Early Reading and Phonics

Early Reading at Croyland Primary School

At Croyland Primary School reading and enabling your child to become an independent reader as soon as possible is our priority.  To do this we have an extensive and robust reading system in place, at the core of which is a highly effective phonics programme taught on a daily basis.

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 a 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.

The scheme used at Croyland Primary School to teach phonics is called 'Letters and Sounds'.  This was produced by the Department for Education in 2007.  It sets out a detailed and synthetic programme for teaching phonic skills and consists of 6 overlapping phases.

How does the school teach phonics?


In Foundation Stage the children start to learn phonics as soon as they start school. This is through daily 30 minute sessions.   Phases 1-4 are completed whilst a child is in Foundation.  The children’s progress through these stages is monitored at regular periods. A child will only move on to the next phase if they have mastered the majority (80%) of the previous phase.

Year 1

During Year 1 it is expected that most children will begin learning Letters and Sounds phase 5, however this will only happen if they have mastered 80% of phase 4.  Any children who have not reached the appropriate level will repeat the necessary phases in order to secure their understanding and application.  The children are set into phase groups across year 1 in order to appropriately match activities to their learning needs.  They continue to have daily 30 minute sessions.

In the summer term of Year 1, the children complete a statutory phonics screening check.  This is a short assessment introduced by the Government for the first time in 2012 to confirm whether individual pupils are able to decode phonetically to an appropriate standard.  The children’s scores are published in their school reports at the end of the summer term.  

For more information click on the Phonics Screening tab to the left of the screen.

Year 2

During Year 2 any child who has not reached the required 80% of phase 5 will recap the previous phases until they are secure. The children continue to be set into phase groups across the year. It is not uncommon for a year 2 classroom to contain children working at phases 2 - 6. They have four 30 minute sessions a week, as well as additional phonic & spelling work. 

Years 3 - 6

Phonics will be revised at the start of every academic year for children in Years 3 - 6.  Those children who are insecure with the phonic knowledge will receive support via intervention groups which will continue throughout the year. 

Want to help at home?

Parents will be notified as to the phase that their child is working on so that they can help their child at home.  In order to assist parents with this, the pages below give details about the coverage of each phase and include video clips in which each sound is articulated.  It is important that parents use the same pure pronunciation of sounds to those used in school.


    To see the image slideshow please install the latest version of Adobe Flash Player which can be found here