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Mead Vale CommunityPrimary SchoolWork Hard. Be Kind.


Welcome toMead Vale CommunityPrimary SchoolWork Hard. Be Kind.

Early reading, phonics and writing


In Mead Vale school, we want every child to have a love of reading by immersing them all in good quality texts, modelling the love of reading and teaching them high quality phonics to enable them to develop skills from the beginning of school and to ignite their reading/writing journey.



Our phonics scheme is Extend Letters and Sounds (a DFE validated programme) as a systematic, synthetic phonic programme .  This programme offers a systematic approach to teaching of phonics and early spelling skills by following the 9 step approach to systematic teaching of phonics.

The core principles are:

•             Children having knowledge of the alphabetic code;

•             Children having the skills to blend to read;

•             Children having the skills to segment to spell;

•             Children understanding these as a reversible process.


Terminology your child will use:

Phoneme: is a sound in a word. There are approximately 44 phonemes in the English language.

Grapheme is a letter or sequence of letters that represents a phoneme. There are approximately 140 different ways that graphemes are used to represent the 44 phonemes in the English language.

Digraph is a grapheme where two letters represent one sound: kn representing /n/

Trigraph is a grapheme where three letters represent one sound: igh representing /ie/


How is it taught?

The teaching of phonics begins within early years moving towards year 2 where children are move onto the spelling programme. The teaching of phonics is also supported with using Read Write Inc. as the kinaesthetic approach to teaching letter formation.

Phonics is taught twice daily within Early years and KS1 where children are able to apply both reading and writing skills within their learning and develop their knowledge. Extra support is offered to children throughout the day where snappy phonics is apply.

Children are offered high quality, consistent teaching of phonics throughout reception, year 1 and year 2 which enables children to become confident readings and writers.


Early Reading

At Meadvale we organise our books in to a banding system and although we do not follow a specific purchased reading scheme, our main selection of books are the Big Cats reading scheme with some additional support from other schemes. Being orgainsed in a colour banded approach enables the children to have access to specific books matching the phonic programme, this ensures the home reading books are 100% decodable, allowing children to practice their new learning and become successful confident readers.

Guided reading lessons begin in reception where children are taught three ways to enjoy a book;

•             Tell the story in the pictures

•             Read the words

•             Re-tell the story


Guided reading groups offer targeted teaching and allow children to apply newly acquired or developing skills in reading. In small groups there are opportunities to teach, allow children to become independent readers, and having a social context.

Children develop strategies within guided reading lessons:

•             Activating prior knowledge

•             Predicating skills

•             Visualizing skills

•             Does it make sense

•             Summarising and re-telling


Early writing

In reception, writing begins through mark-making.                       

Stages of writing:

  1. Scribble stage: starting point at any place on the page

  2. Scribble (left to right progression)

  3. Mock letters: can be personal or conventional

  4. 4 letter string: left to right and progressively downwards

  5. Groups of letters with space in between to resemble words

  6. Picture labelling (matching beginning letter to sound)

  7. Copies environmental print

  8. Use the first letter to represent the word

  9. Uses the beginning letter and ending letter to represent word

  10. Hears middle sounds: writes beginning, middle and ending letters

  11. Phrase writing

  12. Whole sentence writing

In support of the mark marking, a large emphasis is focused on their physical development within their fine and gross motor skills. This is supported through; dough discos, finger gyms, threading, cutting, climbing, building and using small constructions i.e. Lego, pegs, beads.

Children are encouraged to mark-make in all areas of learning with access to a wide variety of resources.

Modelled writing:

where the teacher models writing for real purpose.

Story squares/helicopter stories:

Helicopter stories are stories told by the child and the adult writes them in the child’s voice. The story square offers the chance for the child’s helicopter story to be acted out.



Guided write:

Guided writing is using the sounds that the children have learnt, modelling the structure of a caption or sentence, supporting the writing step by step. This is taught in small groups.

  • Oral rehearsal - Say the sentence
  • Counting words
  • Segment the sounds in each word
  • Memory skills for sight vocabulary (sight words)
  • Write the word
  • Introduce the skills: every time we write… punctuation, letter formation, pencil grasp, posture, paper position
  • Re-read the sentence/caption
  • The teacher then writes the sentence for the children to check against their own writing


Our aim is to ignite the fire for the love of reading and writing which will burn for a lifetime.