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Valley Primary School Year 1 and 2 Literacy Evening. Care ~ Learn ~ Aim High Be honest ~ Work together Enjoy what we do Look after what we have Improve on our previous best. What this evening is about….

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Valley Primary School Year 1 and 2 Literacy Evening

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Valley Primary SchoolYear 1 and 2

Literacy Evening

Care ~ Learn ~ Aim High

Be honest ~ Work together

Enjoy what we do

Look after what we have

Improve on our previous best


What this evening is about…

  • To give an outline of what we do at Valley Primary School in Year 1 and 2 in Literacy.
  • To provide you with suggestions of ways to support your child at home.

What does Literacy look like in Key Stage 1 at Valley School?


Big Write

Literacy lesson


Guided Reading




What is phonics in Year 1 and 2?

In Reception the children have been taught the names and sounds of the letters of the alphabet. They know how to blend those sounds together to read simple words. They are also taught to segment simple words to spell them. They begin to learn some digraphs – where two letters make one sound. They have also been taught that some words are ‘tricky’ and cannot be blended in the same way as regular words.

In Year 1 and 2 we build upon this by teaching the children the different graphemes that make one sound, and also the different sounds that can be made by one grapheme. As this knowledge builds up the children can tackle a wider range of new words when reading and spelling. The reading and spelling of tricky words continues to be taught.



  • blend (vb) — to draw individual sounds together to pronounce a word, e.g. s-n-a-p, blended together, reads snap
  • cluster — two (or three) letters making two (or three) sounds, e.g. the first three letters of 'straight' are a consonant cluster
  • digraph — two letters making one sound, e.g. sh, ch, th, ph.
  • vowel digraphs comprise of two vowels which, together, make one sound, e.g. ai, oo, ow
  • split digraph — two letters, split, making one sound, e.g. a-e as in make or i-e in site
  • grapheme — a letter or a group of letters representing one sound, e.g. sh, ch, igh, ough (as in 'though')
  • grapheme-phoneme correspondence (GPC) — the relationship between sounds and the letters which represent those sounds; also known as 'letter-sound correspondences'
  • mnemonic — a device for memorising and recalling something, such as a snake shaped like the letter 'S'
  • phoneme — the smallest single identifiable sound, e.g. the letters 'sh' represent just one sound, but 'sp' represents two (/s/ and /p/)
  • segment (vb) — to split up a word into its individual phonemes in order to spell it, e.g. the word 'cat' has three phonemes: /c/, /a/, /t/
  • VC, CVC, CCVC — the abbreviations for vowel-consonant, consonant-vowel-consonant, consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant, and are used to describe the order of letters in words, e.g. am, Sam, slam.


We follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document which sets out the teaching of phonics in 6 phases. Children develop their ability to recognise sounds and to blend or segment using these sounds at different rates so within each year group we split the children and teach them the phonics phase that is appropriate for them.

  • Phase 2 – Mainly single letter graphemes. Blending and segmenting CVC (consonant – vowel - consonant) words. E.g. d o g

Reading simple captions.

  • Phase 3 – Introducing digraphs. Blending and segmenting words using these digraphs. E.g. chain

Reading and writing sentences using these words.

  • Phase 4 - Reading and writing words with consonsant clusters. E.g.

t e n t c r e ss t r ai n s p r ing



  • p
  • Phase 5 – Learning all the alternative graphemes that represent a sound, including the split digraph. Reading and writing two or three syllable words.

E.g. try bright slide find replied

Reading and writing sentences using these words.

  • Phase 6 focuses on developing spelling skills and introducing some grammar rules. E.g adding suffixes to words (____ed, ____ing, ___s, ___ ful, _____er, ____est, _____, _____y)
  • Learning strategies for spelling long words

By the time the children leave Year 1 most children will have been taught Phase 5, but some may still need to consolidate the skills of the previous phases along side this new learning.

In year 2 the work focuses on consolidating the reading and spelling of Phase 5 words as well as teaching Phase 6.

Please see the hand-out for a detailed break-down of the Phases.



Phonics is a daily 20-30 minute lesson.

It is fast and pacey and split into four parts. This allows the children to consolidate their previous learning, be introduced to new learning, practise this new learning then apply it to a meaningful context.


Reading non-words (nonsense words) that can be blended by the children but then don’t make a real word are used regularly in lessons. This shows how well the children can apply their knowledge of graphemes and their blending skills to a completely unfamiliar word.

At the end of Year 1 all children take the Phonics Screening Test which assesses the children’s ability to decode both real and non words. We will provide more information about this in Summer Term.


Literacy lesson

The daily lessons are a mixture of whole class learning on the carpet and group work at tables.

Whole class teaching may be shared reading and discussion, speaking and listening activities, drama activities and shared writing.

Group work might guided by the teacher /teaching assistant or be independent, might be individual, paired work or a group task.

Recording might be a long piece of writing, or a short task focusing on word or sentence skills.


Big Write

This is based on the premise that IF A CHILD CAN SAY IT, A CHILD CAN WRITE IT.

We currently set the Big Write every fortnight. This is a whole morning session. The first hour is the teaching input and fast, fun, lively, oracy based activities, linked to what’s expected in their writing, to get the children thinking and talking. The children also get planning time in this session.

After break the children come back into the classroom which is set up ready for them to do a long piece of writing – lights are dimmed, candles flicker and Mozart music is playing softly. Children then have up to 45 minutes to write. This time is broken up to allow them time to check their work as they write.


10 mins

Check your punctuation!

40 mins

Check your targets!




BIG Writing


30 mins

Check your openers and connectives.

20 mins

Check your WOW words!



Uplevel this sentence.

The boy ran.

In pairs, discuss why I like this sentence:

The light dimmed. I took a glance at the beast, whilst I still had time.

Identify the parts which have been uplevelled.



Spellings are set weekly. There is a weekly spelling test where your child is set up to 10 spellings. The words are chosen to consolidate or extend the learning the children are doing in their phonics lessons that week.

In Year 2 these are set on a Wednesday and tested on the following Wednesday.

In Year 1 these will be set on a Tuesday and tested on the following Monday.

There are lots of ways to practise spellings – different ways suit different children. E.g.

- Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check

- Make the word with magnetic letters, mix it up, put it back together.

- Write the word then draw the sound buttons beneath. s p r i n g

- If it is a tricky word, underline the parts of the word that are irregular.

- Write the word with your finger on your hand, leg, on someone’s back!


Guided Reading

Guided Reading is a session from 9:00-9:30am where the teacher sits with a small group of children and together they read from a set of the same books which match their reading ability. At the end of the session, children are set a follow-up task which they complete independently the following day.

There are 5 activities each week on rotation for Early Work. As well as the Guided Reading session and follow-up work, children also complete a tasks such as handwriting, phonics work, times tables practise, a numeracy task, work on the computers or IPC research or independent reading.



At Valley we follow the Nelson handwriting scheme. A handwriting task is set each week in the 9:00am – 9:30am Early Work session. Early work tasks are done on a rotation so each group will complete a handwriting task during the week.



School & Home



In the home …

What can I do at home to help

my child with their reading?

10 steps to supporting your child’s reading!



In the home …

  • 1. Choose a quiet time

Set aside a quiet time with no distractions. Ten to fifteen minutes is usually long enough.

  • 2. Make reading enjoyable

Make reading an enjoyable experience. Sit with your child. Try not to pressurise if he or she is reluctant. If your child loses interest then do something else.

  • 3. Maintain the flow

If your child mispronounces a word do not interrupt immediately.

Instead allow opportunity for self-correction. It is better to tell a

child some unknown words to maintain the flow rather than insisting

on trying to build them all up from the sounds of the letters. If your

child does try to 'sound out' words, encourage the use of letter sounds

rather than 'alphabet names'.



In the home …

  • 4. Be positive

If your child says something nearly right to start with that is fine. Don't say 'No. That's wrong,' but 'Let's read it together' and point to the words as you say them. Boost your child's confidence with constant praise for even the smallest achievement.

  • 5. Success is the key

Parents anxious for a child to progress can mistakenly give a child a book that is too difficult. This can have the opposite effect to the one they are wanting.

Until your child has built up his or her confidence, it is better to keep to easier books. Struggling with a book with many unknown words is

pointless. Flow is lost, text cannot be understood and children

can easily become reluctant readers.



In the home …

  • 6. Visit the Library

Encourage your child to use the public library regularly.

  • 7. Regular practice

Try to read with your child on all school days. 'Little and often' is best.

  • 8. Communicate

Try to communicate daily with positive comments and any

concerns about reading in your child’s ‘reading record’. Your

child will then know that you are interested in their progress and

that you value reading.



In the home …

  • 9. Talk about the books

There is more to being a good reader than just being able to read the words accurately. Just as important is being able to understand what has been read. Always talk to your child about the book; about the pictures, the characters, how they think the story will end, their favourite part. You will then be able to see how well they have understood and you will help them to develop good comprehension skills.

  • 10. Variety is important

Remember children need to experience a variety of reading

materials eg. picture books, hard backs, comics, magazines,

poems, and information books.



In the home …

  • Talk! Spoken sentence structure and vocabulary development will underpin children’s ability to write in sentences as they progress through the school. Sing songs, tell stories, talk as they play, recall a favourite TV programme, ask questions.
  • If your family speak an additional language encourage the development of speaking and listening in your home language.
  • Once your child is writing words and sentences by themselves, encourage them to ‘sound out’ rather than ask for correct spelling of every word.


In the home …

Writing For a Purpose

  • Share your own purposes for writing. Encourage children to write shopping lists, birthday cards, postcards. Praise efforts, go at your child’s own pace, correct letter formation takes time and is hard work!

Useful links

If you are free to come and support some of our young readers in school then please fill in our sign up sheet.