Butlers Court School

'Believe and Achieve Together'


Phonics and Reading Parents Information

Please see above the slides from our 'Phonics and Reading Parents Information Session' held in November 2023. 



Phonics is a method of teaching children how to read and write by focusing on the sounds and letters that form words. Written letters of the alphabet represent the sounds we use in spoken language. Through phonics, children learn to:

  • Recognise sounds and their associated letters
  • Identify the sounds that combinations of letters make
  • Blend sounds together to form a word

They develop a knowledge of the English alphabetic code and master the skills required to decode words.




Phonics is the precursor to reading, writing and spelling. It provides a key foundation for children to develop crucial literacy skills that will carry them through life. Research shows that high quality phonics teaching effectively supports younger children to master the basics of reading, with an average impact of an additional five months’ progress.  Children with accelerated reading skills are able to independently access other areas of the curriculum. The more progress they make with phonics, the more progress they will make across the board. 




At Butlers Court School we strongly believe that all of our children can become fluent readers and writers and we recognise the importance of prioritising reading. Early reading skills are taught through Read Write Inc Phonics, the UK’s leading synthetic phonics programme with the most bespoke phonics professional development. 


  • This programme teaches the sounds used in spoken language and the letters that represent them. It also teaches children how to form the letters when writing.
  • The use of rhymes supports the children in remembering the sounds and how to form the letters. 
  • Our children are taught to blend sounds together to read words. The scheme also incorporates the teaching of ‘tricky words’ or ‘sight words’.

Daily phonics teaching begins in the first term of Reception and we follow the suggested Read Write Inc progression route, this ensures our children  build on their growing phonetic knowledge, in order to read and spell as they progress throughout the school. Through RWI sounds are taught in ‘sets’ with each set building on the previous.

As a result, our children rapidly progress; learning new phonemes, learning how to blend for their reading and encode for their writing. We model the application of phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.






Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Yr1

RWI teaching begins formally in Reception, with the aim that most children complete the programme by the Autumn term of Year 2.  Pupils  in Reception and Yr1 are organised into groups that represent the phonic set they are currently mastering, with all groups being taught Phonics at the same time daily. 

We follow the RWI Expectations of Progress to ensure children are developing their learning at the appropriate pace and individual or small group intervention sessions are available if needed.


Phonics teaching in Year 2

Daily 'keep-up' sessions

Any child who needs additional practice receives 'keep-up' support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and refrains, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.


Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

In Year 1 children have a statutory check, known as the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. The check assesses phonics knowledge learnt in Reception and in Year 1. It was developed to help identify the children who need extra help with decoding and blending before they begin Year 2.


KS2- continuing the journey

All learners will be at different stages of reading ability and phonetic understanding when entering KS2. Phonics underpins much of what is taught, from reading to spelling and writing.


Pupils who are working below expected standards in Reading are identified and assessed. The RWI programme is delivered to pupils in Years 3 and 4 who need to catch up rapidly. Struggling readers in Years 5 and 6 follow the RWI Fresh Start intervention. This teaches pupils at their challenge point, so they learn to read accurately and fluently. They will also develop good comprehension, spelling and punctuation skills through targeted activities.


For longer term reading and increasing vocabulary, the ability to phonically decode new and unknown words is essential. If a printed word is new to the reader, it is sometimes possible to deduce its meaning according to its context. Reading and Spelling lessons model and encourage blending, highlight phonics skills during reading and continue the use of the language of phonics.


Decodable Reading Books

Decodable reading books from the RWI scheme are taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. All reading books are matched to each child's phonic ability. These books are used for reading in school and at home. Every child who is currently on the phonics program will be assessed regularly to ensure they are reading the correct books.


Reading for Pleasure

We want all of our children to develop a lifelong love of reading and as such we offer a broad range of reading experiences throughout Butlers Court School.

In addition to decodable reading books, children in Reception and KS1 bring home a  ‘Colour Book Banded Book’ to read for pleasure. Each class has a weekly library session and pupil librarians are available during lunchtimes for children who wish to make use of this resource. 

Each year group has a selection of core texts which are used for teaching plus we use other quality texts to read through different ways. We share these books with whole class teaching (class readers), storytime, recommended reads, mystery readers and reading buddies. 

Class libraries are inviting and well stocked, with a wide range of diverse reading materials which are changed regularly to ensure that the children have continual access to high quality reading material that is broad, ambitious and enriching. 

In addition we recognise the importance of working with our school community and regularly invite parents into school to share a book with their child.

At Butlers Court School all children are given time to read for pleasure during the school day, and it is expected that all pupils read at home on a daily basis.  




Our children make progress quickly from their starting points in reading and writing.  They leave the Early Years Foundation Stage equipped with the fundamental skills of learning to read and write and build on this knowledge in Year 1 and Year 2.  By the end of Year 1, children should have a secure grasp of phonics sounds to enable them to achieve highly in their Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. 


As children become more secure in their phonic knowledge, reading evolves from learning to read, to reading to learn.




Parent guide to Read Write Inc

Reading For Pleasure


Paired Reading - Supporting your child to develop their reading at home