A bookcase full of picture books

At Cononley Primary School we teach 'Synthetic Phonics' using the Letters and Sounds programme. Synthetic Phonics is a way of teaching reading. Children are taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sounds (phonemes) they represent. Children then start to read words by saying the phonemes together (synthesising) to make a word.

Children begin to learn Synthetic Phonics in a daily phonics lesson as soon as they start school in Reception and continue through Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and Year 2). Children learn how to read and spell words using their phonic knowledge.

We use a wide range of teaching techniques and resources in our daily phonics lessons and aim to make lessons fun and interactive. Every year, during the Autumn term, we hold an information evening for parents on the teaching of phonics and reading, with ideas for parents to help their children at home.

Common Exception Words

Children will also learn to read common exception words. These are words which don't quite follow the spelling or phonics rules that children are taught in years 1 and 2 and need to be practised until they are instantly recognisable.

Phonics Reading Scheme

The Phonics Reading Scheme used in EYFS and Key Stage 1 called is Wordsparks. This scheme is aligned to Letters and Sounds and enables children to read words with the same phonemes and graphemes which they have learned in their daily phonics lesson. 


Additional phonics reading books are used to supplement the main scheme when necessary to ensure that pupils are able to decode with fluency and confidence. 

In Key Stage 2, the main reading scheme we use is Collins Big Cat. As pupils grow into confident readers, we have a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books which enable children to  develop reading skills and broaden their experience of different texts. Children can take home a book from the library each week.

At Cononley Primary School all of our reading books are organised into 'Book Bands' which is a method used to group books according to their level of difficulty.