Silver Tree Primary School and Nursery

Phonics & Early Reading

At Silver Tree Primary School, we recognise the crucial importance of studying the English language. Improved performance in speaking and listening, reading and writing will enable our pupils to express their thoughts and ideas more fluently, to engage more successfully with other curriculum subjects and will ultimately enrich their lives beyond school. The teaching and learning of language skills are, therefore, given a high priority in our school.

We have high expectations for our pupils and we encourage them to become independent learners and who strive to be confident in all areas of English. Our overarching aim is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature.

Whole School Reading Spine

At Silver Tree, we are passionate about using high quality texts to promote a love of learning and reading for pleasure, as well as to simply enrich our pupils’ learning. We have developed a whole school reading spine to showcase the amazing stories, texts, poems and extracts we use, both in English lessons and across the full curriculum. The reading spine can be accessed here:

We are currently working hard to improve our Reading Spine, and we will upload this soon.


At Silver Tree Primary School and Nursery we recognise the importance of early reading and aim to create an inclusive, inspired and challenging curriculum which develops children’s knowledge of phonics, enabling them to become successful readers who develop a life-long love of reading.

We aim to give children the best possible start to their reading and writing journey by teaching them the essential phonological skills and knowledge to decode and encode words independently from the outset. We recognise that the development of spoken language and the enjoyment and comprehension of quality literature go hand in hand to develop a life-long love of reading and aim to nurture and develop these attributes alongside the phonics programme.

At Silver Tree Primary School and Nursery we teach Phonics using a DfE validated Systematic synthetic phonics programme called ‘Rocket Phonics’.





Children are taught:

  • To see the letters and say the sounds for reading
  • To hear the sounds and recall the letters for spelling
  • Blending for reading (oral, modelled, supported and independent blending at word, sentence and text levels)
  • Segmenting for spelling (oral, modelled, supported segmenting, knowing which spelling alternative to use)
  • The skill of handwriting (pencil hold, letter formation, position on a writing line).


Children are also taught to recognise and write ‘common exception’ words gradually throughout the programme. These are words that cannot be sounded out e.g the, no, said, was.

Each lesson has 4 parts:

  1. Revisit and Review– Flashcards are used to revise previously taught sounds.
  2. Teach– Children are taught a new letter-sound correspondence. They are taught to form letters accurately.
  3. Practise– Children practise blending for reading and segmenting for spelling. Initially, this is done at word level, then sentence and text levels (when appropriate).
  4. Apply– Children apply their knowledge and transfer their skills in continuous provision (in Reception), in English and wider curriculum lessons in Key stage 1 and beyond.


Children practise, apply and consolidate their phonics skills and knowledge during weekly ‘Guided Reading’ sessions in school. Fully decodable texts are sent home (these contain only sounds/common exception words which have been taught previously) for the children to practise their phonics skills with their parents or carers. Children are encouraged to re-read books from the earliest stage to practise and improve their fluency (the ability to read with speed, accuracy and expression).

Here is some additional information for families with children in Year One regarding the Phonics Screening Check.

Phonics Screening Check Meeting Presentation

In the Autumn term, we held a Reading meeting for the parents and carers of our Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils. Please find the information slides linked below.

Reading Meeting Presentation

If you require any further information, support or guidance regarding Phonics, Rocket Phonics have put together some handy guides for parents and carers, which we have linked below. Alternatively, please ask a member of school staff who would be happy to help.

Rocket Phonics Half Termly Expectations

Rocket Phonics Parent Guide

Rocket Phonics Online – Guide for Parents and Pupils

Promoting a Love of Reading

Our pupils love taking part in the events that we run to promote a love of reading. Take a look at the photos below to see what we’ve been up to!

World Book Day

Axel Scheffler online workshop with Seven Stories The National Centre for Children’s Books

 Virtual Visit from author Jacqueline Wilson


Roald Dahl Day