St Margaret's CofE

Primary School

A welcoming village school in the of the Rottingdean community

Literacy - Phonics, Reading and Writing


Your children have come home with sentence writing books.  Please encourage them to use them, focussing on using the words in the box and writing a sentence to go with the picture.  They are not limited to one sentence, if children want to write more than one, or even a story about it.  This should be encouraged!  When children are writing, we expect them to use their phonic skills to write unknown words, but 'tricky words' such as to, be, me, the etc are expected to be written correctly.  Children who have been at school this week have all got their 'Tricky Word Books' filled up with all 8 cards, regardless of where they currently are.  I have also put a sheet here for them to refer to. 


As wrong as it may feel, a typical sentence from a Reception child may look something like this...


Jack went up the been stork and sor a big carsll.




This is fine and should be encouraged.  Children have also been sent home with a Phase 2 and 3 sound mat that they should refer to if they can't remember how to write a sound.  Sounds made of 2 letters are called digraphs and sounds made of 3 letters are called trigraphs.  They are familiar with this language.



 In Reception we focus on Phases 2 and 3.  As we progress through the year you may find that in time your child is ready to move on to Phase 4 where no new sounds are taught but the words are longer and contain more consonants.  Phase 5 is a phase that is taught in Year 1.    If you are unsure of the pronunciation of phonemes, please refer to the video below.




In a few weeks, we will send a reading book home. This is a book with words and text that are appropriate for the child's reading level and so they will be able to decode it themselves using the phonics strategies they learn in school. We read with the children in school regularly and adjust the level of books they take home accordingly. 


Further reading at home

We have created an account at Oxford Owl so that you and your children can access age appropriate reading books. 

Please look on the back of the books that come home with your child to see which book band they are on.  You may feel that they have made good progress and need to be moved up a level.  There is a diagnostic tool on the website as well.  However, before you do move your child on please be aware that reading isn't just about being able to decode the words fluently.  It is also about being able to make predictions, answer questions and read with expression.  If your child is still sounding out every work and not recognising repeated words or tricky words, then they are not yet ready to move on.

There is just one log in for the whole class. 


Log in at


Username: yrstmrottingdean

Password: schoolisfun

Tricky word mats