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What do we want to achieve?


Rationale: Phonics is a key skill that supports the development of early reading skills. At St Luke’s, we combine quality phonic teaching and the promotion of reading for pleasure to provide our pupils with the skills they need to have a successful start to their lives as readers.


Ambition: Using the DFE validated scheme Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS), we intend our pupils to be able to:          


  • Recognise, say and write all phonemes within each phase of Essential Letters and Sounds
  • Use their phonic knowledge to blend and segment phonetically decodable words
  • Use their phonic knowledge to attempt to read and write more complex words
  • Read Harder to Read and Spell words
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, using their phonic knowledge
  • Develop their reading and writing fluency
  • Love listening to and reading simple stories             


How do we aim to achieve this?


In order to implement our intent, we have:


  • A DFE validated scheme of work that teaches specific, relevant and ambitious vocabulary (Essential Letters and Sounds)
  • A cohesive and consistent approach to teaching phonics, where daily sessions follow the same structure
  • Ensured that staff are equipped with the necessary professional development to deliver our curriculum
  • Daily whole class phonics sessions in Early Years and Key Stage 1 ensuring the children learn the 44 phonemes of the English language
  • Phonics sessions for some children in Key Stage 2 who need further support (including INAs)
  • A progressive scheme of work where the teaching of phonics begins in Nursery (Phase 1) and then continues from the very first days of Reception. This progresses with the children at a sustained pace and they improve their ability to segment and blend sounds, and their ability to apply this knowledge into their reading and writing
  • Additional small and focussed group teaching to target children’s specific next steps
  • A rigorous assessment system that informs teaching, including diagnostic assessments and half termly checks
  • Appropriate ELS interventions to ensure children Keep Rather Than Catch Up
  • Regular reading opportunities and story times for all children in school
  • A progressive decodable book system where children take home a book matched closely to their phonetic knowledge
  • A Phonics Screening Check for Year 1 in the summer term and for those in Year 2 who need to resit
  • A subject leader who monitors teaching and learning to improve standards and outcomes
  • A link governor who liaises with the subject leader in order to monitor and improve standards
  • A curriculum that meets the needs of all pupils (including SEND)
  • Parental workshops to provide parents and carers with the skills and knowledge to support their children’s phonic learning at home                                                                                                                                  


What will the impact be?


Through implementing the above:


  • Pupils will be confident in their phonic knowledge
  • Pupils will be able to blend and segment words confidently
  • Pupils will pass the Phonics Screening Check
  • Develop a culture where a secure knowledge of phonic sounds enables reading for pleasure as part of our reading curriculum


Assessment in Phonics


Phonics progress is assessed using diagnostic assessments once a term, which informs teachers of any gaps or misconceptions in pupils learning. Teachers also assess pupils daily through summative assessment in order to support individual needs.


At the end of Year 1, pupils will take the phonics screening check. Its purpose is to assess whether children can read accurately a selection of words that include common GPCs: the first step in learning to read. It does not aim to assess reading comprehension or whether a child can read familiar words speedily or decode unfamiliar ones easily. The children who do not meet the expected standard are screened again in year 2.

St Luke's Early Reading and Phonics Policy


Please see the document below for further detail on how we teach phonics at St Luke's. The policy includes a detailed overview of the progression in which phonics is taught per half term throughout EYFS and Key Stage One. It also includes further detail about Essential Letters and Sounds and how early reading is prioritised and assessed.


Have a look on Twitter at the fantastic phonics going on at St Luke's: #Stlukesburyreading

How have we adapted learning following a pandemic?


Early Reading and Phonics is our main priority within our catch up curriculum. We know the significance of children learning to read, as pupils who cannot read, do not have full access to the curriculum. Those who fail to learn to read also often start to dislike reading.


Although Phonics was taught daily through remote learning, either through live lessons in Key Stage One, or through videos and activities provided in EYFS, there has still been some learning loss due to the pandemic. Therefore, we have adapted the long-term plan detailed within the policy above to meet the individual needs of our children following summative and formative assessments.


Phonics lessons and interventions continue to happen daily following the Essential Letters and Sounds approach and structure. Where children are identified as needing additional support, teachers and support staff intervene quickly according to children's needs.


Children's gaps and misconceptions within their ability to decode, orally blend and segment and encode are identified through diagnostic assessments. The long term plan is then adapted to address these. This is reviewed termly through diagnostic assessments and monitored daily through formative assessment within phonics lessons, continual provision and Guided Reading. It is adapted appropriately to ensure rapid progress is made.


Children also have the opportunity to practise new sounds at home with their family through activities set on Class dojo. They also take home a phonetically decodable text matched appropriately to their phonetic knowledge and a book to read for pleasure (Please see homework section on our website for more details).

How can you support your child’s learning?


Teachers will set a phonics based activity on Class Dojo each week as homework for your child to complete. You can support them with this activity, by practising saying, reading and writing the sounds with them. Remember to send a picture back of the work the children have completed so that we can celebrate this achievement with them back in school!




Additionally, each week, your child will bring home a phonetically decodable book from school alongside a book they have chosen from the class library to read for pleasure.


The decodable book will have been selected by the class teacher specifically to suit your child’s current phonetic knowledge. It is really important that your child can read this book without struggling. We want our pupils to be able to decode and blend sounds they have recently learnt so that they can become fluent readers and also enjoy the process.


We recommend that you listen to your child read the same decodable book four times over the week before swapping it for a new one. This will enable them to practise orally blending and segmenting recently learnt graphemes and phonemes and have repeated exposure to some of the ‘harder to read and spell words’ enabling them to build up their fluency in reading.


Your child will also bring home a book to read for pleasure each week. This is a book they will have chosen to enjoy with an adult at home. We do not expect your child to be able to read this book themselves, but encourage parents and carers to read this to them sharing the story a number of times throughout the week. Your child will enjoy listening to the story and may even want to join in with some of the repeated phrases once they have heard it several times.


Reading stories aloud to your child from an early age stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. The best way to nurture your child’s love of reading is to share lots of different stories with them over and over again.


There are plenty of stories to share with your children on the Oxford Owl E-library using your login details provided by school. Ask you child's class teacher for more details, or follow the link below to access hundreds of books:       


There are plenty of other ways to help your child with learning to read:


Nursery children:


  • Use their hobbies and interests! If they’re interested in animals, see how many different animal noises they can make. Can they copy a sound you make, and tell you what the animal is? Or if they love trucks, cars and diggers, encourage them to make the appropriate noises when they are playing
  • When you’re out and about, listen out for sounds – birdsong, traffic noises, etc. Can your child tell you what made the sound? Can they copy it?
  • Sing songs and say rhymes together. Can your child clap when they hear a rhyming word?
  • Clap or tap a rhythm. Can your child copy it? Can they clap their own rhythm for you to copy?


Reception and Key Stage One children:


  • Continue with the games and ideas suggested for nursery children!
  • Pause sometimes when you’re reading a storybook together and see if your child can tell you what letter or sound the next word starts with. If the word uses phonics that they already know, encourage them try reading it. Give them lots of praise for trying, as well as getting it right!
  • Play ‘hunt the word’, using words and sounds that they know from school. Say ‘Can you find the word ‘mum’ on this page? Can you find a word that starts with ‘s’?
  • Encourage your child to look for words in the world around them, such as on street signs, shop signs, posters etc. Praise them for having a go at reading these words, and help them if necessary.
  • You could use a set of fun flashcards to play games and do activities with your child, focusing on the sounds and letter patterns they are learning.


Free websites and games: – a great video of how to pronounce all of the sounds.

Phase 2 phonics sounds

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Phase 3 phonics sounds

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Phase 5 sounds

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