Skip to main content

Our Approach

#931 Reading and Phonics at Dale Hall

Jo Gowers

What did we do?

A competitive reading game and Jolly phonics worksheets on a daily basis with two Y3 children who could not read or recognise words or letters. Both children were reluctant to try and read their books as obviously below the level of the books of their peers. So using phase 2 and 3 words I invented a game where they had to sound out and read the words to me. If they got it right they got to keep the word, if they got it wrong I kept the word. Each word was repeated at least twice during the game. I ensured that there were always sounds they could recognise so that they could “easily” win against me.

They began to celebrate their success with the whole class and were beaming with pride that they were able to beat me. This gave them the confidence to read and within weeks because of the one to one intensive support and daily repetition they began to recognise and retain more and more words and were able to move to the next level phase words. I also did two or 3 Jolly Phonics worksheets with them a day taking phonics right back to the basics and starting from SATPIN.

It’s so easy and fun beating you Mrs Gowers, you really should practice more! Can we play again?

Summary of impact

I would always try to do the interventions in the mornings or straight after lunch as any later and the boys did not have the ability to focus as well and could not remember as much the next day.

The children began to read and were able to progress to the next level.

Steps taken

I identified the gaps in the boys’ phonics knowledge and recognised that they themselves knew that their reading ability was well below their peers and therefore did not want to read the “baby” books. I also recognised that because both boys had learning barriers, focus issues, and difficulties in reading and the belief that they could not read, I would have to do something daily, in short bursts that was fun and give them the confidence to think I can read.

I bought a Jolly Phonics workbook that started from the basics of SATPIN but did not appear too babish. We did some pages (as many as the boys willing and able to each day) everyday together in a group away from the other children. This was done in a very calm way and without the need to be right or wrong or answer questions.

I then invented the word game using the phase 2 and 3 words. The boys played the game separately with me so as not to compete against each other and to ensure the words were tailored to their own needs in terms of reading level, working memory issues and ability to focus. Sometimes the boys asked if they could play together and “gang up on me” and beat me together, when they asked if we did this as an additional game.

The boys were given stickers as rewards and told to challenge other members of staff to see if they could beat them with certain words….the boys thought this was amazing that they could beat others than just me and were extremely happy how the staff members praised them and made out that they were disappointed to be beaten by the boys.

What would we do differently

I would always try to do the interventions in the mornings or straight after lunch as any later and the boys did not have the ability to focus as well and could not remember as much the next day.

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Sensory Circuits - St Marys Catholic Primary Ipswich

Supporting Behaviour and SEMH to reintegrate into the classroom - Grange Primary School

Identifying Emotions and Managing Self-Regulation - St Joseph's Catholic Primary

Maths Interventions for Inclusion and SEND - The Willows Primary

Ready to Learn - The Beeches Primary

Philosophy Sessions - Harwich Community Primary School & Nursery

Supporting anxiety in children and parents - Spring Meadow Primary School

Securing Engagement Through SEL - Clifford Road Primary

Securing Engagement - Spring Meadow Primary

The Learning Behaviour Lead role - Ravenswood Primary School

Putting EEF "Learning Behaviours" guidance into action - Halifax Primary School

Securing Engagement - Alton Park Junior School

Removing the literacy barrier to learning - Clacton County High School

Wellbeing Workshops - Westbourne Academy

1-1 Support to Improve Engagement and Grades - One Sixth Form

Improving Behaviour with Projection Education - Trimley St Martin Primary School

Establishing a nurture space - The DEN at Trimley St Martin Primary School

The Inclusivity of EAL families within our School Community. - St Margaret's Primary School Ipswich

EAL Parental engagement at Northgate High School

Being a Learning Behaviour Lead - Ipswich Academy

Improving Handwriting - Clacton Coastal Academy

"Club Aspirations" improving self esteem and confidence at Rushmere Hall Primary

Improving learner confidence in handwriting and spelling - Clacton Coastal Academy

Improving behaviour and engagement in a nurture group - Alton Park Junior School

Tackling lunchtime dysregulation and classroom focus - Castle Hill Primary School

Finding the right intervention to support engagement - Murrayfield Primary Academy


Jo Gowers, Dale Hall