Evelyn CommunityPrimary School

‘Inspiring minds, nurturing dreams, learning for life’

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What is Phonics?


Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:

  • recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes (phonemes)
  • identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make, for example; ‘sh’ or ‘oo’
  • blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘decode’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.


Why Phonics?


Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way, starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex, it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read.

Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.


How Do We Teach Phonics?


It is our aim to teach all children to read by the age of 7. All practitioners are committed to delivering high quality phonics on a daily basis. A systematic synthetic phonics programme is taught through the use of a scheme – ‘Read Write Inc’.

Read Write Inc is a highly structured, rigorous and dynamic programme which engages and motivates pupils to learn through the five key principles; Pace, Praise, Purpose, Participation and Passion.


Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to sound-blend words for reading (decoding), at the same time as developing handwriting skills and spelling (encoding). Through the programme they will have the opportunity to read lively story books and non-fiction books with words they can decode, so they achieve early success in reading. The more sounds they know, the greater the range of texts they can read. The aim of Read Write Inc Phonics is for children to complete the programme as quickly as possible.


How Do We Assess Progression in Phonic Knowledge?


Children are assessed at the end of every half term so that their progress can be tracked. The assessments are cumulative which ensures that there are no gaps in their knowledge of sounds.

A phonics screening check is carried out at the end of Year 1, to assess children’s phonic knowledge and to establish whether pupils have made the expected progress.

All children are individuals and develop at different rates. The screening check ensures that teachers can personalise learning to support individual needs.


Helping Your Child With Phonics


Phonics works best when children are given plenty of encouragement and learn to enjoy reading and books. Parents play a very important part in helping with this.


Some simple steps to help your child learn to read through phonics: 


  • Ask your child’s teacher about the school’s approach and how you can reinforce this at home. For example, the teacher will be able to tell you which letters and sounds the class is covering each week.
  • You can then highlight these sounds when you read with your child. Teaching how sounds match with letters is likely to start with individual letters such as ‘s’, ‘a’ and ‘t’ and then will move on to two-letter sounds such as ‘ee’, ‘ch’, and ‘c
  • With all books, encourage your child to ‘sound out’ unfamiliar words and then blend the sounds together from left to right rather than looking at the pictures to guess. Once your child has read an unfamiliar word you can talk about what it means and help him or her to follow the story.
  • Try to make time to read with your child every day. Grandparents and older brothers or sisters can help too. Encourage your child to blend the sounds all the way through a word.
  • Word games like ‘I-spy’ can also be an enjoyable way of teaching children about sounds and letters. You can also encourage your child to read words from your shopping list or road signs to practise phonics.