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Reading & Phonics at Oakham

Oakham has used the National Curriculum, EYFS curriculum and a phonics journey based on a blend of ‘Letters and Sounds’ and ‘Active Learn’ phonics resources and texts.  


The National Curriculum states that pupils should be taught to read fluently, understand extended prose and be encouraged to read for pleasure. Reading is singled out as having extreme importance in the curriculum and is split into two main dimensions: Word Reading & Comprehension (both listening and reading) 


It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education. 


Oakham aims to deliver on pupils’ entitlement through a combination of literacy lessons, guided reading, phonics teaching and shared reading


Early Years

  • WellComm Screening at point of entry in Nursery  
  • Children sorted into red, amber and green. Red and amber triggers intervention. 
  • Children work in listening groups. 
  • Progress tracked each term.  
  • Full Time Nursery will begin Phase 2 Phonics when appropriate. 
  • In reception, progress is assessed at the end of each phonic phase and children are grouped appropriately (Phonics Stages 2-4)
  • Children given a reading book on starting reception and these are based on sound assessments.
  • Guided reading books for Reception children who can blend and segment from spring
  •  In Reception, tricky words are taught through phonics and children progress to focus words when ready.
  • Planned writing opportunities taught daily through phonic sessions


Key Stage One

  • Phonic lessons to take place daily following school designed progression based around Active Learn Phonics Resources and Letters and Sounds. 
  • Children grouped into appropriate phases according to the needs and ability of the children. 
  • Sessions last for 25-minutes with a follow on phonics reading for a further 15   minutes. 
  •  Years 1 and 2 to complete daily phonics recording sheet to note participation and  attendance. This will be kept in Phonics Folders. 


Key Stage Two

  • Phonic lessons to take place 4 x per week in Year 3. Children will be working at either Phase 5 or 6. 
  • Sessions will be 45 minutes. 25 minutes of phonics teaching and then 20 minutes of phonics reading for Phase 5 children. 25 minutes of phonics teaching and 20 minutes of Guided Reading for Phase 6 children. Phase 5 children to complete 20 minutes of guided reading per week. 
  • Groups based on performance data at exit point of KS1 and baselining at entry point of KS2. 
  • Phonics planning will need be uploaded to SharePoint weekly. Teachers should plan for their own group and the group being led by their teaching assistant. 
  • Phase 6 children will aim to access Oakham Stage 3 spelling by the end of the academic year.  

Oakham phonics is based upon Letters and Sounds but has been revised in October 2021 to incorporate elements of Active Learn and Bug Club. We believe that this revised phonics delivery best delivers our objective of ensuring that phonics reading tightly fits with phonic teaching.


A copy of our phonics progression for Phases 2-5 ca be found in Appendix 2 of this document. A brief summary of progression is listed below: 


Phase 2: s, a, t, p, I, n, m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss 

Phase 3: j, v, w, x, y, z, zz, qu, ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er 

Phase 4: CVCC words, spelling words with two adjacent consonants 

Phase 5: zh, ph, wh, ay, a-e, eigh, ey, ei, ea, e-e, ie, ey, y, ie, i-e, y, ow, o-e, o, oe, ew, ue, u-e, u, oul, aw, au, al, ir, er, ear, ou, oy, eer, ere, are, ear, c, k, ck, ch, ce, ci, cy, sc, stl, se, ge, g,i g, y, dge, le, mb, kn, gn, wr, tch, t(tion), ss(ion), c(ial), ea, wa, o 

Phase 6
By the beginning of Phase Six, children should know most of the common grapheme– phoneme correspondences (GPCs). They should be able to read hundreds of words, doing this in three ways:
1. Reading the words automatically if they are very familiar.
2. Decoding them quickly and silently because their sounding and blending routine is now well established.
3. Decoding them aloud. Children’s spelling should be phonemically accurate, although it may still be a little unconventional at times. Spelling usually lags behind reading, as it is harder. (During this phase, children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.

The Oakham 'Reading Spine' 


The children are provided with a rich reading curriculum throughout their journey at Oakham. Our group reading sessions, class novels and independent reading all designed to foster and encourage a love of reading and expose children to a rich and varied diet of stories from many genres, times and cultures.


Class teachers will also use extracts from many other texts and authors as stimuli for writing units as well as others linked to topics in the wider curriculum.



Year 1

To support the transition to KS1, children will read and listen to  a range of works form the following authors:




Traditional Tales & Fairy Stories


Year 2 

The Tunnel  

Dear Greenpeace  

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs 

Harry the Poisonous Centipede's Big Adventure 

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me 


Year 3 

Mr Gum 

13 Story Treehouse  

Stig of the Dump.  

Why the Whales Came 

The Firework Maker’s Daughter 

Esio Trot 


Year 4 

The Iron Man 

How to Train Your Dragon 


The Snow-Walkers Son 


Year 5 

Kensuke’s Kingdom 

Beetle Boy 

The Explorer 


Year 6 

Selection of Real Reads including: 

 A Christmas Carol, Frankenstein, Dracula, Moby Dick, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, A Study in Scarlett, All Quiet on the Western Front, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Great Expectations, Hamlet, Huckleberry Finn, Jane Eyre, Les Miserables, Oliver Twist, Silas Marner, South, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Mayor of Casterbridge, The Moonstone, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Sign of the Four, The Time Machine, The Woman in White, The War of the Worlds, Tom Sawyer, Wuthering Heights,  


Our approach to reading aims to engage the children through using quality texts, understanding characters and the development of plots. Find out how you can help your child develop more as a reader, when reading with your child at home, by taking a look at our 5 Ps flyer below...

Spelling at Oakham 

Our Ethos


We strive to make the teaching of spelling both enjoyable and purposeful. It is our hope that no child will leave school with gaps in their spelling knowledge but instead embark on the next steps along their educational journey full of confidence and ambition. Our aims include:


  • embedding knowledge
  • developing personal spelling strengths
  • stimulating curiosity about word discovery
  • promoting responsible application during independent learning
  • testing playing a reduced role
  • developing vocabulary
  • removing fear

Learning to Spell (Strategies to try!)

KS1 Spelling Practice at Home - Top Tips & Ideas