Leader of Phonics- Mrs Hodgson

At Balby Central Primary Academy we use RWI  to teach Phonics and early reading.  

Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are taught phonics daily. The groups are fluid and children move from one group to another as required. The early reading development isPicture2.jpg rapid and children move so quickly - so much so that some children are assessed fortnightly to ensure that they are working at their correct level. All children are assessed at least every 6 weeks and groups are reformed.

Your child will have access to a short speed sound session, where they will learn the sounds appropriate to their stage of reading ability. Using this sound, they will then access a short spelling, reading, handwriting and writing activity. Whilst also teaching the letter sounds, they will also look the content of the story, the sentence structures and apply this to their Get Writing section.

In some cases, children wil still access RWI in Year 3 and 4 and in Year 5 and 6, Freshstart will be delivered should the children require further phonics teaching.


What is Phonics? 

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. Children are taught how to recognise the sounds each individual letter makes and to identify the sounds that different contributions of letters make such as ‘sh’ and ‘oo’. Children are taught to read by breaking down words into separate sounds or ‘phonemes’. They are then taught how to blend these sounds together to read the whole word.

Children are taught sounds in sets and should not use letter names, but letter sounds. See the sound mats below. 

1a.jpg  2a.jpg  3a.jpg


 Children will also be asked to read alien words to demonstrate thier skills with the phonics and sound knowledge. Red words (words which are used frequently but may not be decodeable) will also be presented to children to allow them to build thier knowledge of these words on sight. 

Here is an example of red words and alien words. 

red words.jpg alien.jpg

The phonics screening check 

The National phonics screening check is a statutory assessment that was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils and is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonics knowledge.  All year 1 pupils will take the phonics screening check in summer term.

It comprises of a list of 40 words and nonsense words (words that are phonetically decodable but not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb). It will assess phonics skills and knowledge learnt through reception and year 1 where each child is asked to read on a 1:1 basis to an adult familiar to them. They will be asked to ‘sound out’ a word and blend the sounds together. 

The screening check will identify children who have phonic decoding skills below the level expected for the end of year 1 and who therefore need help. This help will continue into Year 2, where the children will again be reassessed using the screening check. 


How phonics leads to reading

Children will learn the inital sounds, they will then work to blend those sounds into whole words. This will then mean that when they can blend the sound, they can work on breaking down and decoding words into sounds to ensure that they are learning new words.

Each week your child will bring home a reading book matched to the RWI group they are in, they will also bring home a more challenging book for you to share with them to allow them to enjoy reading and build the reading for pleasure culture within your home. Please read with your child and ensure you complete the reading slips to return to school to ensure that recognition of efforts is given appropriately to your child. 

For more information please visit the following websites


Ruth Miskin Parents’ Page:

Ruth Miskin Facebook:

Free e-books for home reading:








Balby Central Primary Academy

Littlemoor Lane, Balby Doncaster DN4 0LL

Balby Central Primary Academy, Littlemoor Lane, Balby Doncaster DN4 0LL


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