Phonics and Reading
Phonics and reading is a big part of our English curriculum.
Phonics and reading
Bug Club Phonics Scheme
We have a very exciting phonics scheme called Bug Club. The scheme is used for all early and beginner readers from FS1 to Year 2 and support children through intervention who still need early reading support in KS2. We use Bug Club because it provides a solid foundation in reading for all. Bug Club Phonics uses the systematic synthetic phonics approach. Extensive research into this approach, backed further by the July 2021 Reading Framework (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-reading-framework-teaching-the-foundations-of-literacy) has shown SSP to give the best foundation in reading for all children.
Children learn to read by blending the sounds associated with the letters a child sees.
The reading books your child brings home are designed to support them in practising and consolidating the learning they have done at school. They also enable children to experience the pleasure and pride of reading their own books.
All the books in Bug Club Phonics have been finely-levelled to ensure that all children can read books at exactly the right level for them. What’s more, there are online versions for every printed title and a personalised website for each child.
What is Bug Club?
Bug Club is a finely levelled, phonically based online reading scheme with interactive activities. Each child has a personalised homepage where they'll find the e-Books and phonics activities they've been allocated by the teacher and motivating rewards. This ensures that each child can find a book at exactly the right level for them. Bug Club books have a fantastic range of titles, which are graded into the same colour-coded Book Band levels that we use in school. Within each level there is a carefully planned progression of books. This fine progression gives children plenty of opportunity to develop their reading skills and master each fine step while moving through the phonics and reading programme. We are currently in the process of replacing all shelf books up to phase 5 to ensure they are phonetically decodable and reflect our Bug Club phonics programme.
At Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, we use the Bug Club Phonics programme to deliver a complete systematic synthetic approach to our phonics teaching. In phonics, our provision is designed to ensure that all our children will learn to read and spell well from very early on. Phonics is the basis for reading and spelling that helps our children grow into confident readers and writers, with reading for pleasure at the very heart of our reading curriculum. We believe that all children should progress through the Bug Club Phonics phases with fluency and confidence, and we place high importance on high quality teaching and resources, with assessment and intervention in place to support our pupils.
We offer a structure and sequence of lessons to help teachers ensure they have covered the knowledge required to meet the aims of the Bug Club Phonics programme. These lessons are supported by high-quality resources.
When designing our reading and writing curriculum, we aimed to focus on a clear progression through the Bug Club Phonics phases.
FS1: Throughout FS1, the children will learn all the pre-skills they will need to support them in FS2 and beyond with their phoneme learning and early reading skills. The children will take part in multisensory, hands-on and interactive activities to improve their speaking and listening skills. Activities include, but are not limited to- listening walks, oral blending skills (adult says c-a-t and models blending the sounds out loud to say 'cat'), I -spy initial sound games, animal and environmental sounds, clapping games and description activities.
FS2: During the Autumn term, our children will focus on Bug Club Phase 2. They will then progress onto Bug Club Phase 3 in the Spring and Summer and finish their year with Bug Club Phase 4. Our children will learn the sounds, in order, and will recognise their position in words. Our children will learn how to segment and blend for their reading and spelling, and they will be taught how to read and spell irregular ‘tricky’ words, with the ‘tricky’ part being explained. Throughout this process, we assess our children regularly to ensure they are secure in their knowledge, and we support them through targeted interventions, each day, if consolidation is needed. These are provided as additional sessions on top of the whole class phonics lesson. A phonics reading book will be brought home each week. This will be linked to the phonics knowledge the children have gained in school, so they can apply their understanding to the text.
Year 1: When our children enter year 1, we assess their knowledge gained during FS2 using the Bug Club assessments. These assessments highlight any areas in need of consolidation to inform the starting point of whole class teaching and interventions. Our year 1 children will continue with Bug Club Phase 4 at the start of the Autumn term and progress onto Bug Club Phase 5 afterwards. Our year 1 children will build upon the knowledge they gained in reception to be able to apply their understanding of phonemes to alternative graphemes. They will embed their knowledge of segmenting and blending to read and spell, and they will be taught how to read and spell irregular ‘tricky’ words, with the ‘tricky’ part being explained. Throughout this process, we assess the children regularly to ensure they are secure in their knowledge, and we support our children through targeted interventions if they need consolidation. These are provided as additional sessions on top of the whole class phonics lesson. A phonics reading book will be brought home each week. This will be linked to the phonics knowledge the children have gained in school, so they can apply their understanding to the text. At the end of year 1, all our pupils will take the statutory phonics screening check.
Year 2: When our children enter year 2, we continue with our assessment procedure. We will use the Bug Club assessments and the data from their year 1 phonics screening check to inform the starting point of whole class teaching and interventions. For our pupils who do not achieve the expected standard in year 1, they will receive additional support and will retake the phonics screening check in year 2. As our children enter year 2 they will recap Phase 5 at the beginning of the year to ensure that their phonic knowledge taught in year 1 is secure. During year 2, our children will embed their knowledge of learnt graphemes and learn new spelling rules through Bug Club Phase 6. Within this phase, there is a focus on adding suffixes and prefixes to words and our children will know how to use syllables to help them read and spell. They will be taught how to read and spell irregular ‘tricky’ words, with the ‘tricky’ part being explained. Throughout this process, we assess the children regularly to ensure they are secure in their knowledge, and we support our children through targeted interventions if they need consolidation. These are provided as additional sessions on top of the whole class phonics lesson. A phonics reading book will be brought home each week. This will be linked to the phonics knowledge the children have gained in school so they can apply their understanding to the text.
Please see the progression document attached to this page.
Interventions: In all year groups, children reading and spelling below age-related expectations receive targeted support. Additional phonics teaching is given following the sequence of lessons in the Bug Club Phonics programme and supported by phonetically decodable reading books.
In KS2, Bug Club Phonics is continued across year groups alongside rapid reading support as an intervention programme, and it is used to support those children who are reading below age-related expectations. The children are assessed using the Bug Club assessments and have targeted teaching to address gaps and misconceptions. Access to the Bug Club Phonics books and the online system, support the children’s development in their reading.
We believe at Holy Trinity that the impact of using a complete systematic synthetic approach to our phonics teaching will ensure that our children have good phonological knowledge, which they will apply to their reading and writing. Our children will feel confident in reading and spelling and use their knowledge to identify rules and patterns within phonics.
Staff have high expectations and work closely to develop a firm basis for reading and spelling development. CPD provides opportunities to understand the continuity and progression of skills across key stages and phases; skills to model, scaffold and question pupils in order to achieve a deeper level of understanding and vocabulary. This is why we felt it important for our whole staff team to take part in the Bug Club training programme in November 2023. Phonics delivery and impact is monitored and assessed regularly by members of the leadership team, ensuring a consistent approach.
Phonics and reading are essential tools to access the whole curriculum, to engage and make sense of knowledge and to explore, question and respond to the world. A strong phonetic basis enables us to ensure our children flourish as readers and writers; developing socially, emotionally, intellectually and culturally.
Parents - How to use Bug Club at home?
Each child has a unique homepage and can log into it by following these steps:
- Go to www.activelearnprimary.co.uk
- Enter your child’s login details (provided by the class teacher)
- Your child’s homepage will appear.
We allocate books and phonics games to your child according to their phonic level. These books will appear in the ‘My Stuff’ area of their personal homepages. There are quiz questions for your child to complete. By answering these questions, your child will earn ‘ActiveLearn Coins’. By reading more books and completing the games, your child will earn enough coins to ‘buy’ a reward in one of the many reward schemes.
Please follow the links for more information and support for our phonics scheme.
Sophie Thomson, Head of English and extended curriculum at Pearson, explains on this video the basics of phonics, how they work and provides practical guidance...
Learn how to pronounce all 44 phonics sounds, or phonemes, used in the English language with these helpful examples from Suzy Ditchburn and her daughter. Find more phonics help on Oxford Owl: https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/reading/phonics-made-easy/ Help your child learn to read with books and flashcards from Read with Oxford: https://www ...
Updated: November 2023
Please find below very useful reading advice and guides from Pie Corbett to aid reading at home and the love of books for each year group in school :-)