Intent, Implement and Impact

What is Phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children to hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.

The Importance of Phonics

Word-reading is one of the essential dimensions of reading; the other is comprehension.  Skilled word-reading involves working out the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and recognising familiar printed words. Underpinning both of these is the understanding that letters represent the sounds in spoken words. Fluent decoding supports pupils’ comprehension, because they don’t have to devote mental energy to individual words.  A good grasp of phonics is also important for spelling, contributing to fluency and confidence in writing. (DfE 2012)

Phonics is the method of teaching reading and writing by correlating sounds with letters or groups of letters.  There are 44 sounds in the English language which we put together to form words.  Some sounds are represented by one letter like the ‘t’ in tin, whilst other sounds are represented by two or more letters like ‘ck’ in duck.

Children are taught the sounds, how to match them to letters and finally how to use the letter sounds for reading and spelling.

How do we teach Phonics?

At The Pochin School, we follow the Read Write Inc Phonics and reading scheme. Each week the children learn three new sounds and then they spend two days reviewing these sounds and embedding them in reading and the spelling of words.

The children are assessed approximately every 6 weeks and then group across class 1 and 2 so that the children learn the appropriate speed sounds to make progress and then read story books at the correct level. We ensure that children read texts that are 100% decodable and therefore only meet sounds that they know and can therefore experience success and the pleasure of reading.

Parent Handout

Read Write Inc Introduction Meeting For Parents

Materials to support at home:

Set 1, 2 And 3 RWI Sound Mat

Read Write Inc Handwriting Rhymes And Characters

Red Words By Band Bookmarks (1)

It would also be useful for your children to learn to read and write the year 1 and 2 common exception words as appropriate.

Year 1 And 2 Common Exception Words

There are so many easy things you can do to help support your child’s phonics learning. Here are a few ideas:

  • Talk, talk, talk! As a parent, you are the model of good speaking and listening. Regularly introduce new words (vocabulary). For example, for the word big you could also introduce large, huge, or enormous. Encourage them to say the word too. This is not about reading the words but about your child hearing and saying them.
  • Read to and with your child. This models good reading skills and promotes reading enjoyment. Have a special book box or bag where your child can keep the stories and any other texts, such as comics or non-fiction books, you’ve read together recently. Re-read these so that over time your child builds up their stock of stories and texts they know well. Ebooks are another lovely way to share a story or non-fiction book together. Just make sure eBook reading is balanced with reading hard copy books so your child experiences all the different skills required for reading from a page and reading from a screen. Oxford Owl has a free eBook library where you can read together online.
  • Sing! Teach nursery rhymes and songs and make lots of opportunities to sing and recite them.
  • Pronounce words and sounds clearly. In all games and activities make sure you pronounce the speech sounds clearly and as short as possible. Do not make them too long. For example, the letter ‘m’ has a short /m/ sound not a continuous /mmmmmmm/ sound. Try not to add an extra sound onto the speech sound too. For example, the sound is /m/ NOT /m-uh/.
  • Rhyming games and activities. These kinds of games are fun to do and will support your child in hearing speech sounds that are the same and that are different. For example:

Into the pot: Model the phrase ‘into the pot goes’ while placing objects that rhyme into a pot/bowl (for example, a bat, a hat, a cat, a mat). Ask your child to repeat with you. Do this lots of times and then see if they can do it independently. You can then vary this; choose objects so that they have to decide which will not go in the pot e.g. a cat, a rat, a hat, a bird.

  • Model blending. Start off using just the speech sounds and then immediately say the word. For example, At the shop I will buy a… /m/ /a/ /p/ – map, a /b/ /e/ /d/ – bed, a /d/ /u/ /ck/ – duck. Encourage your child to join in with you after you have this modelled for them. Then say the sounds and ask your child to say the whole word.
  • Play phonics games. Play simple phonics word games based on Phase and sounds your child is learning.

Phonics Booklet

Use this Phonics information booklet at home to test your child’s reading of sounds, real words and alien words.

Phonic Sounds Information Booklet

Phonics Assessment

Every year, in June, the Government publish a National Phonics assessment which takes place. The assessment involves reading a total of 40 words, a combination of real and alien words. Please use the link below to practise this with your child.


Blending – To draw individual sounds together to pronounce a word, e.g. /sh/i/p/ blended together reads ship.

Segmenting– Splitting up a word into its individual phonemes in order to spell it., i.e. the word pat has 3 phonemes: /p/a/t/.

Phoneme– The smallest single identifiable sound, e.g. the letters ch representing one sound.

Grapheme– A letter, or combination of letters, that represent a phoneme.

Digraph – A combination of two letters representing one sound, as in ph and sh.

Trigraph – A group of three letters representing one sound, for example ‘igh’

Pseudo words – Words that are not real. These are sometimes called ‘alien words’ or ‘nonsense words’.