Phonics at Longtown Primary School

Teaching children to read is an essential part of their learning. Reading is a skill that helps to develop vocabulary and improve understanding of words. In synthetic phonics lessons, children learn the relationship between letters and sounds. Teaching them to recognise the sounds each letter makes and how to put them together, enables them to read. It also helps with spelling as they learn how to break up words into sounds, in order to spell them. The idea that surrounds synthetic phonics is that once they are comfortable with the letters and sounds that make up words, children should even be able to read ‘nonsense’ words that don’t actually exist in the English language.

Our Aims:

  • To establish a cohesive whole-school approach with progression and continuity in the teaching and learning of phonics throughout the school with a focus on quality first teaching.
  • To ensure that systematic synthetic phonics (following the Twinkl Phonics programme) is the first approach pupils use to help with their reading and spelling.
  • To ensure children learn to read and write all 44 graphemes in the English language.
  • To ensure children have specific strategies to identify and decode common exception words (tricky words).
  • To have robust assessment procedures to check progress and identify pupils in need of intervention.
  • For pupils to apply their phonic knowledge in their reading and writing across the whole curriculum.
  • For pupils to develop a love of reading and enjoy reading for pleasure confidently across a range of genres.


  • To provide consistent, high-quality phonics teaching that ensures all children have a strong foundation upon which to tackle the complex processes of reading and writing.
  • To ensure that the teaching of synthetic phonics is systematic and progressive throughout the foundation stage, key stage one and key stage two for those children needing interventions to support phonetic knowledge and understanding.
  • To ensure that children have strong phonetic knowledge, understanding and skills so that they can decode words confidently and engage with higher-order reading and writing skills






How We Deliver Our Phonics Teaching


We use Twinkl Phonics as our systematic, synthetic phonics programme (SSP). It is high quality and robust in its purpose. With a clear, structured progression through the programme, it allows all of our pupils to meet or exceed the expected standard. The Twinkl Phonics approach combines rigorous progression with engaging learning materials. We believe that children learn best when they are enjoying their learning and that this comes from a mix of bright, fun and engaging lesson resources within a clear and systematic approach that builds on children’s skills daily. The structure of every Twinkl Phonics lesson follows this familiar five-part structure to ensure that the four cornerstones of phonics are covered. During our phonics lessons, children will repeat the elements from the four cornerstones of phonics to ensure that they have rapid and automatic recall of GPCs and tricky/common exception words; each day, they will experience blending and segmenting activities to allow regular practice of these core skills. We organise our pupils into phased groups to ensure they are working at the appropriate level to meet their needs and this is revised half termly following assessments. Pupils also use the catch up programmes when necessary to support rapid improvement..

Stories are used to provide a stimulus and context for phonics teaching in our Twinkl Phonics lessons. The story content also integrates games to practise the skills taught. Our phonics lessons are also supported by weekly decodable minibooks, which are part of our core provision, where children can apply the skills they have learnt in their phonics lessons.

As part of our wider SSP provision, there are also follow-up activities that the children can complete independently, in pairs or in groups that relate to the day’s learning. In addition, we use actions to help the children remember phonemes; this kinaesthetic, visual and auditory approach helps the children to retain the phonemes and supports children with SEND.

Decodable reading books are also provided, matched to the children’s phonic level through the use of Rhino Readers and Bug Club. We use both individual and whole class reading to teach reading alongside phonics. We also use a mix of eBooks and physical books. In conjunction with the teaching of phonics, we also give our children phonics-based activities to take home at the appropriate level. These include parent information sheets, home learning booklets. This helps to consolidate what has been taught in school and encourages a cohesive whole-school approach.

Timetabling/Structure Phonics is taught daily to all children in EYFS and key stage 1. Within reception, phonics sessions will increase in length over the year. By the end of reception, children spend about an hour a day consolidating previous learning, learning new content and practising and applying what they have learnt. This will consist of a mixture of carpet time and follow-up activities. Phonics will also form part of their continuous provision for children to access following their discrete phonics lesson.

In year 1 and 2, phonics lessons will last between 40min- hour each day. Some children may continue to need discrete phonics sessions in key stage 2. If this is the case, they will receive a daily 20 minute intervention session, delivered using the Twinkl Phonics Codebreakers interventions. Children will be regularly assessed to ensure they are receiving phonics teaching at the correct level


Youtube links for  Level 2 sounds and actions

Bing Videos

Youtube links for  Level 3 sounds and actions

Bing Videos

Youtube links for  Level 5 sounds and actions

Bing Videos

Youtube links for  Level 6 sounds and actions

Bing Videos



Whole Class Reading


At Longtown, we know a child’s reading experience is fundamental to the development of imagination, understanding of life and development of a positive growth mindset for life.


Reading is much more than the books which come home from school, it is in everything we do! Therefore, we encourage reading throughout our school day and curriculum here at Longtown. We embrace reading and celebrate books in all areas of school life! We read books about difference and delve into a range of authors throughout the children’s journey with us. Different genres are covered in English lessons and children are constantly practising their reading skills across all subjects.


At Longtown Primary school we strive to nurture the love of reading in every child through our reading rich curriculum, quality reading resources and stimulating environment. We aim to provide:


-All children with the skills and strategies to read with confidence, fluency and understanding

-Create a positive reading culture where children enjoy reading, want to read regularly and discuss their reading

-Encourage reading outside the classroom through forging strong links with home including the Strive for Five program

-Establish a love of books where children choose to read for pleasure




Every individual child has a school reading book that is book banded to match their reading ability. Children change their books when they have finished them. There are a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books in each book band. We have a huge collection of books to match the interests of children. As a child’s reading improves, they move through the book bands. The books children have read are logged in reading records.




Strive for 5 is a weekly reading challenge that is set across Longtown Primary School. The aim of Strive for 5 is to encourage pupils to develop a regular schedule of reading outside of school. Strive for 5 is to support the development and progression of readers at Longtown. Teachers will check reading records in order to move children along the Strive for Five chart, if children reach 5 stars they will be rewarded with a prize/housepoints.




Our handwriting is taught using LetterJoin, a whole school handwriting programme and more information can be found using the link below.  Handwriting is taught discretely, and as part of the English lesson, where appropriate.




Another element of writing, is spelling, and here at Hensingham Primary School we use Spelling Shed, a complete spelling programme designed to meet the needs of the 2014 National Curriculum in a manageable way. Spelling Shed teaches spelling in a ‘little-but-often’ structure which allows children to revisit and review, learn new strategies and apply.




We teach a broad and balanced inclusive writing curriculum that aims to equip all pupils, including those in Early Years, with a strong command of the English language.


Pupils are taught to appreciate the value of the written word and develop positive attitudes towards writing for pleasure and purpose. They are exposed to a wide range of rich language, writing styles and grammatical features by working with model texts. They are taught to write for different audiences in a range of contexts focusing on the effect they want to create for the reader.


They learn to write clearly and accurately, with confidence and independence, applying spelling, punctuation and grammar knowledge following the progression of writing skills document.


We recognise the importance of driving up standards in spelling and grammar maximising the opportunities for all children to practise writing skills, with high expectations for handwriting and presentation.


Carefully sequenced, our writing curriculum is underpinned by inclusive practice. It teaches crucial skills that can be applied to all areas of the wider curriculum – skills that will last a lifetime.