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Reading Books

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Following an update from the DfE around phonics teaching we have moved to Essential Letters and Sounds, this is a phonics programme based on Letters and Sounds (2007). This new phonics programme will support your children in making quick progress to become fluent and confident readers.





What is ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’?


Essential Letters and Sounds is a validated systematic synthetic phonics programme which we started following in September 2021. This replaces our previous phonics programme and does come with some changes. 


The main changes are:

  • We are no longer using the Jolly Phonic actions and images. These have been replaced with mnemonics (picture and rhyme) which will be given out alongside your child’s phase 5 reading book.
  • Tricky words are now being referred to as ‘harder to read and spell words’.
  • Phonics will be taught as a whole class. 
  • More regular assessments are carried out with children.
  • Interventions are carried out as often as possible on a 1 to 1 basis with an adult. 




How can I support my child at home?


  • Look at the sounds and mnemonics given alongside your child’s reading book.Give, give, give.
    • Give the GPC - share the new sound being taught
    • Give the word - put it into context
    • Give the meaning - ensure children can use the vocabulary
  • Hear your child read at least four times a week.

My child cannot read the book. What can I do?


Any books that are not yet decodable for the children will be a sharing book. These books are there for you to read with your child, helping us to instil a love of reading. These could be read together, with your child reading the words they are able to decode or could be read to your child.



We need to read the book 4 times a week. How should I do this?


It is a key part of learning to read that children re-read words and sentences that they can decode (sound out) until they are fluent (read with ease and precision). By reading texts several times children have the greatest opportunity to achieve this fluency.


The following steps are a suggestion of how you could make the four reads slightly different and more interesting to your child: 


First read

Focus on understanding and enjoying the book. 


Second read

Encourage fluent sounding out and blending. 


Third read

Word Sparks: Look in more detail at the focus words (underlined words)

Hero Academy: Look at Developing vocabulary section on the inside of the front cover 

Alien Adventure: Look at Challenge words section on the inside of the front cover


Fourth read

Read the book with increasing fluency.



My child is a confident reader and can read the book fluently. What else can I do?


  1. Investigate the book looking for words with the focus sound in. For example in the book The Red Tent packs rocks bucket stuck all contain the focus sound ck 
  2. Look at the information printed on the inside of the front and back cover of the book for comprehension questions and activity ideas.
  3. Create a picture or craft in relation to the book.
  4. Link it to real life if you can or act it out together.
  5. Visit the library.