Phonics and Reading


At Commonswood Primary & Nursery School, we recognise the fundamental importance of reading for a child’s academic achievement, access to the curriculum, wellbeing and success later in life. We prioritise reading, the importance of language and vocabulary and the love of stories and books in our school. It is our mission to ensure that every child at Commonswood becomes a fluent and successful reader.

Teaching children to read requires two different approaches;

Language comprehension is taught through the high-quality texts, stories and poetry that we provide, combined with our language rich curriculum that promotes reading for pleasure.

What is phonics?

Making connections between the sounds of our spoken words (phonemes) and the letters that are used to write them down (graphemes).

Decoding and encoding is taught through our systematic synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme – Little Wandle Letters and Sounds (revised)

Little Wandle Letters and sounds follows a clear progression from Reception to Year 1 which enables the children to build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell fluently and accurately.

How we teach Phonics


Children focus on language development through quality stories and rhymes in addition to oral blending. This is supported by the ‘Foundations for Phonics guidance’ in Little Wandle progression. Phonics is taught daily.

Reception and Year 1

Children follow the progression within the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Programme. Phonics is taught daily with a review session each week.

Pronunciation of sounds

It is essential that children are taught and modelled the correct pronunciation of phonemes in order for them to blend words for reading and segment them for spelling. See below:

Information for Parents



Reading at home is one of the most important things you can do to support your child. At Commonswood, we run workshops to assist parents in supporting their child at home. Reading has always been an important skill. In our modern world it is more important than ever. Reading with your child at home will help your child in all learning areas of school.

Children see you reading and writing in everyday life – reading for pleasure, sharing a story with your child, using a recipe, making a shopping list, writing a birthday card or reading street signs. This teaches them that reading and writing are useful skills in today’s world.

At Commonswood School, we teach reading in a variety of engaging ways. In every year group, the children are given multiple opportunities throughout the week to listen to and enjoy reading fiction and non-fiction texts. We work very hard to ensure each and every child leaves primary school with a great love of reading and strong reading skills.

In the early years, children are exposed to books and print all throughout the classroom and have daily opportunities to listen to stories, explore books and nursery rhymes during group reading and to learn to read as they develop their phonics skills and knowledge.

In Key Stage 1, as their phonics skills become more secure, children are asked to read daily at home to a parent or carer as part of their home learning. All children take part in a daily carousel of reading activities designed to secure their phonics knowledge and comprehension skills and are given multiple opportunities to read with the class teacher or teaching assistant.

In Key Stage 2, reading lessons focus more on comprehension skills in preparation for SATS at the end of Year 6. The children are still asked to read daily at home as part of their home learning and continue to have frequent opportunities to work with their teachers and teaching assistants at school to further develop their reading skills.

We know that reading at home is a crucial part of children’s ability and engagement in reading. Each week we share the reading focus for home learning to guide parents in supporting their children at home


 Book Banding 

Like most primary schools, at Commonswood School, we use book banding to ensure that children learn to read at their own pace and that they remain engaged and challenged throughout the process of learning to read.

Book banding is used to track a child’s progression in reading independently. The class teacher assesses which book band your child needs to access. Children are not expected to read all books in the band however, the banding helps them to select a book withing the right level of challenge. Children are sent home with books that they can comfortably read for pleasure. At school they are taught using higher levels of reading material to support reading progression. Once your child is deemed to be fluent and have sufficient comprehension skills using a particular book band, the teacher will assess whether they are ready to be moved up to the next book band.

A reminder: while your child may seem to find a certain book band easy in terms of the word reading (decoding) skills it demands, their comprehension skills may still need developing at that level and therefore the class teacher may wait to move them up


 How you can help 

The single most important thing you can do to help your child progress in their word reading and comprehension skills, and develop a life-long love of reading, is to read fiction and non-fiction books to them as often as possible. A bedtime story routine isn’t just a nightly calming technique; it also gives them an excellent opportunity to look at possibly new words and sentences with your support, develop their questioning and comprehension skills and spark their imaginations. Any spare moments you find to read to your children is time well spent investing in their academic achievement.


Recommended Texts

Where’s Spot?Eric Hill
Dear ZooRod Campbell
You ChoosePippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt
We’re Going on a Bear HuntMichael Rosen
The Very Hungry CaterpillarEric Carle
Each Peach Pear PlumAllan and Janet Ahlberg
The Train RideJune Crebbin
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little ToesMem Fox
Peace at LastJill Murphy
What the Ladybird HeardJulia Donaldson and Lydia Monks
Owl BabiesMartin Waddell
The GruffaloJulia Donaldson
Handa’s SurpriseEileen Browne
Farmer DuckMartin Waddell
Goodnight MoonMargaret Wise Brown
DoggerShirley Hughes
The SnowmanRaymond Briggs
Where the Wild Things AreMaurice Sendak
I Want My Hat BackJon Klassen
The Cat in the HatDr Seuss
 Year 1 
The Tiger Who Came to TeaJudith Kerr
Lost & FoundOliver Jeffers
BeeguAlexis Deacon
ElmerDavid McKee
Alligator PieDennis Lee
CorduroyDon Freeman
Oi FrogKes Gray and Jim Field
The Lion InsideRachel Bright and Jim Field
StellalunaJanell Cannon
The Jolly Postman or Other People’s LettersAllan and Janet Ahlberg
 Year 2 
Traction Man is HereMini Grey
Meerkat MailEmily Gravett
Amazing GraceMary Hoffman
The Owl Who Was Afraid of the DarkJill Tomlinson
Flat StanleyJeff Brown
Not Now BernardDavid McKee
GorillaAnthony Brown
Don’t Look in This BookSamuel Langley-Swain
The Legend of Spud MurphyEoin Colfer
The Day the Crayons QuitDrew Daywalt
 Year 3 
The Iron ManTed Hughes
Journey to the River SeaEva Ibbotson
The Sheep-PigDick King-Smith
Diary of a Wimpy KidJeff Kinney
The BFGRoald Dahl
Pippi LongstockingAstrid Lindgren
Winnie the PoohA.A. Milne
Charlotte’s WebE.B. White
The Worst WitchJill Murphy
 Year 4 
Bill’s New FrockAnne Fine
The Firework-Maker’s DaughterPhillip Pullman
The Scarecrow and His ServantPhillip Pullman
Why the Whales CameMichael Morpurgo
The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeC.S. Lewis
Voices in the ParkAnthony Browne
Varjak PawS.F. Said
The Children of Green KnoweLucy M. Boston
How to Train Your DragonCressida Cowell
DesirableFrank Cottrell Boyce
 Year 5 
Tom’s Midnight GardenPhillipa Pearce
The Wolves of Willoughby ChaseJoan Aiken
HeidiJohanna Spyri
Artemis FowlEoin Colfer
The BreadwinnerDeborah Ellis
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s StoneJ.K. Rowling
The BorrowersMary Norton
HolesLouis Sachar
Emil and the DetectivesErich Kastner
The Ghost of Thomas KempePenelope Lively
 Year 6 
ClockworkPhillip Pullman
The HobbitJ.R.R. Tolkien
SkelligDavid Almond
The ArrivalShaun Tan
A Monster CallsPatrick Ness
Carrie’s WarNina Bawden
MatildaRoald Dahl
Private PeacefulMichael Morpurgo
WonderR.J. Palacio
OnceMorris Gleitzman