Early Reading Approach Mapplewell Primary School

Ensuring Every Child is a Reader

At Mapplewell Primary School we believe that once a child can read it opens many pathways to achieve in other areas. Reading develops children’s imagination, extends their vocabulary and is skill which is important in all walks of life. That is why at Mapplewell Primary School we prioritise Early Reading, teaching a carefully planned sequence of lessons on a daily basis and providing appropriate intervention to ensure all of our pupils keep up. In addition to identifying children who need additional intervention we can also target children who are exceeding age related expectations and challenge appropriately.

What is phonics?

Phonics is a method of teaching people to read by correlating sounds with symbols in an alphabetic writing system.

Synthetic phonics has been proven to be the most effective approach to developing early Reading proficiency and at Mapplewell Primary School we believe this is the best way to introduce children to the joy of reading.

Learn to read in order to read to learn.

Throughout school we strive to encourage a rounded approach to reading where phonics skills are applied to increase fluency and improve comprehension. Our reading books are levelled to match the progression in phonics in order to offer children a range of fiction and non-fiction texts to challenge them at an appropriate level to ensure accelerated learning.

We promote reading at home and provide books which are carefully matched to a pupil’s phonic level.

Daily phonics lessons

Children have a 30-minute Phonics lesson each day and are encouraged to use their phonics knowledge and strategies to read and write in other contexts throughout the day.

Active phonics

  • A bespoke approach that is suited to the needs of all learners
  • lessons follow the Accelerated Learning Cycle and children are provided with collaborative and engaging tasks
  • RWI reading books given for home reading matched to the phonemes taught
  • planning is sequenced to follow RWI phoneme order and letter formation
  • children are assessed half terming to ensure they keep up and not have to catch up

We believe an understanding of technical language is important and should be modelled by those teaching phonics sessions. Children are introduced and encouraged to use the correct terminology when discussing phonics.

As children build up their knowledge of sounds they are able to apply their decoding skills to any unfamiliar word may it be real or nonsense. During lessons children practice their skills by sounding out the letters in ‘alien words/nonsense words’. Children are unable to rely on existing knowledge of real words, and instead have to use their grapheme-phoneme knowledge.

Common Exception Words

We teach irregular words weekly. Common exception words in Year 1 and Year 2 are assessed for both reading and writing at the formal school assessment points.


Children are assessed half termly. In addition to identifying children who need additional intervention we can also target children who are exceeding age-related expectations and challenge appropriately.

Correct pronunciation

Your child is taught to say the sound for the letter and not the name, so ‘m’ as in ‘mat’, not ‘em’ and ‘s’ as in ‘sun’ not ‘es’.

Please visit - https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/reading-owl/find-a-book/read-write-inc-phonics-1/phonics-pure-sounds-video to practice saying the sounds clearly. The more clearly you say the sounds, the more quickly your child will learn.

We say ‘mmm’ not ‘muh’ and ‘lll’ not ‘luh’ when teaching the sounds. This really helps children when they learn to blend.

At Mapplewell Primary School we believe parents/carers are partners in their child’s educational journey and play a crucial role in developing a love for reading. To support our parents/carers to gain knowledge and understanding of phonics is taught we provide workshop sessions in Foundation Stage 1 & 2 and Year 1.

Our aims are that children should use phonics as their primary strategy for deciding words in order to read and subsequently use this strong foundation and other strategies in order to develop a life-long love for reading.