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Early Reading & Phonics

Phonics at Barwick


Learning to Read


At Barwick in Elmet Church of England Primary School we aim to develop the full potential of all our pupils as confident, literate readers and writers. Learning to read is the foundation stone on which so much of our other learning rests, so it is of paramount importance to get it right!


English is not an easy language to learn. In English, there are 44 different sounds to learn, only 26 letters in the alphabet, but over 150 ways to spell the sounds. For example, the sound ‘ay’ as in play, could also be written as ‘ai’ in ‘rain’, a_e in ‘make’ or ‘eigh’ in eight. Then, the same grapheme (letter or letters) can make a different sound at different times. For example, consider ‘ear’ in ‘hear’ against ‘bear’ for example.


Our Approach


Phonics skills need to be developed in a systematic, consistent and rigorous way, based on a staged approach. Children need to learn to read sounds, and blend them into words, and to read story books that are carefully matched to the sounds they know. We believe every child can learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities.


In September 2021, we introduced Read Write Inc. as our new Phonics programme. We believe this is the best approach for our children to develop confident, fluent children who love reading. For more information about Read Write Inc., please view Parent video: What is Read Write Inc Phonics below.


How You Can Help


Parental support with reading at home is absolutely vital to your child’s success.


Each week, we send home reading materials or books matched to the sounds they have already learned in class, so your child can confidently read what they bring home. Please be positive and patient. Learning to read can be challenging, but giving time, encouragement and no little praise can make an incredible difference. Children also love to receive stamps in their Pupil Planners, and to see how many times they’ve read on the class Reading Chart!


For further information, please read the parent information letter below, or get in touch with your child’s teacher.




Home Reading in Year 1 and Year 2

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Parent video: How to say the sounds

Parent video: What is Read Write Inc Phonics

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