The Edward Betham C of E Primary School

Phonics and Early Reading



At Edward Betham we believe that reading is the foundation of all learning which allows children to access all areas of the curriculum successfully.  We present it to children as a valuable and rewarding experience.  Our aim at Edward Betham is to promote strong reading skills and fluency through a consistent approach to phonics teaching. Our pupils learn to read using the Rocket Phonics phonics programme, which includes teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words, as well as spelling and accurate letter formation.  Rocket Phonics is a well structured programme and all pupils progress through the programme at the same speed.  Catch up interventions allow those pupils who need more support to keep up. Our Rocket Phonics reading scheme  matches the phonics scheme. Pupils read books which reflect the phonics that they have learnt in school. Guided Reading books which match the book bands are used throughout EYFS and KS1. We promote the love of reading through our daily story time and the use of high quality texts in our English curriculum. Children are able to borrow books from our school library or reading corner to read for pleasure. 


  • Children begin developing their understanding of sounds in Nursery. The children prepare for phonics by taking part in teacher-directed activities which focus on listening to, listening for and making sounds
  • Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are taught Phonics using the Rocket Phonics systematic synthetic phonics programme
  • Rocket Phonics lessons follow a Review, Teach, Practice and Apply whole class mastery style structure.
  • Our phonics lessons are taught daily for 30 minutes across Reception, Key Stage 1 and, catch up groups in KS2
  • Teaching uses a combination of digital and printed resources, along with a fully matched series of decodable reading books
  • At the heart of the programme, are the digital-only ‘Big Books’, which consist of language-rich stories to teach all the target letter-sounds in context
  • Detailed termly assessments allow teachers to track pupils with rigour to identify and respond to their individual learning needs
  • Catch up intervention groups are put in place for those children who need additional support
  • The Phonics Screening Check is administered in June of Year 1 with a re-check in Year 2, if required
  • Children in Years 1 and 2 have four sessions of Guided Reading each week. Pupils are placed in a group which matches their reading band and read books linked to the Rocket Phonics reading scheme and complete various tasks linked to their reading book. This may involve making a prediction, answering retrieval questions, understanding new vocabulary, exploring the character and setting or relating the text to their own lives.
  • Staff regularly promote a love of reading through engaging story times, high quality English texts and visits to the school library. 


Through the teaching of the Rocket Phonics systematic synthetic phonics programme, most children  become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Teachers can focus on developing fluency, comprehension and inference skills as they move through the school. Termly assessments provide detailed knowledge of the children’s level of understanding and any gaps in the children’s knowledge are addressed promptly. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. At Edward Betham, children are enthusiastic and motivated readers who are confident and enjoy reading a wide variety of genres and text types.