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Reading at Belmont

Phonics and Reading Schemes Used In EYFS and Key Stage 1


What is phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:

  • Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  • Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as 'ch' or 'ng'; and
  • Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.

Why phonics?

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7.

Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment. Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia.

How do we teach phonics?

At Belmont, we follow a fully resourced Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme called 'Rocket Phonics', which enables children to learn how to read and write. Teachers use a combination of digital and printed resources, along with a fully matched series of decodable reading books. There is also an online platform, meaning that books and resources can be assigned digitally, to be used at home.

The Rocket Phonics lessons follow a Review, Teach, Practice and Apply format. Lessons last 30 mins and are taught daily. By the end of Reception, children who are working at Age Related Expectations will have been taught all the sounds and Common Exception Words in Set 1, and they will have completed Practice Books 1, 2 and 3, and they should be reading a yellow or yellow plus coloured book.

By the end of Year 1, children who are working at Age Related Expectations will have been taught all the sounds and Common Exception Words in Set 2, and they will have completed Practice Books 4, 5 and 6, and they should be reading an Orange coloured book. 

In Year 2, children working at Age Related Expectations should now know all of alphabetic code, so no new sounds are introduced, but decoding strategies are still revised and referred to frequently, as a means to decode new and unknown words. 

This short video for parents, carers and families explains what the English alphabetic code is and how we teach it through the Rocket Phonics SSP programme. 

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Rocket Phonics Parent Guide 

Please click on the link below to view the Rocket Phonics Parent Guide. This  useful document contains lots of advice about how to support your child with their reading at home.


Reading at Belmont School

Shared Reading

In KS1 and KS2, children will have opportunities to read frequently during whole class English lessons. This may involve reading together as a class from the board or reading/sharing a range of texts.

In Reception, towards the end of the school year, children participate in shared/group reading activities to prepare them for guided reading in KS1.

Whole class Reading – Year 1 to Year6

The intention of this is to expand pupils' vocabulary and deepen their understanding of the texts they are reading.  We do this through re-reading sections looking closely at the elements which require further understanding, keeping in mind that children must learn to retrieve information (R), interpret meaning (I) and comment on the author's choice of vocabulary or style (C).  Questions check pupils' understanding of previous extracts as well as the current text in order to enhance their memory.


Individual Reading

In EYFS and KS1 children read independently (often with an adult) on a frequent basis. In key stage 2, children who need more individual support will receive help on a one to one or small group basis.

In Key Stage One and EYFS, children access banded reading books, which includes a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.

Parental Involvement

At the start of the school year, your child’s class teacher and the Phase Leader will have informed you about classroom routines for each class with regards to reading books/reading home learning activities.

We emphasise the need for parents to take an active role in their child’s education, supporting the developing reader and encouraging open lines of communication through reading logs that must be completed online using the Microsoft My Teams portal.