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The Downs Primary School & Nursery

The Downs Primary School & Nursery

Phonics and reading

Letters and Sounds 

Letters and Sounds Phonics at The Downs

At The Downs Primary School and Nursery we use the Letters and Sounds programme to get children off to a flying start with their reading skills.

Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills to children.

Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who reads challenging material is a child who will learn. The more a child learns, the more he or she will want to find out.

There are six overlapping phases for Letters and Sounds to enable continuous progress and opportunities to further develop and practise skills. These phases build on skills from learning how to listen carefully, learn rhyming words and identify sounds in the environment in Nursery to reading fluently and spelling words using complex sounds in Year 2.

The children will learn to:

  • learn that sounds are represented by written letters
  • learn the alphabet
  • blend sounds together to make words
  • segment words into their separate sounds
  • read captions
  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups
  • Learn different ways of pronouncing some of the sounds
  • Work on spelling including prefixes, suffixes, doubling and dropping letters.

If you have any queries or would like to discuss our phonics programme further, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Reading Books

At The Downs Primary School and Nursery we use a range of different books to develop reading skills, develop vocabulary and promote a life-long love of reading.

We use Jelly and Bean books in Reception and Year 1 to develop children’s reading skills through decodable phonic books. These build confidence and allow the children to practise their phonic skills as well as recognising and reading common exception words. These are supplemented with other reading books of a similar level.

 As the children develop their reading skills, we use books that have been banded into the Book Band colours by staff. This allows progression in word reading, comprehension and stamina throughout the school. We have a mixture of real books and those from schemes such as Bug Club and Read Writ Inc to support reading development. Our reading books that are available to take home include a range of fiction, poetry and non-fiction.