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Great Kimble Church of England School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust


Phonics and Early Reading


The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Reception and Key Stage 1. At Great Kimble, We value reading and writing as a life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to be excited about reading.

Through a structured and consistent approach to the teaching of phonics, pupils will acquire phonic knowledge and build on previous learning. They will apply this knowledge when reading carefully matched texts.

We ensure pupils develop the phonetic skills and knowledge required to become a confident and fluent reader. We acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of year 1.

At Great Kimble we value and encourage the pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills. We aim for children to read words and simple sentences by the end of Reception, become successful, fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1 and develop a lifelong love of reading as they move through school.


We understand the importance of ensuring that every one of our pupils can read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities.  At Great Kimble, we follow the  Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme ‘Bug Club Phonics’. Bug Club Phonics enables us to teach phonics in a fast and engaging way so that all children become confident readers by the age of six. Bug Club Phonics matches the expectations of the national curriculum and the early learning goals. The order of grapheme introduction matches that recommended by the DfE’s Letters and Sounds programme and Bug Club Phonics provides inbuilt formative and summative assessment unit-by-unit and term-by-term. At Great Kimble, our programme develops pupils’ fluency and confidence by ensuring the readers they use to practice only include what they have already been taught.


Lesson Structure:

Bug Club Phonics is delivered through a mixture of teacher modelling and rehearsal with the whole class and small focus groups. These are tailored to meet the needs of individual children to consolidate their learning. Bringing a multi-sensory element to the teaching of phonics is widely recognised to be hugely beneficial to its effectiveness. Magnetic letters and boards are used to consolidate children’s blending and segmenting abilities. Mini-magnetic boards are used after the whole-class teaching sessions to apply and assess children’s understanding. The interactive whiteboard also acts as an electronic magnetic letter board for teacher demonstration. In Reception and Key Stage 1 the children are quickly supported to write using pencils as well as recording on whiteboards (supported by the Reading Framework July 2021). The children record their phonic journeys in individual phonic books.


Introduce: Learning intentions and outcomes for the day are discussed at the start of the lesson.

Revisit and Review: Every Phoneme Session begins with Revision to review previous learning In Reception the Revision is not just of the previous day’s target grapheme–phoneme correspondence, but also of blending for reading and segmenting for spelling of the relevant words. In Key Stage 1 the Revision is sometimes a review of previous learning which links with the planned teaching for that day.

Teach: Every Phoneme and Language Session is composed of teaching elements (e.g. Sounds, Reading, Spelling etc.) which are easily navigated to structure the new phonic teaching. The teaching of grapheme−phoneme correspondences and high-frequency (common) words is covered.

Practice: Practise opportunities are available in the following areas: ‘Follow-up’ parts of the lessons, unit-linked pupil games, unit-linked photocopy masters, ‘free-teaching’ within the Magnetic Board, using individual magnetic boards and handwriting practice.

Apply: Language Sessions provide opportunities to apply developing phonic skills to the reading, spelling and writing of captions and sentences. This application also covers irregular (not fully decodable) common words. In addition, the linked decodable readers allow regular application of children’s phonic skills, from as early as Unit 2 of Bug Club Phonics.

Access: Ongoing formative assessment during the daily lessons and summative assessment at regular periods throughout the programme. The frequency of assessment opportunities means children’s needs can be identified the moment they become apparent, ensuring that no child gets left behind.


Early Reading

At Great Kimble, we recognise the importance of children having access to fully decodable books that fit with the sequence of phonic teaching. Bug Club Phonics decodable readers have been written to match the order in which grapheme-phoneme correspondences are introduced in class, giving children the opportunity to practise their blending skills and to consolidate their knowledge. We provide the children with both printed books and eBooks and games. The eBooks are invaluable in helping pupils to practise reading at home as they include a phoneme pronunciation guide to aid pupils’ blending skills. Bug Club Phonics texts include fiction, comics and non-fiction. The Bug Club range includes plays and poetry. Both series are rich in vocabulary and help to develop language comprehension through engaging contexts, characters and storylines. The children are also encouraged to read and progress through the colour book bands when they have gained enough confidence and ability reading phonetically.  


(pupil voice coming soon)

Support for Parents

All you need to know about phonics - Bug Club Phonics

Sophie Thomson, Head of English and extended curriculum at Pearson, explains on this video the basics of phonics, how they work and provides practical guidan...