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Henley Primary School

Class 1 Reading & Phonics

Reading and Phonics

Reading is central to everything we do in Class 1 and we aim to embed it into every subject that we cover in school.  Reading is a fundamental skill and we aim for all children to learn to read confidently and fluently by the end of Year 1.  During the Autumn Term 2020 I hope to be able to meet with you all to talk you through our reading and phonics programme and give you ways to support your child at home. 

I will attach a range of resources that you might find useful when supporting your children as they learn to read in Class 1.

This information booklet – below – will help you to begin to understand how we teach reading and phonics at Henley.  This is a really good starting point if you are beginning to understand our approach to teaching reading.

Reading information booklet for parents

This is a progression document for phonics at our school.  It shows the ‘ideal’ progression that a child might make with phonics during their time in Reception and Year 1.  We understand that all children progress at different speeds and some children will be working ahead of this and others will be learning to read at a slower pace.  We will give additional support to any children working below this level so that we can support all children to reach the expected level at the end of Year 1.

Phonics progression chart

Many parents struggle to know how to pronounce many of the sounds we teach at school.  This video shows the pronunciation that we use for the sounds we teach in phonics.  We aim to make the pure sound eg. sssssss, rather than suh.

Pronunciation guide for parents

At the very beginning of Reception children learn to say the sound associated with a particular letter, eg. children learn to say sssss when they see the letter s.  When we teach these first sounds we also teach children actions to help children to remember the sound.  For example a child will learn to move their hand like a snake when saying the s sound.  The link below has the full set of actions.  Many parents find it useful to use these actions when practising sounds on their child’s flashcards.  

Jolly Phonics actions

Each child takes home a set of coloured flashcards.  These are outlined in the ‘Reading Information Booklet for Parents’ attached above.  I have attached a full set of flashcards so you can see which set of flashcards your child is going to move onto next.

Full set of coloured flashcards

Useful websites to support your child at home with phonics

Phonics games and activities to play at home with your children

Reading at Home

We ask all parents to read with their child at least five times per week.  When you read with your child please remember to sign their reading diary so we know that they have read their books.  We ask children to read their book twice, ideally on two separate days before they change their book for a new one.  This allows children to read with more fluency and confidence and helps them to develop their understanding of the text.  When a child reads a book for the first time they will be thinking more about sounding the words out and understanding what the words say.  When a child reads a book for the second time we focus much more on their understanding of the text. I have attached a file with some questions you could ask your child when they are reading their book and things to discuss to support your child’s understanding of the text.

Reading comprehension question ideas

Please try to read a wide range of books with your children.  Obviously we ask for your child to read their school reading book at home, but we also ask for you to read other books with your children.  I have attached a list of ideas of other books, poems and rhymes you could read with your children.


We understand that children need to experience a wide range of language through picture books, poems, rhymes, songs and storytelling.  In school we look for every opportunity we can to teach children new language, immerse ourselves in an imaginary world through story telling or through singing songs or reciting poems together. 

Every day we learn a new word through our ‘Word of the Day’ session. The children learn to use a new word in a sentence, discover a new meaning for a word or discuss synonyms of the word of the day.  We specifically choose words which are linked to something that the children are learning in school and focus on ambitious language that children might not have the confidence to use in their writing.