Our approach to teaching phonics 

 Our aim is that all children become fluent readers as soon as possible after they join us in reception. Ways in which we do this include;  

  • Direct, focused phonics is taught every day in Reception and key stage 1. (30 minutes daily with an additional 15 minutes daily for deliberate practise/pre-teaching). 
  • We follow the letters and sounds programme to ensure that our phonics system is well-organised (see appendix A for details about the organisation of the delivery of sounds). 
  • Children read from books with the sounds they know, while they are learning to read. Our reading scheme (Pearson bug club) matches the letters and sounds programme). 
  • Teachers are ambitious in their expectations of the sounds and words children should be able to read by the end of each term. 
  • Teachers and teaching assistants provide extra practice daily for the children who make the slowest progress (the lowest 20%). 
  • All staff are well trained in delivering phonics, systems are in place to ensure that delivery is effective and assessments are robust and reliable. 
  • We ensure that all pupils read 1:1 with an adult regularly – both at home and in school (see reading folders for monitoring system and follow up). 
  • Teachers instil in children a love of literature: reading the best stories and poems (see literature spine list). 
  • Regular parent workshops take place to share ways in which parents can support their child at home. 

A ‘typical’ phonics lesson 

 Phonics lessons follow a similar format; 

Sequence of teaching:  

There are four parts to EVERY phonics session (Recap, Teach, Practise, Apply). Further detail linked to each phase can be found in our phonics ‘non-negotiables’ document. 


Adults ensure that the children are clear what the focus of the lesson is (shared during the teach section) and continue to refer back to the focus, ensuring the practise and apply sections link to the new learning. For example: “Today we are learning to blend words with the alternative sound /aw/.” 


Sessions are 30 minutes long in the morning (9.00am-9.30am) and 15 minutes in the afternoon (1-1.15pm). This helps to ensure a well-paced session, child engagement and opportunity to practiseand apply new learning. (Learn more-remember more). 



EYFS Journals:  

Phonic evidence is collected regularly and is linked to the development matters aspect and age bands.  

Year 1/2 Phonics books:  

These books can be used to support the transference of reading into writing and are a way of evidencing learning. Work is dated with a clear title / focus and annotated if necessary. 

Handwriting expectations: 

Handwriting must be in line with the schools handwriting policy. When demonstrating or practicing phonics on the whiteboard staff use cursive writing. Posters are visible in the room or area that the lesson is taking place in.  

How we intervene swiftly if pupils are having difficulty in word reading:

Our phonics lead, with the help of the EYFS/KS1 team, regularly monitors and assesses pupil’s progress in phonics. Information is obtained within phonics lessons, 1:1 reading sessions, summative assessments as well as through opportunities across the wider curriculum. 

If a child is falling behind and needs additional support, interventions are put in place to support them to catch up. 

This may initiate input from the SENCO and external agencies. 

Parents are kept up to date with their child’s progress in reading. 

Assessing phonics: 

Regular formative assessments are carried out with the main aim being diagnostic and remedial: to identify whether important learning has been securely mastered and fluency achieved. These impact on future lessons and any other support required. 

Half termly assessments are carried out in line with the letters and sounds programme. 

Year 1 pupils take part in the national phonics screening check in June.  

If a child does not reach the expected standard, further support is put in place and they retake the check in Year 2. 

Phonics progression Rec to Year 2

Our Curriculum at Nechells Primary

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