Phonics & Early Reading


At The Parks Academy, all teachers are committed, passionate and driven to ensure that all children become proficient readers. We are determined that every pupil will learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities and that all pupils, including the weakest readers, will make sufficient progress to meet or exceed age-related expectations

The aims of our Phonics approach are to:

  • Ensure all pupils make speedy progress in phonics and reading, through a high-quality systematic and synthetic phonics programme and that it is followed with rigour and fidelity
  • Ensure the pace of the phonics programme is maintained so that children become fluent, independent readers by the end of Year 1
  • Ensure children’s reading books show a cumulative progression in phonics knowledge that match the grapheme-phoneme correspondences they know and plenty of opportunities are given to practise in order to support decoding skills.


Our Principles:

High-quality Phonics at The Parks Academy is implemented through Essential Letters and Sounds. Our key principle is ‘Keep Up not Catch Up’. Phonics is taught as a whole class approach for between 20 and 45 minutes a day (dependant on the age of the children.) The lesson follows a 5 part structure: revisit/review, teach, practise, apply and review. Any gaps in knowledge are carefully tracked through rigorous assessment using Phonics Tracker and monitoring and gaps are addressed through additional support (extra to whole class phonics sessions) from the start of the year, in order for children to ‘keep up’ with their peers.


Early Reading Books:

We follow the ‘Oxford Owl’ reading book scheme. These books are fully decodable and are aligned to Essential Letters and Sounds. Teachers carefully allocate reading books using the phonic assessments, ensuring that children only read books with graphemes that they already know.


National Phonic Screening Check:

All children in Year 1 will be screened using the National Assessment materials in the Summer term. If a child in Year 1 does not reach the required level then additional support will be put in place in order for the child to make accelerated progress with their reading. They will be retested when they are in Year 2. This data will be submitted to the Local Authority.