Phonics at Junction Farm

Phonics information

At Junction Farm Primary School we strive to ensure all children become successful, fluent readers and writers by the end of Key Stage One. We believe children can achieve this through a combination of strong, high quality, discrete phonics teaching combined with daily opportunities for remembering fundamental reading and writing skills.

At Junction Farm, our Phonics programme has been developed using a sequenced series of daily lessons by reviewing, introducing, practising and applying new sounds. We have designed our very own, well-planned scheme which validates the systematic synthetic approach to teaching phonics. The Junction Farm Phonics Scheme has been designed and scaffolded from Early Years to KS1 for children to have a rooted knowledge of all sounds. There is a structured route, inspired from Letters and Sounds, which children follow in their year groups. Children are provided with high quality teaching and reading books that help them decode sufficiently to become fluent readers.

All trained adults, including parents, will support children to use their phonic knowledge in everyday life, to enrich their reading for both pleasure and information. To ensure children have the opportunity to practise and apply the phonics they have been taught at school, phased tricky words are sent home alongside phonetically decodable books and they have access to Teach your Monster to Read and Phonics Play online.

For children who risk falling behind, teachers redeliver the sound in smaller groups.

Children at Junction Farm will crack the phonics code with confidence and accuracy, offering children a solid base for reading and writing for Key Stage 2 and beyond.

Parent Phonics Workshops

Throughout the school year, we offer after-school parent workshops. It is encouraged for all parents to attend a workshop as they offer guidance on understanding the systematic synthetic approach to phonics at Junction Farm.

We want to ensure that parents are helping children read at home, and they have a secure knowledge of phonic sounds and blending skills. Ultimately, helping all our children be successful readers.

Videos of the sounds are also available on the website for you to access at home for guidance.

The Phonics Test

Phonics screening tests take place when the children are in Year 1. This usually happens at the beginning of June and consists of 40 words that children have to blend and read. The pass rate is usually around 32 or 33 out of 40 but this can differ year to year. If your child is unsuccessful at passing the phonics screening test, they have another opportunity to take the test in Year 2.

What is the phonics screening check?

This is a quick check of how the children have responded to synthetic phonics as a strategy for developing their ability to read. It is a statutory requirement and it involves your child decoding words using only their phonic knowledge. It helps us to confirm whether they have met the expected standard for a child at the end of Year 1. The children have been fantastic throughout this process and it has been made as enjoyable as possible!

How does the check work?

  • Your chid is asked to read 40 words aloud to a teacher who is known to them.
  • Your child may have read some of the words before, while others would have been completely new.
  • The check took only a few minutes to complete and there was no time limit.

Meeting the expected standard

The check is scored out of 40 and the pass mark in the pass has been out of 32. This is subject to change.

All children, regardless of their mark, will continue to access phonics learning until the end of Y2 at least. If your child did not achieve 32 marks or more, they will be given additional support in phonics to help them to improve. The nature of this support will vary depending on how close to the threshold they were, and they will be checked again later in the year.

Can I help my child with phonics?

Children make the best use of their understanding of phonics when they are given plenty of encouragement and learn to enjoy reading a wide variety of books and other forms of writing. Parents play a very important part in helping with this. Please see overleaf for some simple steps to help your child learn to read through using phonics successfully.

Strategies for supporting your child in reading through phonics:

  • Ask your child’s class teacher about the school’s approach to teaching phonics and how you can reinforce this at home. For example, their teacher will be able to tell you which letters and sounds the class is covering in lessons each week.
  • When reading, encourage your child to ‘sound out’ unfamiliar words and then blend the sounds together from left to right, rather than looking at the pictures to guess the word. Once your child has read an unfamiliar word you can talk about what it means and help him/her to follow the story.
  • Try to make time to read something with your child every day and encourage other family members and friends to do the same. Support your child to blend the sounds together all the way through a word.
  • Keep reading all the time, wherever you are, including the school holidays when children don’t have a home reading book from school. Look for as many opportunities as possible to encourage your child to use the skills they are learning – menus and leaflets and on-screen text can stimulate children to want to practise their phonic knowledge.
  • Word games like ‘I-spy’ can also be an enjoyable way of teaching children about sounds and letters as can talking about all the words which surround you, from road signs to shopping lists. If children become aware of the uses of reading, they become much more interested in practising what they know.

Reading at Junction Farm

Here are some top tips to help during reading sessions with your child at home:

  • Read and write with confidence, fluency, understanding and for enjoyment
  • Be able to use a full range of reading strategies e.g. phonics, word recognition, graphic knowledge, picture and context clues as well as higher order reading skills
  • Have an interest in books and read for enjoyment, to gather information or as a tool for providing them with a wealth of texts and story patterns for their own writing
  • Develop the skill of and stamina for silent reading
  • Develop imagination and critical awareness through reading the best examples of traditional and modern literature
  • Have experience of group, shared and individual reading
  • Use reference materials (including ICT) with confidence and for a range of purposes

Please also refer to your child’s personal reading bookmark if your child is accessing reading bands LILAC to LIME. If your child reaches a target please make reference to this when completing your child’s online Reading Log so there teacher is aware and can look for further evidence of this in class.

Reading skills are developed through:

  • Providing a wide range of reading materials and opportunities for children to read, selecting books for information or entertainment
  • Use of structured reading schemes from a range of authors and publishers which have been placed on to a colour band system
  • Daily guided reading sessions (planned and differentiated) including approaches such as VIPERS and PALS
  • Opportunities to develop levels of interference and deduction through approaches such as VIPERS and PALS
  • Shared reading sessions across the curriculum
  • A home school lending scheme where books are changed at least on a weekly basis
  • Choice of free readers – allowing children to be challenged and access texts across genres
  • EAL, Dyslexia, Star Reads in order to provide provision for all (challenge and support)
  • Intervention work where regular one to one reading support is given to children who are not yet able to access the age appropriate colour band independently – use of REACH, LEXIA and Teach Your Monster to Read
  • Daily systematic synthetic phonics lessons for all children in EYFS and KS1 until they are secure in Phase 5.
  • Access to phonics lessons in Key Stage 2 for those children who have not yet cracked the phonics code, or if sections need to be re-visited and consolidated
  • Teaching of early language skills in Foundation Stage – CCL
  • Working in partnership with other schools that are part of the Vision Learning Academy to promote higher achievers (e.g. Year 6 children participating in weekly reading lesson with a colleague from Egglescliffe Comprehensive)
  • Engaging in local and national initiatives such as Stockton Children’s Book of the Year
  • Participating in author visits promoting a love for reading
  • Book swap stations to promote a love for reading
  • Year 6 reading mentors (each child is allocated an adult in school to read with 2x 10 minutes each week. This is to ensure Year 6 children read regularly and with focus).
  • Reading competitions such as Junction Farm Read Everywhere

If you have any concerns about your child’s reading please book an appointment to see your child’s teacher.

You can view our phonics policy here.

Reading Spines at Junction Farm

At Junction Farm Primary School, we have developed a ‘Reading Spine’ of core, high quality texts for each year group from EYFS to Year 6. Teachers have carefully chosen a selection of books that sit at the very core of the curriculum for their own year group. The books sometimes link to our topics but not always. They are shared with all children in different ways – they may be read to the children, used a stimulus for writing in English lessons or during Guided Reading lessons.




Book Author
Fantastic Mr Fox (Spring 2) Roald Dahl
Katie Morag Delivers the Mail (Summer 2) Mairi Hederwick
Traction Man (Autumn 1) Mini Grey
Toby and the Great Fire of London (Autumn 2) Margret Nash
The Magic Paintbrush Gareth Edwards
The Disgusting Sandwich Julia Donaldson
Theres a Rang-Tan in my bedroom James Sellick
Rapunzel Sarah Gibb
The Antlered Ship Dashka Slater
The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark Jill Tomlinson
Meerkat Mail Emilie Gravitate



Book Author
Middleworld J&P Voelkel
The Ickabog J K Rowling
The Fire Maker’s Daughter Philip Pullman
Window Jeannie Baker
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Rick Riordan
The Little Match Girl Hans Christian Andersen
Chasing Tornadoes! Michael McGuffee and Kelly Burley



Book Author
Viking Boy Tony Bradman
Shackleton’s Journey William Grill
The Unbelievable Biscuit Factory James Harris
The Griffin Gate Vashti Hardy
A Kind of Spark Elle McNicoll
The Midnight Guardians Ross Montgomery
The Ghost of Gosswater Lucy Strange
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe C S Lewis
Rose Blanche Roberto Innocenti
The Nowhere Emporium Ross MacKenzie

Focus Poets at Junction Farm

At Junction Farm Primary School, we have developed a ‘Poetry Spine’ of core, high quality poetry for each year group from EYFS to Year 6. Focus poetry has been carefully chosen by teachers and sits at the core of our curriculum. Poetry is taught across subjects and not just in English lessons for example some poems are explored through performance, dance, art or music, whilst others through writing or discussion. Each term children become familiar with at least one key poet.

Additionally, we follow a ‘poetry twice a week’ system. After assembly, twice a week, a new poem, or old favourite, is shared by the teacher, a child or a group performing. We also enjoy listening to poets reading their own work.

Ensuring that children have poetry read to them on a regular basis over the years increases their familiarity with poetry’s many possibilities.

Our focus poets in each year group are:

How we ENJOY READING at Junction Farm

World Book Day March 2021

We love taking part in this national event every year.  The best thing about it is sharing the books we love to read, our favourite characters and information.  We always have a whole school focus which we can all enjoy together, for example, we all did work around the book, ‘The Journey’ and last year we did a poetry focus.  We listened to poems, staff read their favourite poem and we wrote poems.

We also invited children to read a part of their favourite book so they could share with us what they enjoy reading.


Mr Men and Little Miss Read-a-Thon

We hosted a sponsored Mr Men and Little Miss Read-A-Thon to raise money to further develop the School Reading Scheme.

On this day, we encouraged all children to come dressed up as their favourite Mr Men or Little Miss character to celebrate 50th years of the book collection. All children took part in the fun run within their class dressed as their characters and also took part in ‘Stop and Read’ intervals throughout the day. KS1 and KS2 were asked to bring in a book from home to read for the ‘Stop and Read’ intervals), whilst Nursery and Reception listened to stories read by their teachers.


Film from a book event

We love how reading takes our imaginations on journey to different places.  We imagine the characters, settings and facts in action.  We hosted a film from a book event to explore how other people’s visions of books were turned into live action on screen.  We specially selected books which were at the right interest level for both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 and invited the children to attend the screenings.  We had the lights low, the snacks and comfy cushions ready, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Junction Farm Read Everywhere Competition

We launched an exciting reading competition for children to participate in over the Summer Holidays. We asked to see all the wonderful books that the children were reading and the exciting places that they were visiting. The winners have had their pictures printed on canvas and are on display in school!


Lockdown Storytime

During lockdown we missed sharing our love of reading, so we had to find a different way to ensure everyone could enjoy a good book and share our passion for wonderful stories with us.  The teachers selected one of their favourites and filmed themselves reading it.  We hope you enjoy the stories!

Stick Man –

Barry the Fish with Fingers –

Year 6’s Virtual Meeting with Author – Tony Bradman

Year 6 learnt all about the Vikings and the class text for the half term was ‘Viking Boy’ by Tony Bradman. They were very lucky to be able to have a virtual discussion with Tony Bradman.

He talked through his inspirations for the book, his writing experiences and his top writing tips. The children asked Tony a range of interesting questions and there was time for Tony to read two chapters of Viking Boy. It was a brilliant session and Year 6 couldn’t wait to continue the book to find out what happened!

Phoenix from Y6 said: “I enjoyed learning about how he wrote Viking Boy and how long it actually takes to write a book! I feel a lot of respect for authors because of it. I really enjoyed it.”

Reading Areas

We believe that part of developing a culture in school which fosters a love of reading for enjoyment, it is important for our classrooms to have enticing areas which pull you in and invite you to read.  We try to make our reading areas comfortable places where choosing a great book is easy and you want to stay and get lost in a book.

Here are some examples from across school.


The Masked Reader


We believe reading should be enjoyable.  To help promote this, we held a Masked Reader competition.  The teachers left clues about who they were by describing their favourite books. These were linked to the teachers’ interests and personality as well as what they are renowned for reading to their year groups.

If you would like to know more about how we promote the love and enjoyment of reading, why not visit our Facebook page.  Here you can see videos of children reading and many more lockdown stories.