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09-09-2022 - Years 1 and 2 - Phonics: Decodable Readers

9th September 2022

Phonics: Decodable Readers

Dear Parents/Carers,


As you may know, Phonics is the method used in primary schools to teach children to read and is an essential part of early education. Children are taught to use their phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words.


Ofsted highlights the need to support developing readers by providing them with ‘decodable’ reading books that are closely aligned to their developing phonic knowledge. As a result, at Whitehouse, we will no longer be following the reading colour band scheme and have instead moved to fully decodable readers/books.


What are decodable readers/books?

They are books that contain decodable words and common exception words (tricky words), which means children can read them using just their phonic skills and knowledge.


They introduce the graphemes in a step by step progression that will reflect the sequence of sounds that we teach in school. They only include letters and words that have been taught and your child is already familiar with. This approach ensures that children are successful when they apply existing phonic knowledge to the text. They do not have to resort to guessing or using other inefficient “clues” such as the picture on the page.


Your child’s teacher has been busy assessing your child to make sure that they have a decodable book that they are confident to read. This will be sent home next week.


It may appear that your child has been ‘moved down’ a colour band but please don’t worry. As we introduce the new scheme, we need to ensure that your child is completely confident with all of the letters and words in the book, quickly identify any gaps and then they will continue reading books matched to their current phonic phase.

How can I help my child at home?


It is really important to listen to your child read for at least 5-10 minutes every day. Please sign the reading record every time you listen to your child read at home.


Helpful Tips:

  • Give them lots of praise – celebrate their success and where necessary their perseverance!
  • If they can’t read a word, allow them time to use their sounds to build it up, where necessary help them to build the word.
  • After they have finished, talk about the book together to aid their comprehension.


Should have any further questions, please ask your child’s teacher.


Thank you for your continued support.



Miss Bias and Mrs Evans

(Phonics Leads)