Helping your child

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At Someries Infant School, early reading is taught using synthetic phonics as the main approach to reading. Pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds all through the word for reading, and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. Children are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but are also taught how to read high frequency words which do not completely follow the phonic rules.

Here is a video explaining how each phoneme (sound) is articulated:


The school follows the government published programme 'Letters and Sounds' to teach phonics.

Phonics is taught from Nursery and is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning.

Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’, which are words with spellings that are unusual.

Phase One (Nursery and Reception)

The aim of this Phase is to foster children’s speaking and listening skills as preparation for learning to read with phonics. Parents can play a vital role in helping their children develop these skills, by encouraging their children to listen carefully and talk extensively about what they hear, see and do.

Phases Two to Four (Reception)

Phase Two is when systematic, high quality phonic work begins. During Phases Two to Four, children learn:

  • How to represent each of the forty-two sounds by a letter or sequence of letters
  • How to blend sounds together for reading and how to segment (split) words for spelling
  • The letter names
  • How to read and spell some high frequency ‘tricky’ words containing sounds not yet learned (for example ‘they’, ‘my’, ‘her’ and ‘you’)

The Letters and Sounds Programme we use suggests an order for teaching the letters. We recognise, however, that children’s personal experience of letters varies enormously. Most importantly, we ensure that phonics is taught and practised at a pace that is suitable for individual and groups of children.

Phase Five (Year One)

Children learn new ways of representing the sounds and practise blending for reading and segmenting for spelling.

Phase Six (Year Two)

During this phase, children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.

Phonics workshop resources

We hold regular phonics workshops in school in which the following resources are provided. If you are unable to attend one of these workshops, please use the links below to read our family support materials.

Click here to view our phonics screening check workshop presentation

Click here to read our phonics guide

Click here to read our reading guide

Mr Thorne does phonics

Ask the Owl!

Oxford Owl is a free website built to help you with your child's learning. It provides a wide range of fantastic support for reading and mathematics, including over 250 free e-books.

To access Oxford Owl, please click on one of the following links.

Oxford Owl reading

Oxford Owl maths


Reading with your child is vital. Research shows that it is the single most important thing you can do to help your child’s education. It’s best to read little and often, so try to put aside some time for it every day.

Think of ways to make reading fun – you want your child to learn how pleasurable book can be. If you’re both enjoying talking about the content of a particular page, linger over it for as long as you like.

Books aren’t just about reading the words on the page, they can also present new ideas and topics for you and your child to discuss.

Our tips for helping your child enjoy books:

  • Encourage your child to pretend to ‘read’ a book before he or she can read words.
  • Visit the library as often as possible – take out CDs, DVDs, comics and games as well as books. Details of your local library can be found here.
  • Schedule a regular time for reading – perhaps when you get home from school or just before bed.
  • Buy dual-language books if English isn’t your family’s first language – you can talk about books and stories, and develop a love for them, in any language!
  • Look for books on topics that you know your child is interested in – maybe dragons, insects, cookery or a certain sport.
  • Make sure that children’s books are easily accessible in different rooms around your house.

Click here to read more information about how to introduce books to your baby and young child

Handwriting and letter formation

Fluent, neat and joined handwriting relies on letters being formed in the correct way and from the correct starting point. At Someries Infant School we ensure that children are all taught this consistently by teaching weekly short and focused handwriting sessions.

To support the development of handwriting, the school uses handwriting guidelines in all writing books, as well when modelling writing in lessons on flip chart paper and interactive whiteboard backgrounds.

Your child is taught how to form each letter according to the guide below from Nursery. It is important children form each letter correctly as this will support them well when they begin to join their handwriting in Year Two. Please encourage your child to use the correct letter formation when completing homework activities or any other writing activities at home (for example writing greetings cards).



Try to make mathematics as fun as possible – games, puzzles and jigsaws are a fantastic way to start. It is also important to show how we use mathematical skills in our everyday lives and to involve your child with this.

Identifying problems and solving them can also help your child develop mathematical skills. If you see him or her puzzling over something, talk about the problem and try to work out the solution together.

Don’t shy away from mathematics if you didn’t like it at school. Try to find new ways to enjoy the subject with your child.

Our tips for helping your child enjoy mathematics:

  • Point out the different shapes to be found around your home.
  • Take your child shopping and work out how much things cost.
  • Let your child handle money and work out how much things cost.
  • Look together for numbers on street signs and car registration plates.

The way in which your child is taught mathematics is likely to be very different from how you experienced the subject in school. Our calculation policy identifies how we teach addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in school.

Click here to view our mathematics presentation materials for reception parents and carers

Click here to read our calculation policy

Click here to read our mathematics guide

If you have any questions or concerns about what your child is learning in mathematics do not hesitate to speak to their class teacher.

Help your child be epic at maths!
Give your child a head start in mathematics: everything parents need to know about Numeracy development from 0-6 with fun activities you can build into everyday life and play can be found by visiting this CBeebies website.

Homework reinforces what your child is learning in school. It also gives you a chance to become involved in the learning process.

At Someries Infant and Nursery School, all children take a book home from the classroom library every day – try to read the book together every night. As well as reading with your child, you are also politely asked to complete their Reading Record regularly which helps track your child’s reading progress.

Remember, the time your child spends on homework is less important than his or her understanding of it.

As well as our ‘formal’ homework, children are asked to talk to their families about what they have learned in school. This can be the most valuable homework of all, especially if you show interest and play an active role by asking your child questions about their day.

Our tips for good homework habits:

  • Do find a quiet place at home to use as a homework area. It needs a flat surface, a good light source and the correct equipment, for example pencils, ruler, scissors and glue.
  • Do be aware of modern teaching methods.
  • Do plan a homework timetable and agree on when your child will do their homework.
  • Do allow your child to have something nutritional to eat before starting their homework.
  • Do discuss any homework tasks with your child and how it connects with what they are learning at school.
  • Do turn off the television – but you could have music on if they find it helpful.
  • Don’t give you child the answer in order to get a task finished. Instead, explain how to look up information or find a word in a dictionary.
  • Don’t teach your child methods you used at school. It could confuse them.
  • Don’t let homework become a chore. Keep it fun and make it a special time that you both look forward to.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s homework do not hesitate to speak to their Class Teacher.