Phonics and Reading

Phonics and Reading Scheme

At Western Road Community Primary School we follow a phonics teaching approach called Letters and Sounds.  Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills.  It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting at the age of four, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.


There are six overlapping phases.

  •          Phase 1 – development of speaking and listening skills (nursery/pre-school and Foundation).
  •          Phase 2 – Begin to link sounds to letters and make simple words eg pin, sat. (Foundation)
  •          Phase 3 – children move onto sounds represented by more than one letter eg sh, ch,ai, ng, igh. (Foundation)
  •          Phase 4 – Children learn to read and spell words with adjacent consonants eg swim, crunch, tent. (Foundation/Year 1)
  •          Phase 5 – children begin to learn alternative spellings of some of sounds learnt. (Year 1) eg rain/day/came
  •          Phase 6 – reading should become automatic. Children learn to make choices between spelling alternatives. (Year 2)


To help children learn the letter/sound correspondences we use the actions that are part of the Jolly Phonics scheme.

We provide wordless texts for children to enjoy as soon as they start school to promote the experience of being a reader.  After that, we provide a range of phonetically decodable books that are colour banded for children so children can apply the skills they are learning.  These come from a mix of publishers/schemes.  We expect children to read on a nightly basis.


Ideas for helping at home with phonics and reading

Be a role model.  Read to and with your child often.  Let them see you reading too!  Talk about what you are reading.  Join a library.  Draw attention to print wherever you are/wherever you go.

There is a well-established link between reading and being able to hear rhythm and rhyme.

Sing nursery rhymes, action rhymes, jingles and favourite songs from TV programmes.

Make up silly rhymes: I like rice, it’s very nice.  I like jelly, in my welly.  I like cheese on my knees.

Make up alliterative names for everyone... hairy Harry, thirsty Theo, lovely Lottie, moaning mum!

Keep a CD in the car for singing along to.

Keep a Listening Diary and note down all the sounds you hear over a weekend. Which sounds did you hear again and again and which only once?

Have a box of instruments and noisy things to rattle, shake and beat.

Encourage children to add sound effects to stories with their voices  eg zoooom, pop, bang, sssss.  This really helps to make them aware of all the different contrasting sounds they can make with their mouths.

Play I spy to get them interested in the sounds at the start of words.  Do this out shopping, in the car or walking to school.  You can also play “I spy something that rhymes with...”

Play spot the odd one out.... eg  cat, cuddles, elephant,  cobweb.

Play “my mum went to the shops and bought… a sandwich, a sock, a Satsuma, a sausage roll..” to help develop the memory.

Make a sound collection scrapbook – write every letter of alphabet in scrapbook.  Then stick in photos of people you know, TV characters, favourite food labels e.g.  'R' for Ready Break.

Buy some magnetic letters for the fridge and foam letters for the bath.  Make words using the letters your child is learning and help them to sound them out and read them.

Play letter skittles – attach letters to some plastic bottles.  Roll a ball. Think of a word beginning with the sound of the letter you’ve knocked over.

Use playdough or pipe-cleaners to make letter shapes.  Get your child to close his/her eyes – can s/he guess the letter.

Write a grapheme on your child’s back – can they guess the sound it makes?  Can they write a letter that they are learning on your back for you to guess?

(A grapheme is a letter that represents a sound.)

Create interest in words and sounds wherever you go and most of all – have fun! 


If you have any queries, please do come and speak to your child's class teacher.