Diary Dates

Phonics & Early Reading

At West Hill Primary School learning to read is a top priority. We are dedicated to ensuring pupils become fluent, confident, independent, readers.
Our aim is to enable all pupils to reach their full reading potential. We recognise that children join West Hill School at very different reading stages and our approach is designed to foster a love of reading through sharing stories and poems and building in the skills of phonics, decoding, fluency and comprehension.

At West Hill Primary School we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme from Nursery to Year 2. This is a phonics programme, which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in fluency, vocabulary, spelling and early comprehension. Our sequence of reading books shows a cumulative progression in phonics knowledge which are closely matched to our phonics programme.
Children at West Hill School learn to:
o to discriminate sounds in spoken words
o to blend sounds orally
o the letter sounds (phoneme) that are represented by written letters (grapheme) and practicing how to pronounce each sound accurately (pure)
o 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups (digraphs, trigraphs and split-digraphs) using simple picture prompt cards (with matching phrases) or speed sound charts (Simple and Complex)
o how to blend sounds and read words using ‘Fred talk’
o to read words speedily and at pace
o that some words have a ‘tricky sound’ (red words)
o Read fun and lively stories and non-fiction texts featuring words they have learnt to sound out
o Show that they comprehend the stories they have read by answering questions and discussing the text

Our phonics journey starts in Nursery, when children first start our school. Children experience a language rich environment and are engaged in print which encourages interest in and discussion around word reading.


Children in Reception and Year 1 receive five 45-minute phonics sessions a week, in groups. During whole-class phonics sessions new speed sounds are introduced, and green words (real and alien) are read using ‘Fred Talk’. Children regularly practice ‘speed sound’ flashcards, consolidating previously taught sounds and addressing gaps in knowledge. During group phonics, children are targeted to their ability and reading books or Word Time activities are planned to match phonic knowledge and fluency levels.

Children in Year 2 continue to receive phonic support as necessary and at their level through ‘Word Time!’ catch-up reading.

Staff also read aloud stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction texts that develop pupils’ vocabulary, language comprehension and love of reading. We have parent book share mornings in our nursery and Reception class and pupils also take home a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ book.