Phonics at Ormiston Herman Academy 


 The foundations of early reading are laid in Nursery where the focus is initially on developing careful and accurate listening and having fun with sounds, words and sentences.  A great importance is put on language and vocabulary development. The children learn good reading behaviour by imitating our teachers’ excellent models and high-quality texts are at the heart of the children’s learning. Our young children soon learn to share our love for reading.  

This is the start of the phonics programme which we use to systematically teach reading and phonics in our early year’s classes and through KS1. 

Reception and KS1 

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to: 

  • recognise the sounds (phonemes) that each individual letter makes; 
  • identify the sounds (phonemes) that different combinations of letters make – such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’; and 
  • blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word. Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read 

All the children are regularly assessed and taught according to their current level of phonic knowledge and skill. 

Sessions take place daily and are taught by highly trained staff.  We use the Little Wandle scheme. 

Further details of the approach can be found here 

Information to support you as a parent is here 

Although our principle in teaching phonics is to support children to “keep up” with teaching, we recognise that for a small number of children intervention is required. All staff will use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds for any children in Key Stage 2 who have gaps in their phonic knowledge. 

Home reading 

Reception and Year 1 children will take fully decodable reading books home to further practise the skills learnt at school. These books are matched to each child’s phonics ability and are chosen by their teachers to ensure that children are reading books of an appropriate level. 

In addition each child selects a book of their choice to share at home. This book will probably not be fully decodable for your child so the expectation is not for the child to read this book themselves. We believe strongly that children will develop a love of reading through experiencing success when reading at home and having quality story time with a wide range of books. The best way to help your child achieve well in reading, and indeed across the curriculum, is to listen to them read and to share and discuss a variety of reading materials as often as you can. 

Book Bands 

In line with our phonics scheme, Little Wandle, our books are organised into the following colour bands and children progress through them as they develop their phonic knowledge. 

Purple: Foundations for phonics  

Pink: Phase 2 sets 1- 5  

Blue: Phase 3 sets 1- 2  

Green: Phase 4 sets 1- 2  

Gold: Phase 5 sets 1- 5  

After this the children go on to Accelerated Reader books. Accelerated Reader is a computer-based program that we use to monitor reading practice and progress. It helps teachers guide pupils to books that are at their individual reading levels. Once the pupil completes a book, they take a short quiz afterwards to check their understanding. Pupils take a star reader test which indicates which colour books the children should read. 

For children in Key Stage Two who are still learning some phonic sounds, we use a range of high interest phonics-led books to support reading. Books are carefully matched to gaps in children’s phonic knowledge.