Owen Square, Walmer, Deal
Kent CT14 7TL

See on

01304 372486


The Downs Church of England Primary School

Reading and phonics

Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will learn to do.  Reading is a life skill that enables them to develop their learning across the wider curriculum and lays the foundations for success in future lines of study and employment. This is why at The Downs CE Primary School we work hard to make sure our pupils become confident, fluent readers and develop a love of books.

Early reading is taught using a synthetic phonics programme called Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.  This programme draws on the latest research into how children learn best; how to ensure learning stays in children’s long term memory and how best to enable children to apply their learning to become highly competent readers. The highly structured programme is taught through daily lessons across Reception and through to Year Two. Key Stage 2 pupils who require further support in phonics, continue with dedicated phonics sessions. Our pupils are taught:


  • Letters are symbols that represent phonemes (sounds)
  • A phoneme may be represented using 1, 2, 3 or 4 letters e.g. d-o-g , s-t-r-ee-t, n-igh-t, d-ough.
  • The same phoneme may be spelt in more than one way e.g. rain, break, gate, stay.
  • Many phonemes can represent more than one sound e.g. head, seat, break.
  • How to blend the phonemes to read the word.
  • How to segment words to identify the phonemes to aid their writing.


Pupils are taught to use their blending skills as their first approach to reading, but also taught high-frequency words which do not completely follow phonic rules. They read fully decodable books which are carefully matched to their phonic skills. During small group reading sessions our pupils develop their decoding, prosody and comprehension skills. Once they become efficient readers they choose books themselves and are supported by our staff as they explore and analyse a range of genres and authors. We analyse texts using our seven reading skills to ensure our pupils understand what they have read and can participate in book talk where we discuss, debate and share our opinions.


 As we acknowledge how closely reading and writing are intrinsically linked, we endeavour to provide a text-based approach to our teaching of writing, using quality texts as a stimulus. Each year group have a carefully selected list of books which are used to immerse tour pupils in their topics and our whole school themes.

At The Downs we will endeavour to provide outstanding reading experiences with exciting and inspiring learning opportunities that promote the importance of this lifelong skill.

 World Book Day 2023

We celebrated World Book Day with an entire weeks worth of activities! Children visited the book fair with their families, they were able to take part in a Book Swap Shop, enter a 'wooden spoon character' competition and dress up as a word!

Here are some of the staff's favourite stories....

World Book Day stories from our staff

Curriculum 2022-2023


Ebook access:
Little Wandle:



Reading progression