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Four Elms Primary School

Four Elms Primary School

Reading and Phonics



Children experience phonics teaching on a daily basis in small groups in Classes One and Two. This allows adults to really personalise learning for the children and promote accelerated learning.

We have recently moved to the Read Write Inc phonics scheme. Please click here to find out more about the programme. 

In phonics lessons children are taught four main things:

GPCs : This stands for grapheme phoneme correspondences. This simply means that they are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are m, d ,i , s, a, t, p.

Blending :Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.

Segmenting :Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.

Using and applying: Children are taught to put these phonics skills into action so that they are not learnt in isolation. This is done in a variety of ways. Often, children are dictated a short sentence that contains the key phonemes and tricky words that have been taught. Sometimes, children play word soup and are encouraged to create their own sentences. We discuss the type of sentence that has been written and always use the correct punctuation - especially for question sentences! 

Common exception words: 

Sometimes called red words or tricky words, common exception words are rebels. They don’t quite follow the spelling or phonics rules that children are taught in years 1 and 2. Almost as soon as your child starts to read they will come across them and they are expected to be able to spell them correctly in their writing. We have attached the common exception words below.

 In term one we will invite parents into school to learn more about why phonics teaching is so important, how we teach phonics and learn about the year 1 phonics test. Please see the resources below which may help you when supporting your child including the support pack provided for parents last year. Please note these resources refer to the programme of "Letters and Sounds" which was used last year but you may find this useful. A new parent pack will be created shortly. At the last phonics parent meeting, you asked us if we could help by providing some information to show how phonemes should be pronounced. Please take a look at the video links below.

Sounds for Parents

How to say the sounds for parents


In Key stage 1, children are taught to decode and encode in their reading and writing. The children are taught to use specific reading strategies that will enable them to be successful:

  1. Use phonics to 'sound out' or 'segment' words into easier chunks and putting the word back together again.
  2. Reading on to the end of the sentence to see if it helps.
  3. Using pictures as clues.
  4. Using a mixture of these strategies to make sense of the sentence. Often this means re reading sentences or a whole page.



Children are taught to read through a range of approaches including daily phonics teaching for Key Stage One (and those who may need support in Key Stage Two), whole-class guided reading sessions and access to high quality texts across the curriculum. 

In Key Stage One children experience a range of books from the Big Cat Collins Reading Scheme to broaden their vocabulary and knowledge of different types of texts.

In Key Stage Two children are also asked to complete the Big Cat Collins Reading Scheme but also we encourage children to take ownership of choosing their own reading book to share and read with their parents at home. Children are then expected to write a short comment about what they have read in their reading diaries.

We have created a book list with information about each band which can be downloaded below. If you would like any further information about this scheme, please click here.


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