Reading & Phonics


Research proves that children who enjoy reading, do better at school in all subjects.

We all know that reading together with your child is so important. It increases literacy skills and much more - it helps to build a strong and loving relationship between you and your child. It's never too early to start reading with your child and it so important to read with your child throughout their primary school years.

Children at Horsenden bring books home weekly and children from Year 1 through to Year 6 visit the school library, weekly. There are also local libraries throughout Ealing with the closest one to school being Wood End library on Whitton Avenue West, which has many children's and adults books, including dual language texts. It also has free Internet access. 

There are also good websites to support parents and carers in knowing what to read and what questions to ask and how to read with children.

  • Words for life - This website is created by the National Literacy Trust and has sections from birth to age 11. It has suggestions of books to read, age appropriate milestones and fun activities to do with your child. 

  • Book Trust - The Book Trust also has some useful tips and hints for parents and carers including competitions to win books. They also have some useful information for parents translated into different languages here


Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully.

They are taught to:

  • recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  • identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make- such as ‘sh’ or ‘ay’; and
  • blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.

At Horsenden we follow the Read Write Inc programme (RWI), developed by Ruth Miskin for all children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. Children from Nursery up to Year 2 take part in daily phonics sessions.  Any pupils in KS2 who need to catch up rapidly will participate in RWI Fresh Start.


Year 1 Phonics Screening

At the end of Year 1, children will undertake a statutory phonics screening check. This is a short assessment to make sure that children have learnt phonics to an appropriate standard.

There are 40 words in the screening check which children are asked to read on a one-to-one basis with their teacher. The check is made up of 'real words' (eg. 'mud') and 'non-words' (eg. 'splog') and children need to apply their phonic knowledge to read all words.

Preparation for the check takes place during the daily phonics session, but you can help your child at home by practising phonics on a regular basis.

For more information about Read Write Inc. and how you can help at home click here.

Please see document below for a full list of Speed Sounds sets 1-4 and their mnemonics.