"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass



At Kingsway Primary School, children learn phonics throughout both our Early Years and into Key Stage 1. We follow the government recommended programme ‘Letters and Sounds’ supplemented by the Jolly Phonics scheme, ensuring a detailed and systematic approach to teaching essential early phonic and reading skills. Phonics is delivered daily through short and highly interactive sessions. The focus sound for that day is then reinforced and applied across the curriculum during the week so children are able to practise segmenting and blending, key skills required in order to read and spell.

All staff members have up to date knowledge and understanding allowing a consistent approach when delivering phonics across the whole school.

Saying the sounds correctly is crucial in order to blend words with greater accuracy. Watch this video to make sure your pronunciation is correct.

Phonic terminology 

The children are taught the following terminology from Reception onwards:

  • Phoneme: the smallest unit of sound eg ‘t’

  • Grapheme: the written presentation of a sound or units of sound eg ‘t’ or ‘ai’

  • Digraph: two letters representing one unit of sound eg ‘

  • Trigraph: three letters representing one unit of sound eg ‘air’ (hair)

  • Segment: ‘Chop’ words into individual sounds or units of sound eg ‘r-ai-n’

  • Blend: Push individual sounds or units of sounds together to hear a word eg ‘sh-i-v-er’= ‘shiver’

Ways you can support your children at home

Listening Games

Developing good listening skills helps to improve your child’s reading skills too. Noting sounds in the home (a ticking clock, the microwave ping) or on a walk (bird song, the whoosh of a train), as well as more sophisticated letter sound games like sound lotto, will help your child to hear the sounds that words make.

I Spy

Play this game as much as possible with your children at home. This will encourage them to understand the beginning sound for individual words.

Letter Hunts

You could be on the bus, walking to the shop, looking at logos on your clothes or even watching TV. Point out the letters and say the sound of them.

What’s in the box…?I

If you don’t have lots of objects at home to play sound games with, then don’t worry. You can play the imaginary game that we play at school, called ‘What’s in the box’? You just pretend that you have a box with lots of objects in and you can be as creative as you like. You just say…’In my box today I have a d  o  g’ (in a robot voice) your child then has to blend the sounds together to make the word. If your child struggles with this at first then you can give them a clue, this will encourage positivity and allow them to achieve.

Clap and Chunk

Clapping out syllables or chunks in words and names can help with reading longer words: Di-no-saur! Cho-co-late! Or point out that some words are made up of two words, so wind and then mill makes windmill.

Read, Read, Read

It’s really important to read as much as possible with your child. Read the books that come home from school, borrow library books, buy books and magazines. Read signs and notices, and find interesting websites to read. And keep reading together at bedtime too!

Phonics in our Early Years

In our KEY Pre-school, children have opportunities to mark make and develop their gross and fine motor skills in readiness for writing.  The children are encouraged to become attuned to the sounds around them through the use of music, songs, nursery rhymes and games; they learn to identify environmental sounds around them, instrumental sounds, rhyme and alliteration (Phase 1 phonics). They are read books containing repetition, increasing their vocabulary knowledge and are encouraged to talk about what they recall.

During their Reception year, children learn phonemes (sounds) linked to the letters of the alphabet, as well as digraphs (two letters making one sound such as ‘ai’) and trigraphs (three letters making one sound such as ‘igh’). Jolly Phonics links each sound with an action and a song, providing an active and memorable way to remember them. Children practise and learn these rapidly, on a daily basis. Each new sound can be found in their orange Phonics book and the children are encouraged to both practise recognising and writing it at home on a daily basis.  Children are also taught to segment and blend simple words and, conversely, segment and blend sounds in words for spelling.  Children take their very own reading book home in their first few weeks of school. These books consolidate all our phonics work from in the classroom. We hold various parent workshops through the year to support with understanding the phonic curriculum and home reading and learning. Throughout their year in Reception, children will typically be taught Phase 2, 3 and 4 and the common exception words (tricky words such as ‘was’) relating to each phase.

Phonics in Key Stage 1

In Year 1, children learn and apply the different ways in which each phoneme can be spelled, learning about phonic ‘families’ (Phase 5). Each year in June, all children in Year 1 undertake a National Phonics Screening Check. This check consists of 40 words (20 real words and 20 pseudo words) which all children will be asked to read. In the academic year 2017-2018, 83% of our Year 1 pupils passed the Phonics Screening Check. Any children who do not reach the expected standard are then identified and given additional support to ensure success when retaking the check at the end of Year 2.

From Year 2 onwards, children consolidate their phonics knowledge, learning when to apply different spelling rules as well as how to spell plurals and different verb tenses (Phase 6).