Tarleton Community Primary School

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Reading and phonics

School Phonics Statement:

At Tarleton Community Primary School, we aim to develop the full potential of all our pupils as confident, literate readers and writers. If children are to develop as competent readers and writers, it is vitally important that they have a secure understanding of the letter sounds and spelling system of the English language. Phonic skills need to be developed in a systematic way, based on a staged approach.

The Principles of the Red Rose Letters and Sounds Programme:


At Tarleton Community, we follow the Red Rose Letters and Sounds Programme, providing a synthetic approach to the teaching of phonics, from Foundation Stage, through KS1 and into KS2 if appropriate. The programme focuses on securing word recognition skills, essential for children to decode (read) and encode (spell) words accurately and language comprehension.

The programme is in six phases: Phase One promotes speaking/listening skills, phonological awareness and oral blending/segmenting; Phases Two to Five focus on high quality phonic work to help children develop fluent word reading and spelling skills. The sessions are delivered to ensure participation and engagement resulting in high-quality phonic work on a daily basis to help practitioners and teachers ensure that by the end of Key Stage 1, children develop fluent word reading skills and good foundations in spelling.

Each session gives an opportunity for children to revisit their previous experience; be taught new skills; practise together and apply what they have learned.


Progression and Delivery:


The pace at which it is suggested the children progress through the programme should be taken as a guide rather than applied rigidly.

It is recommended that children in Phase Two to Five of Letters and Sounds should be taught a discrete 20 minute daily session of phonics and that teachers should follow the teaching sequence of ‘revisit, review, teach, practise and apply’. In addition, phonic skills can be applied in reading and writing opportunities as well as in other areas of the curriculum.

Using reliable assessments of children’s developing knowledge and skills, practitioners and teachers will need to judge the rate at which their children are able to progress through the programme and adapt the pace accordingly. Children are grouped according to the stage they are currently working at.


Tracking and Assessment:


Children’s progress is continually reviewed to allow for movement between ability groups, and children move phonics group when it is felt necessary to meet their needs. During daily sessions of phonics, there are opportunities for practitioners to regularly assess children’s understanding.  Outside the discrete daily phonics sessions, there are opportunities to observe the application of phonic skills, e.g. during guided/ shared reading, shared writing/guided writing. Children are formally assessed at the end of each term. 

Regular monitoring of the assessment outcomes allows teachers and practitioners to ensure that all children are making expected progress, including children in the most vulnerable groups. This information is also used to identify children who are not making expected progress and therefore early intervention can be put in place.



Year 1 Screening Check:


Every Year 1 child in the Summer term will take a Phonics Screening Check in which children will be expected to read 40 simple, de-codable words including nonsense words. This is a progress check to identify those children not at expected level in their reading. The results will be reported to parents and school governors. Children will be rechecked in Year 2 if they do not reach the expected level. Any child working below the level of the screen check may be dis-applied, with the permission of their parent/carer.  




Through careful monitoring and tracking, practitioners are able to identify children who are not making the expected progress and therefore need intervention to catch up. Depending on the needs of individuals, this may include additional individual or small group work. In Year 2 this intervention is delivered using 'Fast Track Phonics'. It is important that children who are struggling to learn to read not only need to catch up with their peers, but also to continue to make progress.


Phonics in KS2:


If children in Key Stage 2 experience difficulty in reading and/or writing because they have missed or misunderstood a crucial phase of systematic phonics teaching, then provision is made for these children, with daily phonics taught in a small group using the Bounce Back Phonics programme.


Special Educational Needs:


Our aim at Tarleton Community Primary School is that every child’s needs are catered for and every child is given the chance to succeed and  become competent readers. If children are not attaining as expected, due to other difficulties, then it is our duty to put extra intervention in place, to help close the gap and ensure progress is being made.  This is monitored by Janette Higson our SEND lead.  




Homework is used to support phonics taught in class, through tasks such as:

  • Letter flashcards and formation sheets to practice sounds learnt in school
  • Key words sent home to practice decodable and tricky words
  • Practising phonic skills in spelling words
  • Reading and activities linked to reading
  • Writing tasks.


Reading Schemes:


Oxford Reading Tree is our core reading scheme through out the school.  However, in order to create variety and meet the needs and interests of all our learners, we supplement this with Collins Big Cat and Phonics Bug Reading Schemes.  Within Early Years and KS1 children read fully decodable (phonics) books alongside 'Decode and Develop' books which are approximately 75% decodable.  We also support early readers with picture books.


Within KS1 and once fluent, we engage the children in guided reading sessions.  Children sit with other children who are of a similar ability following  John Murray's Reading Explorer strategy.


Within KS2, the children continue their guided reading sessions following John Murray's Reading Explorer strategy ensuring a smooth progression from skills learned in EYFS and KS1.


In addition to their reading scheme books, children at TCP take home books weekly from the school's libraries. They get a variety of opportunities to read for pleasure and for understanding where we work hard to ensure that they have the skills needed to fully appreciate the power of the written word! 

Click on the book below to link to The Book Trust's Bookfinder which will help you discover the very best children's books: magical mysteries, astonishing adventures and fantastic non-fiction. Simply choose an age range, pick as many themes as you want to, search through thousands of book reviews, and get reading. Enjoy!

Parent Volunteers:

At TCP we value the role of reading volunteers. Their help is invaluable in developing children’s reading skills and is greatly appreciated by all staff. We hope that they get as much enjoyment from this activity as the children with whom they work.

Please click below for our reading volunteer support booklet.