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20 Daws Lane, Mill Hill, London, NW7 4SL

020 8906 2983 | Contact: Mrs Fraser, School Administrator |

Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School

Reading and Phonics

Please click here to view a letter from Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Reform (part of the Department for Education), in which he expresses congratulations for the ‘outstanding standard of achievement in the 2018 phonics screening check’.

Please click here to view a letter from Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Reform (part of the Department for Education), in which he expresses congratulations for the ‘very high standard of achievement in the 2016 phonics screening check’.


We held a Phonic Parent Workshop in January 2018.

Please click here to see the presentation.

Please click here to see the hand out.

Please click here to view our World Book Week


Our pupils learn to read and write effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme.

The programme is for:

  • Pupils in Reception to Year 2 who are learning to read and write
  • Any pupils in Years 2, 3, 4 and 5 who need to catch up rapidly.

We teach pupils to:

  • decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills
  • read ‘tricky’ words on sight
  • understand what they read
  • read aloud with fluency and expression
  • spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
  • acquire good handwriting.

In addition, we teach pupils to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as pupils’ poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.

In Reception we emphasise the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Please click here to see how to pronounce the pure sounds.

Simple mnemonics help the children to grasp the sounds quickly.

The scheme works on the premise of green words and red words. Green words are ones that can be broken down into sounds, and blended together to read. The programme teaches a series of sounds and these can then be used to help decode and read green words.

If your child would like to practise their green words at home and you would like to see an example of the types of words we use for decoding in sessions, you can follow the link below:

Green Words

Red words (also called tricky words) are words that cannot be broken down into sounds. These are taught explicitly, and are words that children need to be able to read on sight. Below is a link to a list of the red words that children need to be able to read.

RWI Red Words List

Reading books

We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the ‘tricky words’. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding.

All our reading books are colour banded. Your child will be given a colour band to choose their home reading book from which will help to ensure that the book they select is at about the right reading level for them. Every colour band includes books from a range of reading schemes so that they will experience a range of stories, text types and illustrations. The majority of books within the early book bands can be decoded using phonics skills and knowledge. The range of published schemes used include Dandelion Launchers, Big Cat Phonics, Floppy Phonics, Project X, Tree Tops and Phonics Bug.

Alongside this, the teachers read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils; they are soon able to read these texts for themselves.

Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud until they are confident to write independently. We make sure they write every day.

Pupils write at the level of their spelling knowledge, that is, they use their knowledge of the alphabetic code and the tricky words they have learnt. They can soon spell more complex words confidently and accurately. The quality of the vocabulary they use in their writing reflects the language they have heard in the books the teacher has read to them; they have also discussed what the words mean.

Our aim is for pupils to complete the phonics programme as quickly as possible. The sooner they complete it, the sooner they will be able to choose books to read at their own interest and comprehension level.


Achievement in our school

Assessing and tracking progress

We assess all pupils from Reception to Year 2 on the Read Write Inc. Sound and Word Assessment. This gives us a very good indication of how well they are making progress relative to their starting points. We do this for all pupils, whenever they join us, so we can track all of them effectively, including those eligible for the pupil premium.

By the end of Key Stage 1, our pupils are able to read aloud age-appropriate texts accurately and with sufficient speed. This means that we can focus on developing their comprehension, preparing them well for transition to Key Stage 2. Their good decoding skills mean that they have a sound strategy for decoding unfamiliar words when they come across them at whatever stage or in any subject, even into secondary school.

Many of our pupils complete the phonics programme by the end of Year 1. The rest of the pupils, complete the programme by the end of Year 2. We aim for all children to be accurate and speedy readers by the time they enter Key Stage 2.

We support pupils who have identified special educational needs for however long it takes until they can read.


Please click here to find out more about the Y1 Phonic Screen.