stories and text types. The children move through the Book Boxes at a steady pace, often re-reading the books to ensure they have secured the vocabulary until they become a “free reader”. They can choose books from the school’s well stocked library to read in school and at home; choosing is supported where possible by an adult who knows their confidence and challenge level as well as their interests.

The children also have opportunities for group or whole class guided reading sessions in class when they read a text that is often a little more challenging than one they would read alone as the adult supporter can scaffold their learning and help them to develop reading skills of a higher standard.

It is vitally important that the children read daily for a few minutes, preferably to an adult. Sometimes it is hard to think of questions you can ask whilst you are hearing your child so we have attached a document that might give you some ideas:

Click here for a Guide for Parents / Carers - Letters and Sounds