Bournville Village

Primary School

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Reading and Phonics

At Bournville Village Primary School, reading and high quality literature is at the heart of everything we do; 

we aim for all pupils at Bournville Village Primary School to develop a life-long love of reading. The first step  to achieving this is igniting a child's interest through reading for pleasure.


Reading for pleasure is time in addition to the daily English lessons when our children have the opportunity to enjoy reading. This includes daily story time, regular visits to our school library and independent reading. Daily story time is timetabled and teachers will spend time reading aloud to the children; this could be a class novel, a poem or an information text.  Being read to helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as support their writing. We want our children to enjoy reading a wide range of texts and be able to talk about the text and the author with passion and confidence. 


Our well-stocked school library is a welcoming place which our pupils visit regularly. Pupils use their library visits to select and borrow books, share a recommendation with a friend but most of all, to enjoy some dedicated time to enjoy a good book.


The classrooms reflect the importance we put on reading too. Our class libraries include texts linked to our curriculum topics, display our author of the moment and share and recommend some of our favourite reads.


Mrs Williams and teachers in school have put together lists of their favourite books  which have been collated into year group book lists in our virtual book shop (run in collaboration with The Bookshop on the Green). Every time one of these books are sold, we earn a little bit of commission to put towards buying even more books for our wonderful library in school. 

Click on the image to visit our virtual book shop:

Thank you to The Bookshop on the Green for making this possible.


The Joyce Cadbury Library at BVPS

Reading instruction

The teaching of reading begins in Reception with a focus on the development of early reading skills with daily story time with teachers and children sharing books, both with and without words. This allows our children to develop an understanding of story structures and comprehension skills before focusing on decoding words. Steps in to reading focus on wordless books, allowing our children to develop their own story ideas by using both their imagination and decoding skills to decide on the narrative which matches the images. Following this, we further develop our children's reading skills through identifying and distinguishing between sounds or phonemes using Phonics.



Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.

Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read. Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.


From Reception onwards, children take part in daily phonic lessons delivered with an active and multi-sensory approach to engage all learners at the appropriate level. Lessons are well paced, highly engaging and require all children to be active participants in their learning.


Phonic lessons follow the structure of:

  • Review/revise
  • Teach
  • Practice
  • Apply


Our cycle of learning is used when introducing new sounds to ensure children make links between the phoneme and the grapheme, helping to make stronger connections in their memory and help the learning 'stick'.


Children are regularly assessed enabling individual progress to be carefully monitored. Importantly, this facilitates the early identification of children requiring personalised intervention, or indeed extra challenge, to reach their fullest potential.

Phonics is taught using ‘Jolly Phonics’ actions and songs. Our children are taught the sounds (phonemes) made by individual letters first, this then moves quickly onto looking at the sounds made by pairs and clusters of letters. The children start following the sequence of sounds set out in Jolly Phonics:


Alongside the teaching of sounds, our children will also start practising reading and writing ‘tricky words’ which are words that are not phonetically decodable or don't 'sound out' easily, such as: ‘to’, ‘the’, ‘said’ and ‘be’. We do this to ensure our children begin to recognise these common sight words, introducing them slowly, but with regular and frequent exposure to help make them 'stick'.


All children develop at different rates, so our regular and ongoing assessments enable us to group our children according to the phonic phase they are working on. 

Autumn 2021

Following the government's published list of validated SSP programmes and statement that schools should show fidelity to one phonics scheme, we have been reviewing and evaluating our phonics practice in school. 

This has led us to choose 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised' as our chosen SSP programme moving forwards. We are currently in the process of implementation to ensure a seamless transition to this programme and continuing our outstanding phonics provision.

Reading books

The best phonics resources are reading books. Your child will be given a Collins Big Cat decodable reading book which are organised into colour bands and carefully matched to your child's phonics ability; this means that they are equipped with the phonemes and tricky words to help them decode and read the text within the book. Reading deliberately patterned, simple, repetitive grammatical structures create both confidence and success. Children then progress through the Collins Big Cat book bands as their phonological awareness grows and develops.


Once children move beyond phonics and into Key Stage 2, children will be provided with levelled books to match their reading fluency (assessed termly) with the ultimate aim that children will transition onto being a ‘free choice’ reader, having all the skills needed to tackle these more challenging texts.

Reading practise at home

It is vital that children practise their reading at home often by reading to an adult. This is important for all of our children, no matter what reading stage they are on. Even though our fluent readers may be able to read the words, they still need opportunities to discuss the meaning of the texts they are reading.


Alongside their reading book, your child may bring home a book they have chosen from the school library and may also have favourite books that they like to access at home. Setting quiet time aside to read and enjoy books together is the single most important thing we can do as parents to support our children's reading journey. 


Whilst learning phonics, your child will bring home lists of phonemes and words that can be decoded using their phonics knowledge. Practice reading and spelling these words. Play fun games with them such as thinking of words that rhyme. Finally, your child will also receive a list of 'tricky' words - common words that appear very often in written texts but that are not phonetically decodable, which means the words have to be learned and recognised by sight. The expectation is that by the end of Reception children should be able to read most of these words, and by the end of Year 1 they should be able to spell most of them. Try to practice one word with your child from the list per day.

The Phonics Screening test

During the Summer term in Year 1, children nationwide are tested on their phonic knowledge. This test helps us to identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and may need further support in Year 2. The test is low-key and we endeavour to make it stress-free for the children. Essentially, the children are asked to read 40 words from a list, using their phonics to ‘sound out’ the word and then blend it if they need to. Parents are informed as to whether their child has achieved the national expectation within the child’s end-of-year report. Our most recent pass rate was well above the national average.

What are the letter sounds?

The link below will take you to a website where you can click on each letter within a set to hear the correct sound.

Phonics in action