What is phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language. Using phonics programmes, children are taught to read and write by directly linking phonemes (sounds in words) and graphemes (the symbols used to represent them).

Why do we teach phonics?

Teaching children to read is an essential part of their learning. Reading is a skill that helps develop vocabulary and improve understanding of words. In synthetic phonics lessons, children learn the relationship between letters and sounds. Teaching them to recognise the sounds each letter makes and how to put them together, enabling them to read. It also helps with spelling as they learn how to break up words into sounds, therefore making it easier to spell them. The theory around synthetic phonics is that once they are comfortable with letters and sounds that make up words, children should even be able to read ‘nonsense’ words that don’t actually exist in the English language.

How do we deliver phonics?

We use Twinkl Phonics as our systematic, synthetic phonics programme (SSP). This approach combines rigorous progression with engaging learning materials.

The structure of every phonics lesson follows a five-part structure to ensure the four cornerstones of phonics are covered. During the lessons, children will repeat these elements from the four cornerstones to ensure they have rapid and automatic recall of sounds and common exception words. Each day, they will experience blending and segmenting activities to allow practise of these core skills.

When do we teach phonics?

Phonics is taught daily to all children in EYFS and Key Stage One. In EYFS, children spend their time consolidating previous learning, learning new content and practising and applying what they have learnt. Some children may continue to need discrete phonics sessions in Key Stage Two. If this is the case, they will receive daily intervention sessions, delivered using the Twinkl Phonics Codebreakers scheme.

Children identified as not making the expected progress will be identified early and will receive additional phonics interventions through same day interventions or in small focus groups following an assessment of their needs.


Children are assessed each half term to establish their phonic level. Blending and segmenting assessments are also carried out to ensure children have the skills securely in place for reading and spelling.

Inclusion and Intervention

Regular assessment ensures the early identification of children who may need us to provide them with extra support. These children take part in structure interventions which include the recapping or relearning of missing GPCs and common exception words and practising blending and segmenting skills.

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

In the summer term, all children in Year 1 will undertake the National Phonics Screening Check. This is an assessment carried out in school during which the children will be assessed on their ability to segment and blend a range of 40 real and ‘alien’ words. Alien words are a selection phonetically decodable nonsense words. The words assess children’s understanding of the phonemes learnt. If children are not secure in recognising, segmenting and blending and therefore do not pass the assessment, they will repeat this in the summer term of Year 2. If a child does not meet the expected standard at this point, phonics teaching will continue into KS2.

How can you help your child at home?

Parental involvement is key in the learning of phonics and supports us in developing a whole school approach. A phonics information meeting is held in the autumn term for our EYFS children and there are also phonics workshops for our year 1 and year 2 parents throughout the year.

Rhino Readers Decodable Books

These reading books are used in school and at home. They make sure children are well prepared to read containing a ‘before reading’ page which allows children to rehearse the grapheme-phoneme correspondences and common exception words. The ‘after reading’ activities are designed to encourage discussion, recall, sequencing, comprehension and inference at a level appropriate to the text.