School Logo

Bearbrook Combined School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust


Early Reading at Bearbrook


Curriculum Intent

At Bearbrook Combined School we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that Phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. The systematic teaching of Phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, and we acknowledge that children need a rigorous, well-planned Phonics programme that is delivered consistently throughout the school by trained staff. We offer a structure and sequence of lessons to help teachers ensure they have covered the skills required to meet the aims of our Phonics programme, and these lessons are supported by a vast range of quality resources. We also value and encourage the pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills.



Curriculum Implementation 


Through the teaching of Phonics following the Rising Stars programme, the children are taught the essential skills needed for reading. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Reception and Key Stage One. Phonics teaching is systematic, engaging, lively and interactive.


Each Phonics session includes the following elements:

  • Recap – revise the previous graphemes and common exception words.
  • Teach - introduce a new grapheme and common exception word. Reading of words with the new sound to be included.
  • Practise – an activity to practise the new grapheme taught that day to secure knowledge.
  • Apply – write the new grapheme and common exception word. Where appropriate words and sentences using the new grapheme are written.


Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is delivered in a whole class format because it enables staff to ensure application across subjects embedding the process in a rich literacy environment for early readers.


Daily Phonics interventions are in place for the lowest 20% of children in the class, these focus on pencil grip and making marks on paper, letter formation, recap of graphemes and common exception words, and blending and segmenting. Phonics interventions also take place for children that are exceeding in Phonics to ensure they are being challenged. Extra support is provided to those children in Year 2 who have not passed the Phonics screening in Year 1. Extra support is also given to children in Year 3 who finished Key Stage One being below the expected age-related standard in Phonics.


Teachers regularly assess the pupil’s Phonics knowledge using our Phonics assessment. These regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning.


The children have reading books (including online access) which match their current Phonics level and which they are encouraged to read regularly at home. We promote our school philosophy by ensuring that the books we share with our children are diverse, inclusive and of high quality.




What does this look like in the classroom?


Reading Planet has been designed to run alongside the teaching of phonics.

Within the reading scheme, there are three series of books which include:


  1. Rocket Phonics (to help children to practise phonemes - various stories)
  2. Comet Street Kids (to apply and consolidate any newly learnt phonemes - character based fiction books)
  3. Galaxy (to apply and consolidate any newly learnt phonemes - Non fiction books)


Children will bring two books home – a decodable book that supports their individual journey in phonics using the Rising Stars scheme and a book to share at home.  This will either be from the classroom or the library and is one that promotes a love of reading.  The children will also have full online access to a library of books at home.

Curriculum Impact

We believe that the impact of using our Phonics scheme will ensure that our children have a good grasp of phonological knowledge and understanding. Through the teaching of systematic Phonics and staff’s high expectations, our aim is for all children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. Attainment in Phonics is measured by the Phonics screening test at the end of Year One. It is our aim that parents will have a clear understanding of how Phonics is taught throughout the school and the impact it is having on their children. They will also understand how to further support their children with this learning at home.

Rising Stars KS1 Reading Scheme




If you would like more information please see Rising Stars Guide To Reading With Your Child.