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“I enjoy learning new tricky words and how to spell them. It helps me to improve my writing in English.”

Joseph Year 2


"Phonics is so much fun because we get to play lots of different word games and do lots of fun activities."

Maia Year 1


The teaching of phonics at St John’s ensures that all children will secure automatic decoding skills and progress from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ for purpose and pleasure. The ultimate goal of learning to read is to develop comprehension and to develop a lifelong love of reading!

To achieve this, staff are clear about teaching and learning strategies which help children to acquire word recognition skills and those which will help children develop high-level comprehension skills. CPD to support this process is sourced internally and externally.




• At St. John's C of E,  we aim to deliver high-quality phonic teaching which secures the crucial skills of word recognition that, once mastered, enable children to read fluently and automatically enabling them to concentrate on the meaning of the text.

• To establish consistent practice, progression and continuity in the teaching and learning of phonics and spelling throughout the school.

• To differentiate phonics and spelling work according to the needs of pupils, so that all pupils are given sufficient challenge at a level at which they can experience success.

• To give children word work strategies that will enable them to become fluent readers and confident writers


We will ensure that all lessons are:

  • Engaging and fun
  • Structured
  • Offer appropriate challenge
  • Pacey
  • Provide opportunities for using and applying
  • Provide opportunities for assessment through observations.


The Rose Report (2006) makes it clear that ‘high-quality phonic work’ should be taught systematically and discretely as the prime approach used in the teaching of early reading. The progression of the Letters and Sounds programme used in school provides the structure for all phonics teaching.


Beginner readers should be taught:

• Grapheme–phoneme correspondences in a clearly defined, incremental sequence.

• To apply the highly important skills of blending (synthesising) phonemes in the order in which they occur, all through a word to read it.

• To apply the skills of segmenting words into their constituent phonemes to spell.

• That blending and segmenting are reversible processes.


High-quality phonic is most effective when it is part of a broad and rich curriculum that engages children in a range of activities and experiences to develop their speaking and listening skills and phonological awareness. It is multi-sensory providing, encompassing activities to enliven core learning. It is time-limited, to promote confident readers by the end of Key Stage 1. It is systematic, that is to say, it follows a carefully planned programme reinforcing and building on previous learning to secure children’s progress. It is taught discretely and daily at a brisk pace following the structure: revisit, teach, practice, apply from the Letters and Sounds programme. There are opportunities to reinforce and apply acquired phonic knowledge and skills across the curriculum and in such activities as independent, shared and guided reading and writing.


Organisation of Phonics

Generally, phases 2-5 are from Letters and Sounds are taught within Foundation and KS1. Occasionally, some children may require further developmental input from the aspects of learning in Key Stage 2. Phase 6 from the Letters and Sounds programme has been superseded by the Support for Spelling materials which start in Year 2 for those children that are ready.


Foundation Stage

In Foundation Stage children have a daily discrete phonics teaching input lasting approximately 20 minutes. After Autumn 1, children’s phonic abilities are assessed and they are grouped according to the acquisition of these skills. The areas of provision provide opportunities for children to consolidate and apply phonic skills taught. 1: 1 and small group reading sessions are used to reinforce these skills.


Key Stage One

Children in Key Stage One are grouped within class according to their phonic needs. They receive a structured daily programme lasting for approximately twenty five minutes. It is our aim that most pupils will reach phase 5 by the end of Y1. Pupils who are working at phase 5 + in Year 2 will also be taught the skills set out in the Support for Spelling programme for their year group. This programme will also be reinforced within elements of their main English lesson.


Key Stage Two

Children in Year 3 continue to receive further phonic input and we aim to deliver phonic sessions to address the needs of these pupils. The progression and teaching approaches from the Support for Spelling materials are used here and throughout Key Stage 2 alongside ‘No Nonsense Spelling’.



Phoneme- smallest unit of sound

Grapheme- How the sound is represented

Digraph- Two letters make one sound

Split diagraph- a-e like make

Trigraph- Three letters that make one sound e.g. air

Long vowel sounds- e.g. ai, ee, ie, ou, ue (this includes split diagraphs)

Letter patterns – same sound spelt in different ways

Alternative sounds – ie as in pie/ie as in brief

We use Read Write Inc mnemonics for letter formation also saying each phoneme while practising to form letters. These are displayed on English working walls in each class up to year 2 and are used for reference daily and throughout writing sessions.