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Reading and Phonics at Lonsdale


Pupils at Lonsdale School engage in daily reading activities within lessons, in reading clubs or in dedicated reading sessions. All pupils from KS1 to KS4 (and some in KS5) have a reading record. This log is shared between school and home, too, so that parents can also see which books their child has read or is reading. Parents, school staff and pupils have a space to comment in the reading records. These comments can relate to difficult words encountered, reading skills practised or mastered or any other relevant comments which will help the pupil progress further in their reading.

Reading is important across all key stages and is encouraged as part of weekly homework tasks, too.

The Lonsdale School library is visited by all classes as part of English and other lessons throughout the week. Pupils can also use the school library during lunchtimes or self-study times. Our school library hosts a wealth of fiction and non-fiction books as well as various reading schemes like Oxford Reading Tree, Project X or Pearson’s Phonics Bug.

Lonsdale School subscribe to Audible to access a wide range of audio books, too. Audible is accessible on a number of iPads in school and REP.

We are sourcing relevant reading schemes like the Talisman or Totem series, which are targeted at older readers on early reading stages to ensure that older readers at the beginning stages of reading have access to age-appropriate reading materials at suitable reading level.

Pearson’s Bug Club, an all-stage reading and phonics resource is available throughout the school via an annual subscription. All pupils also have home access to a wealth of e-books and reading materials on Bug Club. Please contact the form tutor to receive a Bug-Club home-access login.

Our specialist reading teacher tests our pupils’ vocabulary, reading and comprehension skills annually using standardised tests, such as BPVS, Salford and Suffolk Reading Tests and Reading Now. The reading scores are logged on each pupil’s Individual Learning Plan (ILP), and the reading-test data forms part of the whole-school assessment.


Lonsdale School use the “Letters and Sounds” programme (first published by the DfES in 2007). It sets out a detailed and systematic approach for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers.

There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for practitioners and teachers. Please note that the year-group information refers to mainstream settings. At Lonsdale School pupils work through the phases at different ages and according to their individual development.


Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One (Nursery/Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)

Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 & beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.



For some of our pupils, especially those with hearing or speech impairments, the “Letters and Sound” programme may not be the most suitable approach to learning to read. There are other approaches like “Look Say” or the whole-word method, which may be more suitable for some of the Lonsdale learners and are used alongside “Letters and Sounds”.  Phonics training at Lonsdale School is open to all staff.

ELKLAN training furthermore teaches many strategies and skills in order to encourage more effective speaking, listening and group interaction skills, which will further benefit pupils’ speech, language and communication development.