Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School

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Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School

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Early Reading Through Phonics

Early Reading through Phonics


As a school, we use Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics, as the core resource for our Phonics teaching. Letters and Sounds builds the knowledge and skills pupils require systematically. It is proven as a strong base for the teaching of phonics: the outcomes of its use within the school supports this (phonics outcomes consistently in excess of National Average since the introduction of the Year 1 phonics screening assessment).


Educational research demonstrates that pupils learn best through mixed teaching strategies, and as a result, we use employ visual, auditory and kinaesthetic methods to support our phonics teaching. As Letters and Sounds does not have its own series of visuals, rhymes and actions, the school uses the Jolly Phonics Rhymes, Visuals and Actions to extend its teaching of phonics to ensure that all learners are catered for. The school identified these resources as the most appropriate complement to Letters and Sounds as they are readily accessible and available to parents.


The Letters and Sounds is a six phased scheme which we use from Nursery through to Year Two.




Year 1

Year 2

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Phase 4

Phase 5

Phase 6






No-Nonsense Spelling


Phase 1 – Alliteration, Rhythm and Rhyme and Sounds – links clearly to and support development of Attention, Listening and Speaking in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum


Phase 2 – speaking and listening activities continue - teaches at least 19 letters and moves pupils on from oral segmenting and blending to blending and segmenting with letters. By the end of the phase many children should be able to read some VC and CVC words and to spell them either using magnetic letters or by writing the letters on paper or on whiteboards. They will also learn to read some high frequency or tricky words.


Phase 3 – extends the knowledge of the 19 letters and teaches another 25 graphemes, most of them comprising of two letters (e.g. oa), so that pupils can represent each of about 42 phonemes by a grapheme. Pupils continue to blend and segment words to support reading and spelling simple two-syllable words and captions.  More tricky words are learnt and pupils begin to learn how to spell these.


Phase 4 – the purpose of this phase is to consolidate children’s knowledge of graphemes in reading and spelling words containing adjacent consonants and polysyllabic words. (Pupils will be able to represent each of 42 phonemes by a grapheme. They will be able to blend phonemes to read CVC words and segment CVC words for spelling. They will have some experience in reading simple two-syllable words and captions. They will know letter names and be able to read and spell some tricky words.)


Phase 5 –the purpose of this phase is to broaden pupils’ knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know, where relevant. Some of the alternatives will already have been encountered in the high-frequency words that have been taught. When word spelling they will learn to choose appropriate graphemes to represent the phonemes and begin to build word-specific knowledge of the spelling of words.


Phase 6 – pupils should know most of the common grapheme– phoneme correspondences (GPCs). They should be able to read hundreds of words, doing this in three ways:


  • reading the words automatically if they are very familiar;
  • decoding them quickly and silently because their sounding and blending routine is now well established;
  • decoding them aloud.


Pupils’ spelling should be phonemically accurate, although it may still be a little unconventional at times. Spelling usually lags behind reading, as it is harder. During this phase, children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.


It must always be remembered that phonics is a step up to word recognition and the ultimate goal is the automatic reading of all words – decodable and tricky.


In Nursery, phonics is taught through a range of speaking, listening and attention based activities.


In Reception and Year 1, daily phonics sessions take place that follow the pattern: Revisit, Teach, Practise and Apply.


In Year 2, pupil who have not ‘passed’ the year 1 phonics screening  take part in tailored catch up sessions with our Inclusion Lead. While in class, the pupils look to extend their reading and spelling skills through Guided Reading sessions.


As our pupils move on into year 3, spelling is taught spelling through the ‘No-nonsense Spelling’ scheme. Research demonstrates that this scheme dovetails into Letter and Sounds Phase 6 seamlessly. As a result, pupils in Year 2 are also exposed to this scheme alongside Letters and Sounds to support transition to the Year 3 curriculum.


At all points, tracking and monitoring ensures children are provided with a variety of reading books to support their reading. These books are age and stage appropriate and they enable us to meet the individual needs of our pupils while catering for their interests.

Places still available for Reception Class in September 2022 - Follow us on Twitter at @SacredHeartTedd - See About Us, School Information for Prospective Parents for a virtual tour and more information.