Bishop Chavasse Church of England Primary School

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Bishop Chavasse

Church of England Primary School

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The teaching of Early Reading at Bishop Chavasse- Letters and Sounds,

At Bishop Chavasse we believe that the active encouragement of reading for pleasure should be the core part of every child’s educational entitlement, whatever their background or attainment, as extensive reading and exposure to a wide range of texts makes a huge contribution to pupils’ educational achievement.  Our children have an opportunity to learn to read a variety of books.  

Letters and Sounds - The teaching of Early Reading at Bishop Chavasse

At Bishop Chavasse, we strive to teach children to read effectively and quickly using the Letters and Sounds Phonics programme which includes teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words as well as spelling and accurate letter formation.


We passionately believe that teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary school which is why we begin the teaching of phonics from the moment children start with us in Year R.


These fundamental skills not only hold the keys to the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances. Using the Letters and Sounds phonics program we teach children to:

  • segment, blend and decode
  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences


In practice, children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and are taught how to blend these sounds to decode (read) words. We start by teaching children to read and blend Phase 2 sounds (phonemes). In Phase 2, children begin to learn the sounds that letters make (phonemes). In Phase 2, children focus on learning the 19 most common single letter sounds. Once they have conquered this skill, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the sounds they know. This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency.


Once secure, children learn Phase 3 sounds (phonemes) and then read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes. By the time that the children begin Phase 3 they will already be able to blend and segment words containing the 19 letters taught in Phase 2.  Phase 3 introduces children to the remaining, more difficult and/or less commonly used phonemes.  There are around 25 of these, depending on which scheme is followed, mainly made up of two letters such as /ch/, /ar/, /ow/ and /ee/. During Phase 3, tricky words (words which can't yet be decoded) are introduced. Throughout this process there is a focus on comprehension, reading with expression and reading for enjoyment.


Children are taught in small groups which reflect their phonic knowledge and reading fluency. We regularly review the progress children are making in order that they are taught in the Phonic Phase group which best suits their phonic knowledge. We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ability to read ‘tricky words’; so they experience early reading success and gain confidence that they are readers.


How you can help at home!

  • Read to them and always discuss the story you are reading to try to build your child’s comprehension skills, inference and understanding.
  • Practice the sounds they know at home.
  • Listen to your child read, both their Oxford Reading Tree and phonic storybook as well as other storybooks, every day. Make sure that your child brings their reading books into school every day.
  • Talk to them! The most important thing you can do is to talk to your child and listen to them when they are talking to you. Try to extend their vocabulary range and their skill at talking in increasingly more complex sentences. For example, try to teach them alternative words for ideas, or nouns they already know.
  • Look out for our Phonic Workshops, where you can find out about how we teach phonics at Bishop Chavasse in order that you are best placed to support your child’s reading journey
  • Make sure that they attend school every day, and that they are on time, as this will ensure that they will access the daily phonic session and support your child to make the most progress.
  • Visit the Oxford Owl Reading at home pages: Oxford Owl Reading at home for super additional information.