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Staverton C.E. Primary School

School Lane, Staverton, Trowbridge, Wiltshire,

BA14 6NZ


At Staverton, we want all our children to be competent readers. The teaching of reading at Staverton is based in three approaches: individual reading, group reading- known as guided reading and shared reading where a teacher models skills for the children. In the earlier years at school children are read to on a daily basis. We use several schemes including Oxford Reading Tree, Project X and Rigby Star Phonics which all support the phonics teaching sequence.


At Staverton, we use the Sounds-Write phonics programme to teach our children to read, spell and write.   Sounds-Write is effective in teaching pupils to read, spell and write because it starts from what all children know from a very early age – the sounds of their own language. From there, it takes them in carefully sequenced, incremental steps and teaches them how each of the 44 or so sounds in the English language can be spelt.


The words used in the teaching process and the conceptual knowledge of how the alphabet code works are introduced from simple to complex, in accordance with the fundamental principles of psychological learning theory. For example, at the start, simple, mutually implied (one sound, one spelling) CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant) only are introduced. Pupils quickly learn to read and spell words such as 'mum', 'dog', 'jam' and 'sit'. When all the single-letter sound-spelling correspondences have been introduced and established, Sounds-Write initiates the concept that the sounds '', '', '' and '' can be spelt with the two letter-spellings '', '', '' and '', respectively.


As the programme progresses, the complexity of one-syllable words is carefully increased through a variety of VCC, CVCC, CCVC, CCVCC and CCCVC words, such as, for example, 'elf', 'hand', 'swim', 'trust' and 'scrub'.


After this, pupils' understanding of the concept 'two letters - one sound' is further developed through the introduction of the most common consonant two-letter spellings: '', '' and '', in words like 'shop', 'chimp' and 'thin', for example.

Finally, two, three and four letter spellings of the vowels are introduced and pupils are taught how to read and spell polysyllabic words, starting with simpler words (such as 'bedbug') and gradually moving to the more complex (such as 'mathematical').


All of this is taught within a well-structured, incremental and coherent framework based on the knowledge - both conceptual and factual (see below) – on which the alphabet principle and thus the writing system is based and the three key skills needed to enable learners to use the principle effectively.


Our approach teaches the conceptual understanding needed to become an effective reader:

  • that letters are spellings of sounds: visual language is a representation of spoken language
  • that a spelling can contain one, two, three, or four letters - examples are: s a t, f i sh, n igh t and w eigh t
  • that there is more than one way of spelling most sounds: the sound 'ae', spelt as in 'name', can be represented as in 'table', in 'rain', in 'eight', in 'play', and so on
  • that many spellings can represent more than one sound: can be the sound 'e' in 'head', 'a-e' in 'break', or 'ee' in 'seat'

Within this conceptual framework, we teach the factual knowledge required to become an effective reader and speller: the approximately 176 spellings that represent the 44 or so sounds in English, starting with the most simple one-to-one correspondences.


Reading and spelling also requires expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabet code and pupils need to be able to:

  • segment, or separate sounds in words
  • blend, or push sounds together to form words
  • manipulate sounds: take sounds out and put sounds into words

Sounds-Write provides opportunities for practising these skills on an everyday basis until pupils achieve the automaticity required for fluent reading and spelling.


If you would like to learn more about our approach to phonics, please register for the online course, free for everyone!


Guided continues for the remaining years at school. For certain children individual reading may continue longer where there is a need to reinforce some early skills. Reading skills are also a fundamental part of learning in all curricular areas so teachers deliberately create opportunities to practise reading skills or apply them in new contexts, eg computer work, research in other subjects and games.


Parents and carers may be interested to know that Oxford Reading Tree have made a good number of their books available for free on their website, Oxford Owl. Here you can enjoy the same books we have in school with some interactive features at many different levels. 


Click on the link below to access up to 200 ebooks.


Reading Resources


Every class has a weekly library slot where they can choose books to take home and enjoy. 


In each classroom at KS1: book corner, fiction and non-fiction books, sets of dictionaries at various levels.


Centrally held at KS1:  fiction and non-fiction books are stored in the Library and on shelves within the classroom.  An extra selection, for use particularly in KS 1 shared and group reading is kept in the Literacy room where big books for whole class shared reading are also to be found.  Group readers (in sets of 6 books), Oxford Reading Tree books and independent readers suitable for Year 2 are stored on shelves and tables in the Shared Area. 


In each classroom at KS2: book corner, fiction and non-fiction, Sets of books, various genres, for guided and group reading, All appropriate Framework material for class and individual activities, Sets of dictionaries and thesauruses.


Centrally held at KS2: well stocked library of fiction and non fiction material which children may borrow for enjoyment or use in school for research purposes.  ICT suite: opportunities for research using CD Roms and the Internet as well as specific research programs.  Bunches of six books are stored in the shared area.