The Teaching of Phonics
Why we teach phonics
The ability to read and write well is a vital skill for all children to give them a strong foundation for an enjoyable and successful school & life experience.
Phonics helps children to develop reading and writing skills.
‘We have to learn to read before we can read to learn’
How we teach phonics
We teach phonics using a linguistic phonics programme called Sounds-Write. This is a highly structured, multi-sensory approach to teaching children to read and spell. Its structure and simplicity makes it a programme accessible to all learners and helps them to make excellent progress with their reading and spelling.
The four key concepts children are taught are:
- Letters are symbols that represent sounds
- Sounds can be spelled using 1, 2, 3 or 4 letters
- The same sound can be spelled in different ways
- The same spelling can represent different sounds
The three key skills children need to master are:
- Phoneme manipulation
Children begin in Reception with the initial code where they practice all three key skills whilst learning the 1:1 sound- spelling correspondences and securing their understanding of the first key concept. This builds their confidence and phonic knowledge, enabling them to decode and encode (read and write) a wide range of words and sentences. At first, children learn to read and write simple one syllable words with a CVC structure. The complexity of the word structure systematically builds up so that children apply their code knowledge to monosyllabic words with up to six sounds.
Once the initial code has been mastered, children continue to practice all three key skills whilst learning the extended code which explores key concepts 2, 3 and 4. Learning of the extended code is a lifelong process as we all continue to develop our understanding of this code whenever we encounter new words. Whilst learning the extended code, children read and write monosyllabic and polysyllabic words at an age-appropriate level.
Children in Reception and KS1 have a daily 30 minute phonics lesson in addition to their English lessons. The books that children read in school and take home to read are linked to their phonics learning.
Parents & carers can access the free Sounds-Write online course for further information: