Redwood Primary School

Redwood Drive, Waddington, Lincoln LN5 9BN T 01522 721156 F 01522723672 E

Phonics and Reading


The scheme we use to teach phonics at Redwood is called Letters ad Sounds.

What is Letters and Sounds?

From the Letters and Sounds website:

Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven. 

There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for Practitioners and Teachers. For more detailed information, visit the Letters and Sounds website.

Phase Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One(Nursery/Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two(Reception) up to 6 weeks

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three(Reception) up to 12 weeks

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four(Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five(Throughout Year 1)

Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six(Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.

Once children are secure with phonics, we move on to teaching spelling rules and strategies through a scheme called Support for Spelling.  To access the Support for Spelling scheme, visit   


In Key Stage 1, we use the Oxford Reading Tree reading scheme, and in Key Stage 2, Collins Big Cat.

Published by Oxford University Press, the Oxford Reading Tree scheme follows the adventures of some memorable characters: Biff, Chip and Kipper, and their faithful canine companion, Floppy.   This is what the publishers say about the scheme:

“The UK's number one reading programme has taught millions of children to read... and to love to read. With systematic phonics at its heart, Oxford Reading Tree's well-loved characters, breadth and unrivalled support give you everything your children need to become confident readers – and the new National Curriculum loves it too!”

For more information, visit Oxford Reading Tree website

As children move into Key Stage 2, they progress onto the Collins Big Cat scheme.  This is how Collins describe it:

“Collins Big Cat is a guided reading scheme filled with real books to engage and excite your readers! With must-read fiction and knock-out non-fiction in every book band, we only use the best quality authors to create books that span a huge variety of genres, illustrations and formats.  The series is designed to build speaking and listening as well as reading skills. Every book contains a unique reader response activity plus reading tips including suggested comprehension activities and curriculum links.”

You can find out more at the Collins Big Cat website

We encourage children to be independent readers, and when they are ready, allow them the freedom to choose whatever books they want to read.  We have a wide selection of fiction and non-fiction books in school, but are always happy for children to bring appropriate books in from home if they wish.

Redwood Drive, Waddington,Lincoln LN5 9BN T 01522 721156 F 01522723672 E

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