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Reading and Phonics

At Harehills Primary School we use systematic teaching of phonics, using the DfE approved Twinkl phonics programme.

Teaching children to read is an essential part of their learning. Reading is a skill that helps to develop vocabulary and improve understanding of words. In synthetic phonics lessons, children learn the relationship between letters and sounds. Teaching them to recognise the sounds each letter makes and how to put them together, enables them to read. It also helps with spelling as they learn how to break up words into sounds, in order to spell them. The idea that surrounds synthetic phonics is that once they are comfortable with the letters and sounds that make up words, children should even be able to read ‘nonsense’ words that don’t actually exist in the English language.

Twinkl Phonics Overview
Twinkl Phonics Scheme Overview


Phonics Policy
Twinkl Phonics Policy

5 stages diagram


Twinkl logo
Harehills Primary School is pleased to announce that we have been accepted onto the Twinkl Phonics research programme.
We are now a Twinkl Phonics Research School.


How to pronounce the phonemes

When introducing children to the first 44 GPCs, it is important to use ‘pure sounds’. ‘Pure sounds’ refers to the way of sounding phonemes without adding an extra ‘uh’, known as a schwa, at the end of each letter. Using pure sounds helps children to blend sounds for reading and segment words for writing, as no extra sounds are accidentally inserted into words.

    For example:
  • /s/ is pronounced as ‘sss’ instead of ‘suh’.
  • /t/ is pronounced as a very short bouncy sound instead of ‘tuh’.

Here is an example of pure sounds

Alphate Strip


The Twinkl Phonics Family

In our phonics lessons the children follow the adventures of the twins, Kit and Sam, along with their family and mischievous pet dog, Ben.

These wonderful characters are used to help guide children towards fluency and nurture a love of reading and writing through a story based approach.

Phoncs Family


Whole School Progression

Recommended ages

Level 1

Phonics Level 1 

Throughout Level 1, young learners develop the knowledge, skills and understanding to use and discriminate between auditory, environmental and instrumental sounds through 7 Aspects. Level 1 is taught in EYFS and underpins learning throughout the teaching of Phonics Levels 2-6.

Phonics level 1 summary


Level 2

The purpose of Level 2 is to: teach the first 19 most commonly-used letters and the sounds they make; move children on from oral blending and segmenting to blending and segmenting with letters; introduce some tricky words for reading.

Level 2 Sounds

Level 2 summary

Phase 2 tricky words 


Level 3

The purpose of Level 3 is to: introduce another 25 graphemes, including consonant digraphs, vowel digraphs and trigraphs so that children can represent 42 phonemes with a grapheme; continue to practise CVC blending and segmentation; apply their knowledge of blending and segmenting to reading and spelling simple two-syllable words and captions;

Level 3

Level 3 summary

Phase 3 Tricky Words

Level 4

The purpose of Level 4 is to: consolidate children’s knowledge of graphemes in reading and spelling words, especially digraphs and trigraphs; introduce words with adjacent consonants - CVCC, CCVC, CCVCC, CCCVC, CVCCC, CCCVCC, CCVCCC; learn polysyllabic words and learn to read and spell some more tricky words.

Phase 4 summary

Level 4 tricky words

Level 5

The purpose of Level 5 is to: learn alternative graphemes for known phonemes;
learn alternative pronunciations of known graphemes;
introduce split digraphs;
introduce suffixes and prefixes;
learn to read and spell more common exception words.

Level 5

Leve 5 Summary

Phase 5 tricky words

Level 6

The purpose of Level 6 is to: develop children’s knowledge of spelling patterns and best-guess grapheme selection; learn more alternative graphemes for known phonemes; learn more alternative pronunciations for known graphemes; introduce the /zh/ phoneme; develop an understanding of the spelling rules for adding suffixes and prefixes; introduce homophones/near homophones and contractions; learn to spell more common exception words; develop their understanding of grammar rules; learn effective writing techniques including editing and proofreading and learn more strategies to read and write independently.

Level 6 

Level 6 Summary


Phonic Terminology

Phonics has a large technical vocabulary. Much of this will become more familiar as you teach phonics but it is useful to learn some key terms before you start.

Phonc Terminology



Reading is a vital skill that will support children’s learning across the whole curriculum. As a school, we will ensure that our children are taught to read with fluency, accuracy and understanding through a variety of discreet and cross-curricular learning opportunities. We equally value reading for pleasure and promote this regularly through school in a variety of ways, including daily shared whole class stories, reading events, dedicated reading areas and local library visits. We have also created and resourced our own year group recommended reading lists which are updated annually. Above all, we want children in our school to become enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers.

Click the guide below for more information.

Reading Guide


Recommended Reading Lists

We have created and resourced our own year group recommended reading lists. Books have been carefully selected to include:

  • a range of different authors, some who are more well known as well as some new or more local authors
  • a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books
  • books that compliment our year group themes
  • books that have been recommended by staff or the children themselves
  • books that are representative of different cultures, faiths and beliefs

There are between 15 and 30 recommended books for each year group that every child in school can borrow or access every week throughout the year.

If a child starts school with us in Nursery and then stays with us until Y6, they could have shared or read a minimum of 105 recommended books during their time with us.


Year 1 Sample Selection from the Reading List
Sample Y1 reading list


Year 5 Sample Selection from the Reading List
Sample Y5 reading list


Rhino Readers

Rhino Readers and Twinkl Phonics - the Decoding Dream Team. Rhino Readers is an exciting, original collection of engaging fully decodable books. Exactly aligned with Twinkl Phonics, the collection covers all levels; it’s the perfect reading scheme.

Rhino Readers Logo
  • Fully decodable books
  • Children will only encounter the sounds and tricky words they’ve already learnt at their stage of the scheme.
  • Stories that reflect the world in which we live, promote diversity, and keep 21st century readers turning pages.
  • A wide selection of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, quizzes and fabulous illustrations – they have it all!


Home Learning

Please ask your class teachers for a Twinkl Go code to access games, ebooks and further resources.