English (inc. Phonics)

English (inc. Phonics)

At Springfield Academy, English is taught both as a discrete subject and cross curricular. Guided Reading and focused sentence level work may be taught outside the normal English lesson. English is at the heart of curriculum planning so that subject matter from other curriculum areas is available as content or stimulus for speaking, listening, reading and writing. All curriculum areas will involve some aspects of English.


At Springfield Academy, we aim for children to be independent writers. We encourage them to write clearly and with confidence in any given genre. We teach them to use punctuation and grammar accurately, to be able to proofread their own work and make amendments and improvements. Our system of pen licences encourages children to place value on the development of correct letter formation and neatly presented handwriting. We give children a wide range of opportunities in which to develop their writing skills and display work of which they are proud. Through our English curriculum, we aim to nurture in the children a love of literature and language, and the confidence to continue reading and writing throughout their lives. 

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar 

We place great value on the importance of accurate spelling and the correct use of punctuation and grammar. We follow the National Curriculum 2014 to ensure that teaching is both structured and rigorous throughout the school. We use Letters and Sounds to ensure a consistent approach to the teaching of phonics throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. In Years 2-6, we use ReadWriteInc, an interactive program which teaches spellings in a fun and engaging way. Each unit is introduced with a short video. It helps children to learn spellings with common patterns and uses rules in order to help them recall spellings as well as teaching exceptions to these rules.

Our approach to the teaching of reading

At Springfield Academy, we believe that encouraging children to read for enjoyment is key to their success as a reader.  Teachers choose texts that will excite the children and motivate them to read more. Teachers in the academy provide the children with a good model of spoken English, with lots of discussions related to the children’s personal experiences.  All children listen to stories in class on a regular basis and have the opportunity to use our school libraries and class book areas. Throughout the year, we promote reading through our annual Book Fairs, competitions and live webcasts.

Reading scheme

In our approach to develop a love of reading, we use Accelerated Reader, a computer based program which helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. The children take a reading test to determine their reading ability at the beginning of each half term, they are then given a ‘reading range’ which is matched to their reading ability so that they choose books that they can read comfortably or provide more of a challenge.  At the end of each book, the children will complete a quiz to demonstrate their understanding of the text.  The scores children receive from the quizzes that they take are monitored by class teachers and recorded in their individual reading records.  We encourage parents to listen to their child read regularly at home and to make a quick note in their child’s reading record. In KS2, we invite children to homework club if they have not read at home so that they can catch-up on their reading (please ask your child’s class teacher for Homework Club days.)

Early Years

Children in Reception learn a letter each day. We teach the letter sound and name alongside a mnemonic to support letter formation. 

Year 1 – Year 6 

Each class timetables English daily, where children take part in whole-class shared reading and/or writing every day. Comprehension skills are taught throughout the school, so that children learn to read for meaning. Children will also have the opportunity to share a book with members of staff to develop their fluidity of reading.


In the EYFS, children’s achievements are ongoing and are assessed against the Early Learning Goals. Levels are no longer used to assess children and instead teachers in KS1 and KS2 will make judgement about the children’s reading and writing in relation to age related expectations as set out in the new curriculum. Assessment for learning is well established throughout the school and the use of questioning, observation and marking will continue to be key parts of formative assessment. Statutory assessments take place at the end of Year 1, Year 2 and Year 6. Assessments are recorded throughout the year and carefully analysed to make sure that all children and groups are progressing well and achieving their potential.


At Springfield Academy, early reading is taught using synthetic phonics as the main approach to reading. Pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds all through the word for reading, and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. They are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but are also taught high frequency words which do not completely follow the phonic rules.

At Springfield Academy we firmly believe that good phonics teaching is at the heart of successful early reading and writing experiences.  The school follows the government published programme “Letters and Sounds” using resources from the “Phonics Play” a subscription website which supports us in providing a multi-sensory approach to learning phonics. For more information about phonics, including a video of how to pronounce the phonemes (sounds), please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwJx1NSineE

Timescales given in Letters and Sounds act as a guide and staff across school adapt these time frames to suit the needs of groups and individuals. Phases may also be revisited e.g. Phase 4 at the beginning of Year 1.

Letters and Sounds – A Summary

Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.

PhasePhonic Knowledge and Skills
Phase One (Nursery/Reception)Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeksLearning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeksThe remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeksNo new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.