Townhouse Road, Nelson, Lancashire, BB9 8BP

Hendon Brook School

Reading & Phonics


We love reading!

 To enrich the reading experience we use a variety of reading material.

Children have the opportunity to read a range of book series here at Hendon Brook including:  Phonics Bug, ORT reading books, Big Cat phonics, Story World ,Rising Stars and Wolf Hill.

We also enjoy reading using the internet.  Every child has a Bug Club account which they use at school, your children can also access their Bug Club account on any computer outside of school that has internet access. Log on with them and share their reading experience as they read the story then answer questions about the story along the way to collect Bug points.

Helping your child read at home:

There are lots of different ways you can enjoy reading with your child. Practice learning the high frequency words in the reading record book and find them with your child in their reading book. Use the strategies suggested on the book band bookmark to generate questions about the book and inspire an interest in finding out.  Please record your child’s progress in their home reading record so that we can move them on when ready. 

Reading to them every day:

Just before they go to bed is a good time, but not in front of the TV.
Be enthusiastic about the story, or choose another.
Read through the story yourself first (it’s a big help if you know the story well, it can help you to lead up to the exciting bits and encourage joining in.
Decide good places to stop and ask; “What do you think will happen next?”
Decide which pictures to stop and talk about.

During reading:

Show your enjoyment, laugh, smile, look scared, look sad, sound excited, etc.
Run your finger along the line under the words as you read.
Invite the child to turn the pages over you may need to guide their hand at first.
Talk about the pictures.  “Can you see the wolf hiding?”



At Hendon Brook, we aim to develop pupils' abilities within an integrated programme of speaking and listening, reading and writing. Pupils will be given opportunities to interrelate the requirements of English within a broad and balanced approach to the teaching of English across the curriculum, with opportunities to consolidate and reinforce taught literacy skills.

We aim for all children to be able to:

  • write with confidence, fluency and understanding, orchestrating a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct.
  • have an interest in words and their meaning; developing a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms.
  • understand a range of text types and genres to be able to write in a variety of styles and forms appropriate to the situation.
  • develop the powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.
  • have a suitable technical vocabularly to articulate their responses.

How to help you child with writing:

Writing Skills

  • Handwriting 
  • Spelling 
  • Vocabulary 
  • Sentence Structure. 
  • “Punctuation!” 
  • Composition 

Before they start writing

  • Have they thought about and planned what to write?
  • Younger children should tell you what they will be writing.
  • Older children should jot down notes about what to put in each paragraph. 
  • Can they remember their own writing target to work towards? 
  • Do they have a sharp pencil or good pen and are they holding it correctly?
  • Is there a title, underlined with a ruler? 
  • Is the work dated? 

When writing

  • Ask them to sound out words they can’t spell phonetically and have a go. 
  • Remind them about the importance of handwriting and presentation. 
  • Remind them of their writing target. 
  • Refer them back to their writing plan to ensure they follow it (older children). 
  • Encourage them to use a thesaurus to improve their vocabulary. 
  • Remind them to include interesting detail or description in their writing. 
  • Remind them to use good VCOP (especially older children). (V=Vocabulary, C=Connectives, O=Openers, P=Punctuation).

After writing

  •  Ask them to read it aloud to you and check what they read is what is written. 
  • Ask them to check that all sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop. 
  • Ask them to check that all proper nouns (names of people, places, dates) have capital letters. 
  • Give them the opportunity to look up the spelling of any words they were unsure of in a dictionary and make corrections. 
  • Ask them to find an example of good vocabulary they are proud of. 
  • Ask them to judge whether they have met their writing target and show you where/how it has been achieved. 
  • Encourage them to make improvements and edit the writing if they are not entirely happy with it or think they can do better.



First of all, what is synthetic phonics?

English is essentially a code that can be encoded (written) and decoded (read). We need to teach children this code with as much emphasis as possible on the rules and regularities of the written language.

Children are taught that we can make a word from the sounds and then break it apart again when we want to spell it. 

Spelling and reading are taught together but children may be better at reading before spelling or vice versa. 

Written English is recognised as being a complex language. We have 26 letters but 44 phonemes in the spoken language. There are a huge number of letter combinations needed to make these 44 phonemes (a phoneme is the technical name for the smallest unit of sound).

Letters and Sounds

Letters and Sounds is a government produced synthetic phonic teaching programme.  Throughout the six phases children will be taught the 44 phonemes. 

What do all these technical words mean?

?What is a phoneme? ?

It is the smallest unit of sound and a piece of terminology that children like to use and should be taught.  At first it will equate with a letter sound but later on will include the digraphs. 

What is a digraph? 

This is when two or more letters come together to make a phoneme. /oa/ makes the sound in boat.

What is blending? 

Blending is the process that is involved in bringing the sounds together to make a word or a syllable and is how /c/  /a/  /t /  becomes cat.

What is a consonant blend? 

Previously, consonant blends were taught as if there was something special about them. Children were taught that /st/ was one phoneme, when actually it is two, /s/ and /t/.  Think about it.  Why teach /st/ when children already know /s/ and /t/, it just wastes time and clogs up children’s memory.

But note that sh is a diagraph. It cannot be made by a process of blending the two letter sounds of /s/ and /h/ together. 

We need to teach the digraphs not the blends.

No Nonsense Spelling

We also use the No Nonsense Spelling scheme to enhance your child’s learning further. This starts from Year 2 but Letters and Sounds is delivered in Key Stage 1 until children are confident with the sounds and can apply these in their writing successfully.  The Grapheme/Phoneme correspondence is also taught in Key Stage 2 first to ensure they have the skills to blend and segment words and learn the high frequency and common exception words on the lists suggested.