Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds (phase 1 and 2) and progressing through to the most complex (phase 5) – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7.

Almost all those who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and most importantly to read for enjoyment. 

Our aim is that pupils at Dunston Primary and Nursery School will secure automatic decoding skills and progress from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ for purpose and pleasure.

The scheme used in school is LCP phonics. Staff follow and adapt these plans to meet the needs of our pupils in a practical and engaging way. Pupils work in small, streamed groups daily to help ensure individual needs are met.


Children are taught how to:

— recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;

— identify (‘segment’) the sounds that different combinations of letters go together to make - such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’;

blend all these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

use their phonic knowledge to both read and write words


At the end of Year 1, children’s phonic knowledge is assessed using the Phonics Screening Check. This is a short, simple assessment to make sure that all pupils have learned phonic decoding to an appropriate standard by the age of 6. All Year 1 pupils in maintained schools, academies and free schools must complete the check.

The phonics check will help teachers identify the children who need extra help so they can receive the support they need to improve their reading skills. These children will then be able to retake the check in Year 2. 



At Dunston Primary and Nursery School we have a clear, consistent, whole school approach to reading which sets high expectations and offers pupils a rich environment to develop their skills. Competence in reading is the key to independent learning and is given the highest priority, enabling the pupils to become enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers. Success in reading has a direct effect upon progress in all other areas of the curriculum and is crucial in developing subject knowledge, use of language, spelling skills, self-confidence and motivation. 

Pupils are encouraged to read for both pleasure and knowledge acquisition, promoting their wider reading and understanding of extended prose. We celebrate our love for different authors with an ‘Author of the Term’, shared reading of class novels and various book events throughout the year. Each class has an inviting reading area, enriched with a variety of fiction and non-fiction books with a wide range of different authors, and books are labelled with coloured bands to help children choose an appropriate level of text. Children are regularly assessed to make sure that they are reading at the right colour level. 


Reading Level Colours Information.


We encourage children to read at home regularly. As they progress through school, it is particularly important that children talk about what they have


 read, in order to develop their understanding. Here are some ideas about how to help at home:


  • Hold a conversation and discuss what your child has read. Ask your child probing questions about the book and connect the events to his or her own life. For example, say "I wonder why that girl did that?" or "How do you think he felt? Why?" and "So, what lesson can we learn here?" This document has some useful questions to ask before, during and after your child reads with you.

  • Help your child make connections between what he or she reads and similar experiences they have felt, saw in a film, or read in another book.

  • Help your child monitor his or her understanding. Teach them to continually ask themselves whether they understand what they are reading.

  • Help your child go back to the text to support his or her answers.

  • Discuss the meanings of unknown words, both read and heard.

  • Read material in short sections, making sure your child understands each step of the way.

  • Discuss what your child has learned from reading information such as a science book or magazine.



Here at Dunston we believe Literacy skills are essential to our pupils’ ability to understand, interpret and communicate about the world and with each other. We teach them that writing is the ability to effectively communicate ideas, information and opinions through the printed word, in a wide range of contexts by offering the opportunity to store information for later retrieval, to interact with others, to reflect and to express ideas creatively. Skilled writers understand the characteristics of writing’s many forms, and are able to adapt their style to suit a wide range of purposes and this is nurtured through each pupil’s learning journey. We facilitate this with an inspiring curriculum, high expectations, enriched opportunities and a clear purpose as to why they are writing.


We model writing and support children to:


Develop a cursive style of handwriting (see here for videos showing how we teach children to form letters).

Develop independence and understanding to make word and sentence choices.

Match the style of their writing to a wide range of audiences.

Structure their writing so that it is coherent.

Understand and develop their spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Make the meaning of their writing clear to the reader.

Develop and extend their vocabulary so that they are able to express their ideas in writing and can engage the interest of the reader.

Enjoy and get excited by writing, recognising its value in the wider world.


Expectations are high and pupils develop through objectives, progressing in terminology and application of skills.


Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG)

In line with the increased focus on grammar in the new curriculum, spelling, punctuation and grammar skills are taught daily, as part of Literacy lessons. Children are encouraged to apply their skills across their writing and across the curriculum.


Here is a guide to the grammar terminology taught in each year group.



We assess all children regularly to measure their progress and achievements across the curriculum.

In the summer term, children in Year 2 and Year 6 take SATs tests in reading, maths and SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) to assess whether they are working at National Curriculum age-related expectations for the end of their key stage. All tests in Year 2 are marked by the teacher to support their own assessments. Year 6 tests are externally marked, although the teacher also submits their own judgements. Writing in both year groups is assessed by the class teacher rather than by a test.

You can find copies of past test papers for both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 here




Dunston Primary and Nursery School, Dunston Lane, Newbold,Chesterfield, S41 8EY
Tel - 01246 450601


Designed and maintained by Mike Dent 2015



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