Phonics at Leechpool Primary

In the Early Years and in Key Stag 1 we use ‘Song of Sounds’ which is a hands-on systematic synthetic phonics programme that meets the needs of all the children in an engaging way. The children take part in four short sessions a week; culminating in a longer session on Friday where they apply all the skills they have learned to a range of games and activities. The children start each session with a song and have regular visits from ‘Felicity the Phoneme Fairy’ to provide them with their next challenge! 

Reading at Leechpool

 At Leechpool Primary School, we believe in developing a reading culture throughout the school.  Welcoming book areas can be found in all classrooms containing a range of genre. The school library, although small, hosts a variety of new books, and we aim to raise the profile of reading, promoting the written word at all times.

 We hold an annual Book Week at the beginning of each year where pupils can enjoy a range stories in school, find out about new books and share stories with pupils from other year groups in shared reading sessions. We also get the opportunity to dress up as a book character. Later on, in the year we celebrate International Book day.


In Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, the children are taught to read using Songs of Sounds Phonics Programme. This teaches children to decode text phonetically by introducing them to different phonemes (sounds) step by step. As the children learn their sounds they also learn to blend them to read unfamiliar words. Once children are secure with their first set of initial sounds they move onto reading basic sentences (short passages) and books, which allow them to put this knowledge into practice.

 We have a large selection of National Curriculum Book Band texts available in our Early Years Reading Area and Key Stage One Reading Area many linked to the different phonic phases taught, others to high-frequency words. A range of picture books are included within some colour bands. Children are encouraged to use the illustrations to verbally create their own stories. Using talk to stimulate imagination and clarify ideas is an important, ongoing skill which supports your child’s reading development.   Children read books from a colour band in accordance with their reading ability. They are assessed regularly to ensure they are reading within the correct colour band and their books changed regularly.

 In Key Stage 2 children are encouraged to take an active part in developing their reading choices in discussion with their teacher. We are constantly endeavouring to update the titles to include recent publications and offer a range of titles to tempt all tastes and students are encouraged to recommend titles to their peers.

 Throughout all key stages, children have daily access to group/class guided reading sessions, where texts are explored with a particular focus i.e. use of vocabulary and structure of different text types.

 Parents are an integral part of the children’s ‘reading journey’. We encourage children to read at home on a daily basis and communication between school and home is recorded in a ‘Reading Record ’ book. Parents can attend meetings about how to help their child’s reading at home.

 We are delighted that we have volunteer readers from the Volunteer Reader Scheme and members of our community who come and read with children both individually and as a group.


The whole school is working on extending writing - but we can't do this without help from family and friends.


In preparation for "The Extended Write" we need you to talk to the children about a different topic each week.

We call this "talk homework"

We have noticed that the children who regularly do their talk homework are really benefiting from it! They already have ideas when they come into school and can then spend more time working on vocabulary, punctuation, conjunctions and sentence openers, which can raise the standard of their writing. Thank you!

"Time to Talk"

Information for Parents

Talk to me please!

Why is talk important?

1. We talk to get things we need or want: jobs, shopping, medical help, other help and friendships.

2. Talk is our language on paper. The better we can talk, the better we can write.

3. The more words we know and the greater variety of words we use, plus our confidence in using language influences how well we succeed.

What is talk homework?

1. I will bring home a TALK homework weekly.

2. The TALK homework slip will tell you what the talk topic for homework is. Please turn off the TV and spend time talking to me.
The following are ways we could make our talk last longer and be more interesting:

  • Each give our own opinions on the subject.
  • Use the ‘because’ word to explain why we think that.
  • Discuss why other family members not present might have a different idea.
  • You could make links with how things were when you were young, or when your parents were young.
  • Discuss whether things may be different in the future.
It’s good to talk. Here are some other times when we could talk together:

1. We could talk in the supermarket (or on the way) about:

  • Things we can see
  • Places things come from
  • How things have changed over time
  • Guess how much things will cost and see who wins
  • Guess how much the final bill will be and see who wins
  • Who people you spoke to are and how you know them
2. Travelling to school and other places, talk about:

  • What we see
  • Where we are going
  • What we expect to see or do
  • How we are feeling today
  • What we are looking forward to
  • Things that have happened in the news
What else can we do?

1. Use unusual WOW words. These are big words or interesting words. Tell me what they mean if I do not know.

2. Play games with me, especially some of the more old fashioned games like board games and card games.

3. Play lots of word games with me. These are especially good when we are travelling or waiting for something. Here are some ideas:

  • Give a WOW word in a sensible sentence and I have to guess what it means
  • Give an adjective (describing word) and then in turn we have to give more that have a similar or opposite meaning
  • How many? Can we find? Take turns beginning with ABC (Boys names, girls names, animals, countries, capital cities, seas and oceans)
What is a special bedtime?

1. Once or twice a week, have a special bedtime (if bedtime is not like this already).

2. Snuggle on the bed beside me, or sit close by.

3. Talk to me about what I or we have been doing since school finished.

4. Talk to me about your day. Did anything funny happen?

5. Ask me about my day. Did anything funny happen?

6. What was the best thing about today?

7. Talk with me about tomorrow or the rest of the week:

  • Is anything exciting or interesting going to happen?
  • Am I looking forward to something?
Please look out for your child’s talk homework every week and work with them to complete it.

If you have any questions please come and talk to your child’s class teacher.

We know lots of you already do lots of the above, thank you for your continued support.