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What is Phonics?


Phonics means using the sounds of the letters in words (NOT the names) as the first strategy that children use to help them learn to read. Words are made up from small units of sound (phonemes) and phonics teaches children to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps them learn to read and spell words.

There has been a big shift in the past few years in how we teach reading in school. This is having a huge impact and helping many children learn to read and spell. Word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words (phonics).

Our Aim:

There are five phonic phases and our aim is that by the end of Year One most children will have an excellent understanding of the relationship between letters (graphemes) and sounds (phonemes). At the end of Year One children are then screened to determine how well they can use the phonics skills they’ve learned so far, and to identify children who need extra phonics help.

How we Teach Phonics:


The school uses the Letters and Sounds programme to teach phonics.


In the Foundation Stage phonics is taught daily at a dedicated time. The aim is for the children to have fun whilst learning to hear the sounds in words. In Foundation Stage two the children begin to learn that each sound has a corresponding grapheme (letter or group of letters like igh in night.


In year one and two children are grouped according to the phonic phase that they are working at. Year one also has an additional whole class phonic lesson in the afternoon.


A phonics lesson is about 20 minutes long and consists of four parts. Multi-sensory, interactive and FUN! It consists of:


REVIEW – Review recently and previously learned phoneme-grapheme correspondences.


TEACH - New phoneme-grapheme correspondences; the skills of blending and segmenting and tricky words.


PRACTISE - New phoneme – grapheme correspondences; skills of blending and segmenting.


APPLY - New knowledge and skills while reading/writing.




The Phonics Screening Check


The Phonics Screening Check is meant to show the children’s phonic knowledge. The checks consist of 40 words and non-words that your child will be asked to read one-on-one with a teacher. Non-words (or nonsense words, or pseudo words) are a collection of letters that will follow phonics rules your child has been taught, but don’t mean anything – your child will need to read these with the correct sounds to show that they understand the phonics rules behind them. For example: floop.


You can download the Department for Education's official Year 1 Phonics screening check past paper from 2012 and from 2013.




How Can You Support Your Child at Home?

  • Find out what phonic phase your child is working at. We are more than happy to give you any resources to help your child.

  • We use Lexia at school as additional phonics teaching support. If you have a computer you can use the Lexia programme at home. Please ask for details of how to download on to a computer or tablet.

  • Use phonics as the first strategy when your child gets stuck on a word.

  • Read with your child every day.

  • Give lots of praise and encouragement even if they are not quite right.



Please click the link to look at our Phonics handbook.