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St Mary's
Church of England Primary School

A learning community dedicated to building
respectful and responsible citizens and empowering all learners.

Bug Club

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  Dr. Seuss|


At St Mary's C of E Primary School, we have chosen to use Bug Club Phonics, a comprehensive teaching programme and DFE approved systematic synthetic phonics scheme.


The scheme follows a proven progression and research has found that children have made significantly more progress in reading than those not following the scheme. Not only has Bug Club been found to be successful academically for children, but it has also been shown to increase positive attitudes to reading and a great motivator for reluctant readers, boosting children’s confidence and enjoyment of reading right at the beginning of their reading journey.


The Bug Club Phonics programme follows the teaching sequence of letters and sounds and lessons are structured in the same way each day with an introduction, revisit, teach, practise and apply element to every session, providing the children with consistent routines that they can become familiar with.  Throughout the programme, teachers supplement the provided materials and embed the taught skills through a range of activities that they have identified to be successful. This helps to secure essential phonic knowledge and skills as well as ensuring the lessons are fun, interactive and engaging.


Decodable Reading Books

It is crucial to allow children the opportunity to practise their blending skills and to consolidate their knowledge learnt in each phonics session. Alongside our phonics teaching, we therefore use the Bug Club Phonics decodable reading books that have been written specifically to match the order in which grapheme-phoneme correspondences are introduced in class. These books are fully decodable, which means that every word in the book can be read using just the children’s developing phonics knowledge. For example, when the graphemes s, a, t, p, i, and n are taught at the beginning of phase 2, the children’s decodable books would contain words with only these sounds. Not only does this allow children to embed and secure their phonics knowledge, but it also allows them to experience success. This in turn builds their confidence, motivation and enthusiasm for reading.


Reading at home

Children will experience the most success in reading when school and home work together. Children learn about the importance of reading as they watch family members use reading and writing for everyday purposes. Reading for pleasure, sharing stories at home or using a recipe shows them that reading is a useful skill. Research shows the importance of reading on a daily basis in developing children’s use and understanding of vocabulary and reading at home will enable them to practise and solidify their skills learnt at school.


At St Mary's we therefore aim to create a strong link with parents in order to facilitate and support their reading journey at home. As children begin the structured phonics programme in Foundation Stage, parents are invited to a phonics workshop to explain how their children will be taught to read and how to support them at home. This will also be repeated at the beginning of year 1, in order to outline the next progression steps in their child’s phonics journey and also explain the year 1 phonics screening check. 


Our school’s chosen phonics scheme supports teachers in enabling them to provide children with effective learning at home. There are instructional videos with demonstration lessons and how to pronounce the pure sounds. These are produced by teachers and are available for parents and carers to access.


Teachers will assign specific decodable e-books enabling the children to read books at home matched to their phonics learning. Physical books will be available to any families who are not able to access online versions. As well as assigning new books, they will encourage the children to re-read books that they have read at school, because we know that repetitive reading strengthens children’s understanding of the text and allows them to develop a deeper understanding of phonemic awareness. Each time a child reads without stumbling, the reading process becomes more enjoyable and their success will provide great confidence. Providing additional support where needed is vital, and through the Bug Club online portal teachers are able to personalise home learning with allocated online catch up activities as well as assigning phoneme revision sessions.