Phonics and Reading

Phonics and Reading Teaching at Civitas Academy

Here you will find information on how we teach phonics and reading at Civitas Academy and how you can help support your child at home as they progress as fluent readers.  Our aim is for children to become independent, life- long readers, able to read a wide range of texts for a variety of purposes with understanding and for pleasure.

We welcome and encourage support from home with the teaching of phonics and reading. We hope that the following information will help in the partnership between home and school. Please direct any further questions to your child’s class teacher, who will be very happy to help.

For some great starter tips on ‘How to help your child read at home’, use the following link

As early readers, children will be taught to use ‘Synthetic Phonics’. This is a technical name and is nothing to do with being artificial, it refers to synthesising or blending sounds to make a word. Phonics is a method of teaching children how spoken words are composed of sounds called phonemes. The process of reading involves decoding or ‘breaking’ words into separate phonemes. For example c-a-t.

There are, as we know, 26 letters in the English alphabet but there are 44 phonemes in the spoken language. For example ‘sh’ ‘ch and ‘ay’ are, phonemes comprising of two letters of the alphabet. Some phonemes like ‘igh’ and ‘ear’ are made of three letters. Each phoneme is known as a grapheme, when used in a written format. Your child will use and understand these words during their phonics teaching.

It is important that, in order to support children to decode phonemes accurately, that the pronunciation is accurate. For information and support with pronunciation, please follow the follow links

How Does Synthetic Phonics Teaching Begin?

Phase 1- Pre-school and Nursery Years

Children begin their learning as soon as they can hear and identify audible sounds. This is the first step in phonics. It will begin when children are in the home or out and about, it will occur prior to school age but there it will be a focus as children begin in Nursery Class. Children need to have the ability to identify sounds and differences in sounds before they can learn the 44 phonemes.

To help your child with Phase 1 of phonics, take them out and about and listen to sounds in the environment around them or follow the link for games to play.

For the order in which phonemes are taught, please see the attached document

For interactive resources related to each phase, follow the links below.

Online/App Learning  (Subscription)


Alongside phonetic development, reading is taught all throughout the day to cover the necessary comprehension skills as well as other strategies used to decode meaning from text. Children’s literacy lessons are based around high quality texts and daily literacy lessons allow children to read, enjoy, understand and discuss texts. Children participate in guided reading sessions with their teacher and with their learning support assistants each week, these small focused sessions allow for the direct teaching of new skills as well as opportunities for teachers to assess and give targets to children. Children will bring home a colour banded reading book, bands progressing to provide more challenge, the colour band will reflect their current ability and teachers will use ongoing assessment as well as guided reading and reading tests/activities to determine when to move children onto the next band.