Phonics and reading

Home Quality of education Phonics and reading

The teaching of reading and phonics is strong throughout the school. Children make good progress due to the excellent teaching of phonics across the school starting in the early years.

Ofsted, 2017


At Someries Infant School, early reading is taught using synthetic phonics as the main approach to reading.

Pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds in a word for reading, and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. Children are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but are also taught how to read high frequency words which do not completely follow synthetic phonic rules.

Here is a video explaining how each phoneme (sound) is articulated:

The school follows the government published programme 'Letters and Sounds' to teach phonics.

Phonics is taught from nursery and is divided into six phases, each subsequently building on the previously acquired knowledge and skills.

Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’, which are words with unusual spelling patterns.

Phase one (nursery and reception)

The aim of this phase is to foster children’s speaking and listening skills as preparation for learning to read with phonics. Parents can play a vital role in helping their children develop these skills, by encouraging their children to listen carefully and talk extensively about what they hear, see and do.

Phases two to four (reception)

Phase two is when systematic, high quality phonic work begins.

During Phases Two to Four, children learn:

  • How to represent each of the forty-two sounds by a letter or sequence of letters
  • How to blend sounds together for reading and how to segment (split) words for spelling
  • The letter names
  • How to read and spell some high frequency ‘tricky’ words containing sounds not yet learned (for example ‘they’, ‘my’, ‘her’ and ‘you’)

The 'Letters and Sounds' programme we use suggests an order for teaching the letters. We recognise, however, that children’s personal experience of letters varies enormously. Most importantly, we ensure that phonics is taught and practised at a pace that is suitable for individual and groups of children.

Phase five (year one)

Children learn new ways of representing the sounds and practise blending for reading and segmenting for spelling.

Phase six (year two)

During this phase, children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.

Statutory phonics screening check

At the end of year one, pupils undergo a statutory phonics screening check.

This is a statutory assessment and all children in year one must take the check and any year two children who did not meet the expected standard in year one will take the check again.

The phonics screening check is designed to confirm whether or not individual children have learned phonics decoding to the appropriate standard.

The links below will enable you to download copies of previous phonics screening checks.

Our phonics workshop materials provide further details about the check.

Phonics policy

Phonics workshop resources

We hold regular phonics workshops in school in which the following resources are provided. If you are unable to attend one of these workshops, please use the links below to read our family support materials.

Click here to view our phonics screening check workshop presentation

Click here to read our phonics guide

Click here to read our reading guide

Useful resources

CBeebies Alphablocks

Mr Thorne does phonics


Reading Schemes

At Someries Infant School, all of our reading books are colour banded. Children are given a colour band to choose their home reading book from which will help to ensure that the books they select are at the appropriate reading level for them whilst also ensuring they are appropriately challenged. 



very colour band includes books from a range of reading schemes so that children will experience a range of text types. All books within each book band can be decoded using phonics skills and knowledge.

We use a published reading scheme called Project X during our guided reading lessons.