Early Reading and Phonics


Phonics and Early Reading


At Thornaby Church of England Primary School, we aim to foster a love of language and reading and, therefore, attach great importance to enabling our children to become fluent readers.

We use ‘Supersonic Phonic Friends’ as our phonics scheme. This programme is a fully systematic, synthetic phonic approach ranging from the simple to the complex spellings of the alphabetic code. Supported by their Supersonic Phonic friends, this approach will ensure children develop confidence and apply each skill to their own reading and writing.


The benefits of this approach include:

  • Active engagement at all times ensuring every session is maximised, making every minute count. Fun and physical indoor and outdoors and so much more…
  • Supersonic Phonic Friends fully meets the DFE’s 16 Essential Core Criteria. It ensures commitment, consistent, creative quality first teaching of phonics across all key stages.
  • Injecting new life into phonics. Exciting, engaging and brain friendly phonics made simple and easy for teachers and children.
  • Every child is taught tailored phonics sessions to suit their stage of development each and every single day for approximately 30 minutes per session.
  • All staff have been trained in this approach which means we ensure that our phonics times are protected.


Please visit the website for more information and to meet the characters!



A parent presentation can be found at:

Supersonic Phonic Friends Parent Workshop 2021.pptx (sharepoint.com)


By the end of Year 2, most children will have completed the Phonics scheme of learning and are ready to access the NC spelling programme. However, no child is left behind at Thornaby C of E. For a small number of children that may require further teaching to support reading and writing, we offer further intervention in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 where required.



The Phonics Test

Phonics screening tests take place when the children are in Year 1. This usually happens at the beginning of June and consists of 40 words that children have to blend and read. However, if your child is unsuccessful at passing the phonics screening test, they have another opportunity to take the test again in Year 2.


Early Reading

At Thornaby Church of England Primary School, we intend:

– For children to become enthusiastic and motivated readers
– To develop children’s confidence in reading a wide variety of genres and text types
– For children to have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently with understanding of what they have read.
– To encourage a love of literature and an enjoyment of reading for pleasure
– To use reading to provoke thought within children.

At Thornaby C of E Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to read and acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of Year 1. We also value and encourage the children to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills. We believe reading is key for academic success but also appreciate and promote a love for reading.

What do we teach? What does this look like?
Our whole curriculum is shaped by our school vision which aims to enable all children, regardless of background, ability, additional needs, to flourish to become the very best version of themselves they can possibly be. We use the Department of Education validated systematic synthetic phonics scheme ‘Supersonic Phonic Friends’, which ensures progression from Nursery to the end of Year 2, or, for some children, until they have completed the phonics programme in Key Stage 2. Sessions are taught daily for 30 minutes and have a clear structure following the model: Revisit & Revise, Teach, Practise and Apply. With ‘Supersonic Phonic Friends’, we ‘wrap our children’ in rhyme’ to ensure they ‘hear the sounds in the words they speak’. Children begin by learning the Firm Foundations, which gives children repeated experience, exposure and enjoyment of General Sound Discrimination and Phonological Awareness. Children learn to tune in, listen to and remember and talk about sounds. This progresses in Basics Two and Three which teaches children at least one spelling for 26 of the 44 sounds of the English language. The children learn to hear up to three sounds in words, recognise spellings and read and write simple CVC words. The Basics Four teaches children to hear, read and write more than three sounds in a word. The Higher Levels of phonics teaches children the concept that there are more than one spelling for a sound that they can hear in a word. They also learn to switch spellings and sounds for alternative pronunciations. The final phase, focuses on spelling rules and patterns which teaches the rarer spellings for the 44 sounds of the English Language.


Right from their very first day at Thornaby C of E Primary, children are provided with lots of opportunities to engage with books that fire their imagination and interest, motivating and exciting them to learn Phonics and become competent readers. We encourage reading for pleasure through children having a choice of challenging and enriching texts as well as building in time for children to read independently and as part of a whole class. All children have daily opportunities to read a variety of material in school, including regularly with an adult. Our children are given reading books matched to their phonic knowledge to take home daily. We are lucky to have an extensive range of other reading books to supplement and enhance our phonic reading scheme; which our children can take home and utilise either alongside their phonic book or once they are reading many words by sight.

Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of KS1. Children can then focus on developing fluency and comprehension throughout school. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of KS1 and KS2. These results are measured against the reading attainment against children nationally. Attainment in phonics is assessed regularly and interventions put in place to support children. However, attainment is ultimately measured by the phonic screening test at the end of year 1. Although, we firmly believe reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments. We give all children the opportunity to enter the wonderful worlds that books open up to them. We promote reading for pleasure as part of our reading curriculum. Children are encouraged to develop their own love of genres and authors. This enhances a deep love of literature across a range of styles, genres and cultures.

Reading Policy