It is our main aim at Hill View to ensure all children can read fluently and to achieve this as quickly as possible. To do this effectively all staff are trained in the expert teaching of a structured synthetic phonics programme.

Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 use a synthetic phonics approach to learn to read. Some children in Key Stage 2 may also still be a part of the programme.

What is phonics?

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

  • recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  • identify the sounds 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.

Why phonics?

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7.
Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.

At Hill View we use The Read Write Inc. Phonics programme. It enables every child to become a confident and fluent reader at the first attempt. Every child who completes Read Write Inc. Phonics learns to read fluently and confidently.

The systematic and lively programme is organised by the Headteacher. All staff (teachers and teaching assistants) have been trained together, by a Read Write inc trainer, and are all competent to deliver reading sessions. The children read for 30 minutes per day, grouped according to their reading level. (Shorter more frequent sessions for our Reception Children). This means children do not struggle because the work is too difficult or get bored because the work is too easy.

A few children who need extra support to maintain progress will do extra work during the day to ensure that they do not fall behind their peers.

The children:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts
  • learn to read words using sound blending
  • read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
  • after meaningful discussion led by an adult, children show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.

Children are assessed every eight weeks so they work with children at the same level. This allows them to take a full part in all lessons.

If you would like to help teach your child, practise saying the sounds. You can find out how to say the sounds on the free parent support website Oxford Owl (