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The importance of Phonics 🔤

Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), a global reading test carried out in a multitude of languages, found that of all the factors, the strongest correlation is between children who have a solid grounding in phonics (and pass phonics screening in Y2) and those who are then secure readers by the end of their Primary school education.

Phonics and Early Reading at ISB​ in Early Years​

Language Development​

Throughout Early Years, there is constant exposure to a range of stories, songs, rhymes, images and wordless books. Developing the ability to talk and listen well. In addition, use of class libraries, reading aloud, weekly poems and storytelling form an important part of the curriculum. We aim for children to live the language & have a deep conceptual understanding.​


Daily Phonics (moving into Reception)​

Reading sounds, words, captions and sentences takes place daily with every child & individually, during phonics sessions. Reading is modelled as part of each phonics lesson. In Phonics, children are taught the letter sounds/names and how to blend to read words and 'tricky words' are introduced. Home readers are read with staff as often as possible to encourage fluency. Children start with a picture book to talk about. When appropriate, books are matched to their phonics ability. ​


Continuing to build solid foundations and master reading skills​ Reading in KS1 (Y1-2)​


Daily phonics continues throughout Yr1 and Yr2​

Regular small group guided reading: These sessions allow students to read aloud, and target specific needs including phonics, decoding and fluency, comprehension and vocabulary. Planned teacher questioning, resources and tasks allow children to make progress in areas for development and stretch those secure students to mastery.​


Access to the KS1 library ensures each student develops a love of reading, independently accessing books based on their wider interests. Throughout Year 1 and Year 2, we continue the development of oracy​, imagination and creativity​ and create a strong culture of reading​.

A Message to Parents 💬


Phonics is a fundamental element of our reading programme at ISB. Through the systematic daily teaching of phonics throughout Early Years (PreK to Rec) and into Key Stage 1 (Yr1 & Yr2), we aim to ensure all children are secure in reading familiar and new words using their phonics knowledge.


It is impossible to enjoy reading if you can't read. Therefore, the emphasis on phonics (the ability to say, read and write words) is an absolute priority. Phonics does not teach children new vocabulary, it is simply about saying, reading and writing words from the sounds the letters make.


ℹ️ Full overview of all aspects of reading here:


At the end of Year 1, we report directly to parents on each individual child's progress in phonics. Over the next few weeks, parents will begin to be notified within Seesaw if their child has met the expected standard for their age. Our expectation is that 80%+ of all children reach this standard at the end of Year 1 and that this rises to 90%+ by the end of Year 2. All Year 1 parents will be informed of their child's progress and next steps.


For Year 2 parents, you will only receive an update if your child did not reach the expected standard at the end of Year 1 (or if your child is new to ISB). If you are a Year 2 parent and you are unsure, please just ask by replying to this message in Seesaw.


✅ Frequently Asked Questions


🙋‍♀️ Is this something my child should revise and study for?

ℹ️ No, all necessary work takes place in school daily. This is not a test. Our staff are experts in nurturing children through this process, there is no requirement for any additional study.


🙋🏽‍♂️ What if my child does not meet the expected standard?

ℹ️ All parents will be notified of individual results and planned next steps. If your child has not yet met the expected standard in phonics, targeted provision will continue daily for as long as is required.


🙋 If my child does not meet the expected standard, is that it?

ℹ️ Absolutely not. We will continue to work with all students to ensure they master this aspect of reading. This work will continue for however long is required, it's that important.


🙋🏽‍♂️ Is testing not too stressful for such young children?

ℹ️ Students won't even realise they have been 'tested'. Full details within the link above, but each student works with a teacher 1:1 and will just think that they have played a game. Children are not informed of any pass/fail but they will be aware of their next steps. Children and parents will not be made aware of when the phonics screening will take place as it will happen over a number of days.


🙋 I have read that phonics is not the answer for all children, is this true?

ℹ️ For the vast majority of children, phonics is the way they learn to read (in English). This is proven through extensive research and backed by evidence. For a very small minority, alternative methods are required. These will be explored and communicated with parents if/when necessary.


🙋🏽‍♂️ I think my child may have dyslexia as they are struggling to read, can I find out more?

ℹ️ The phonics screening is the best way to identify any students who are struggling with learning to read. Parents can read more specifically about dyslexia and reading difficulties using the link above.


Click the link, then scroll down to find:


✅ All about reading at ISB

✅ Dyslexia: Learn more...

✅ Help your child with writing

✅ Specific phonics resources

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More Reading...

More Writing...

Phonics Sounds

Resources we use at ISB

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