Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 follow the synthetic phonics approach, using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. It’s an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words. Terms and concepts. Children in Reception also use ‘Jolly Phonics’ actions to go with the sounds.

Our daily phonics sessions in Reception are fun, involving lots of speaking, listening and games. The emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play.

At Burrsville Infant Academy, we use a synthetic phonics programme called Letters and Sounds.

Letters and Sounds is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. There are no big leaps in 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’ – words with spellings that are unusual or that children have not yet been taught. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’ – you can’t really break the sounds down for such words so it’s better to just ‘recognise’ them.

Phase one will have begun in nursery. This phase paves the way for the systematic learning of phonics. During this phase especially, we plan activities that will help children to listen attentively to sounds around them, such as the sounds of their toys and to sounds in spoken language. We teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs and read good books to and with the children. This helps to increase the number of words they know – their vocabulary – and helps them talk confidently about books. The children learn to identify rhyme and alliteration.

Ways you can support your children at home

  • Play ‘What do we have in here?’ Put some toys or objects in a bag and pull one out at a time. Emphasise the first sound of the name of the toy or object by repeating it, for example, ‘c c c c – car’, ‘b b b b – box’, ‘ch ch ch ch – chip’.
  • Say: ‘A tall tin of tomatoes!’ ‘Tommy, the ticklish teddy!’ ‘A lovely little lemon!’ This is called alliteration. Use names, for example, ‘Gurpreet gets the giggles’, ‘Milo makes music’, ‘Naheema’s nose’.
  • Teach them ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers...
  • Watch the video below to help you learn the correct pronunciation of all the sounds.



We use a combination of reading schemes. These include Oxford Reading Tree, Floppy’s Phonics, Ginn, Rigby Star and Bug Club all are linked by colour bands (please see the guide below showing the order of the colours). These give a variety of fiction and non–fiction books to develop children’s reading range. Children learn to read at different rates. Once they finish the reading scheme, we encourage them to become ‘free readers’ and choose their own books.














A new National Curriculum came into effect from September 2014, and the Department for Education no longer expects schools to use levels when assessing pupils' attainment.


Because of these changes, the information below is out of date.  We are working on new materials to help you support your child.  In the meantime, it would be a good idea to think about the information and ideas listed below for the next year group - so if your child is in Year 2, look at the information for Year 3/4 (Level 3)


If you are unsure about how to support your child, please ask a teacher in school.


All children work at different levels in different subjects depending on their strengths.  They also work at different rates:  boys, for example, tend to increase their rate of progress in Key Stage 2.



When we refer to expectations, it's important to remember this.  At Burrsville Infant Academy, our teaching is based around the individual child:  whilst we consider what the broad national 'average' would be, we also very closely consider personal targets and rates of progress.  For example, a very able child is challenged to carry out work in a different way or at a different level.  This way, all our pupils are expected to make good progress and achieve their potential.



National Curriculum levels


When the National Curriculum was created, national expectations were also set in place. These are known as ‘levels’. Levels are quite broad ‘averages’. They can be made more precise by referring to a low, middle or high level, in the following way:


In primary schools, the majority of pupils begin Year 1 (the start of Key Stage 1) working at around Level 1C (a ‘low’ Level 1). From this point, they are expected to work broadly at the following levels:


Summer term, Year 2 (the end of Key Stage1)


  • pupils work at around Level 2B or 2A (a ‘middle’ or ‘high’ Level 2)
  • more able children might achieve a Level 3C / 3B


Reading levels


Some key characteristics of the different levels of reading are shown below. You can use these to support your child, but they should not be used to make a decision about what level your child is working on because they are not the sole criteria.


Working at Level 1


Children can:


  • Identify the main events and characters in stories, and find specific information in simple texts
  • Make predictions showing an understanding of ideas, events and characters
  • Recognise the main elements that shape different texts eg lists, comic strips with speech in bubbles, ‘once upon a time’ to show the start of a fairy tale
  • Explore the effect of patterns of language and repeated words and phrases
  • Select books for personal reading and give reasons for their choices
  • Visualise and comment on events, characters and ideas, making imaginative links to their own experiences
  • Distinguish fiction and non-fiction texts and the different purposes for reading them


Working at Level 2 (a typical Year 2 child)


Children can:


  • Read independently and with increasing fluency longer and less familiar texts
  • Give some reasons why things happen or characters change
  • Explain organisational features of texts, including alphabetical order, layout, diagrams, captions, hyperlinks and bullet points
  • Explore how particular words are used, including words and expressions with similar meanings eg ‘gasped’ and ‘shouted’
  • Read whole books on their own, choosing and explaining their choices
  • Explain their reactions and feelings to texts, commenting on important aspects eg which of the characters would be a good friend and why?


Working at Level 3 (a typical Year 3 or Year 4 child)


Children can:


  • Work out a character’s reasons for behaviour from their actions eg why did the character start to shiver?
  • Explain how ideas are developed in non-fiction texts eg what was this section all about and how was it different to this section?
  • In non-fiction texts, use knowledge of different organisational features of texts to find information effectively
    • eg use headings and sub-headings, captions and the index
  • In fiction texts, explain how writers use language to create images and atmosphere
    • eg why did the writer describe the dog as ‘bouncing around like a ball’?
  • Read extensively favourite authors or genres and experiment with other types of text
  • Explore why and how writers write eg through online contact with authors (check out Jeremy Strong’s website, or the official Horrid Henry one!)


  • Compare how writers present experiences and use language eg compare the Horrid Histories series (Vile Victorians, for example) with a typical non-fiction book and even a fictional story set in Victorian times






Burrsville Infant Academy
Craigfield Avenue, Clacton-On-Sea, Essex, CO15 4HR
Telephone: 01255 425106 | Fax: 01255 433093