Albany Infant and Nursery School

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Teaching of Phonics and Reading

Phonics is breaking down the letters that make up words into the sounds that they make, therefore helping many children learn to read and spell.  Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read.  Phonics runs alongside other teaching methods to help children develop vital reading skills and give them a real love of reading, hopefully for life.


At Albany Infant and Nursery School, pre-reading skills are taught using synthetic phonics and the school follows an adapted version of then programme ‘Letters and Sounds’.  This provides us with a multi-sensory approach that accommodates all learning styles. The children are taught within the phase (there are 6 phases across the programme which span Nursery through to Year 2) that is appropriate to their level of development. They are assessed on a regular basis and groups are sorted accordingly.  The phonemes (sounds) are systematically taught before the children are shown how to blend them for reading and segmenting them for writing. There are 44 phonemes in English which the children must learn. When a sound is written, it is known as a grapheme. Alongside this, the children are taught the ’high frequency words’ and ‘tricky words’ (those words which do not entirely follow the phonic rules). At the end of Year 1, children complete a Phonics Screening Check required by the Government to assess where they are. Staff receive regular training in the teaching of phonics which enables them to deliver interesting, interactive sessions that engage and motivate the children.


To complement our phonics scheme, children are provided with reading books from the Oxford Reading Tree scheme. These books are grouped into coloured bands which are matched to a child's knowledge of phonics. Within each coloured band, children will first read books which are decodable before moving on to books which will develop their confidence and fluency further. Books cover both fiction and non-fiction. Once children reach the final stages of our phonics scheme, they will be able to choose from a wider range of books including short chapter books and well known classics such as stories by Roald Dahl and Jill Murphy. Within our daily reading sessions, children also have the opportunity to read stories by well known authors, non-fiction texts related to their topics and key texts (including poetry and stories which promote diversity and equality) for each year group.


Please visit the pages below for additional information about how we teach phonics. You can also find out more about the teaching of reading by clicking here