Testimonial from Cheadle Heath Primary School, Stockport (April 2022) 

After using Reading Planet Rocket Phonics in Year 1, Cheadle Heath Primary School recently implemented the Next Steps programme in Year 2. 

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We have been really excited to be a part of the Rocket Phonics trial and have seen a huge impact on the way we deliver phonics, the way children read and their new-found enthusiasm for phonics lessons. Ofsted (Dec 2021) were impressed with phonics and early reading at Cheadle Heath and commented on the thorough understanding and structured approach of all staff.

When we were given the brand-new Year 2 lesson plans and pupil booklets to trial in the Spring Term we felt like Christmas had come early! Because it follows the same format as the Year 1 material, it was very easy to pick up and deliver which developed staff confidence. The children instantly knew how to access the work and were excited by the ‘jump in’ expectation – reading and spelling in one lesson. We were surprised that instead of being turned off by more work they saw it as a challenge and one they were happy to take on.  As teachers we love the way that aspects of grammar, spelling and handwriting are interwoven into the scheme allowing all these elements to be addressed without having to find more time within an already stretched timetable. 

The use of the online Big Books and reading library has seen a big improvement in the teaching of early reading this year. This is largely due to the resources being so well matched and easy to access that less time is spent planning effective lessons and allocating appropriate reading materials. Rocket Phonics makes the links between phonics, reading, comprehension and vocabulary seamless. The programme is very well resourced and the resources are bright, fun and engaging, I can honestly say that as a teacher of 20 years I have learnt more about the delivery of phonics in the last 10 months than I have in all the years previously. I feel more confident in my delivery and as such this makes my lessons more effective and relevant to the children in my care. 

I took a few children from across Year 2 to ask their opinions on the Rocket Phonics they have been trialling (they began by doing Year 1 to fill gaps left by COVID closures). Here are their opinions:

  • ‘I like Rocket Phonics because I like the big story books’ Jenson 

  • ‘I like having a workbook to do my phonics in and doing the same activities each day’ Lauren (EAL) 

  •  ‘I like doing the handwriting – it makes mine look awesome’ Marshall

  • ‘I think phonics is easy now because I know what to do each day and I just need to know the sound or the grapheme I am focusing on.’ Payton  

  • ‘I like the big books and the guided reading we do.’ Alexandra 

  • ‘It has really helped me to get better at reading and spelling.’ Lilly  

  • ‘I like doing the sound / grapheme search and try to beat my teacher who always misses some out (I think she does it on purpose)’ Emma 

Louise Johnston, EYFS / Key Stage 1 Phase Leader

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