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At St Wilfrid’s we teach children to read and spell using a synthetic phonics program. During the teaching process, the children learn:

  • that sounds are represented by letters
  • how to blend (synthesise) these sounds together to make words

Some sounds are represented by only one letter (for example,‘t’) whilst others are represented by two or more letters (for example, ‘ck’ in trick). 

Children are first taught the sounds, they are then taught to match the sounds to letters, and finally they are taught to blend sounds in order to read and spell words. The blending of sounds to read words enables children to sound out unknown words rather than relying on the context of the word within a sentence.

We follow a phonics program called ‘Letters and Sounds’ which teaches the sounds in an order that allows children to start reading whole words as soon as possible. Letters and Sounds is split into phases 1-6.


Book Bands

Book bands are used to indicate the reading level of the books children read in school and at home, before they are fluent enough to move on to ‘free reading’. The same book band colours are used by many different publishers and this allows us to provide our children with a wide variety of books to read, whilst ensuring that the book they choose is appropriate to their ability.  

The following list shows how children progress through the book bands:

When they move on from the lime band, children are given ‘transition’ books to read before they are assessed on their readiness to become a ‘free reader’. Often transition books will be short chapter books or more detailed non-fiction books. 


Ideas for asking questions when reading at home

Reading Challenge

Books are a wonderful way to explore new places, discover new things or simply a way to relax and escape to another world. For our Reading Challenge, each year group has a list of 15 books, which children will be challenged to read all of – with certificates for reading 7, 10 or all 15 books. We have the books available in our classrooms, which children can swap once a week and take home. There are a huge variety of books on our booklists – from picture books to some tricky texts – so we encourage parents to share the books with their children! Children are not expected to read all of the books independently and can certainly be read to (including the older children). The book lists for each year group are on the year group's website page, please have a look!

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