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Western House Academy

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Phonics and reading

The children have a phonics lesson everyday within their class.  We use Essential Letters and Sounds to deliver synthetic phonics through a systematic approach.  

The children use robot arms to segment words that are phonetically pure (c-a-t,  d-o-g, m-i-ss),in order to blend them for reading.  We also learn harder to read and spell words (I, is, put, no).


The children learn the correct technical terms for the sounds they are learning:

phoneme - the smallest unit of sound.  There are 44 phonemes in English

grapheme - the written letter or letters that represent that sound

digraph - 2 letters but one sound (ck, ss, th)

and use these within lessons.


Children bring home a decodeable book each week and we ask that you read this with your child.  Children are encouraged to read at home on a daily basis. Children keep the same book to allow them to apply their skills to decode the text and then to read the same book to allow them the opportunity to practise reading for fluency. A reading record book is used as a communication tool between parents and teachers and we would encourage you to record in this when you read with with your child, as well as any particular obstacles  or successes. Children are rewarded for their commitment to regular reading.


Reading can take many forms:

  • looking at the pictures and talking about what you can see, how characters might be feeling, what might happen next,etc..
  • you reading to your child and modelling expression
  • sharing reading, so that you read some words and your child reads some words, perhaps your child does th 'speaking' parts.
  • your child reads with you helping them to sound out unfamiliar words or giving them the words that they struggle with.


Children also develop a greater awareness of sounds through stories, rhymes and games, so please continue to read other books to them and to sing and recite nursery rhymes with them.


We share books in school everyday.  Children are invited to share with us their most-loved books and we have a special box for these in the classroom.  Children are welcome to bring books from home to share with the class but we do ask that they are clearly named.