Hollydale Primary School

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What is phonics?


Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes; identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’ and blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.


Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read. There are around 40 different phonemes for children to learn throughout their time at Hollydale. Below is a useful video showing the correct pronunciation of the 40 phonemes:






Phonics Mat



What will your child be learning at Hollydale?


At Hollydale Phonics is taught daily throughout the Early Years and Key Stage One, as well as provisions being made during independent learning activities, particularly in the EYFS. We teach children in small groups, led by a teacher or teaching assistant and planned for by a teacher. Children are grouped according to the Phase they are working in across the EYFS and KS1. We use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document to teach and assess children, which separates phonics into Phases 1-6. Children then continuously build and apply this phonic knowledge throughout Key Stage 2.


Lessons aim to be interactive, stimulating and age appropriate and over the course of a week will cover:

• Phoneme and grapheme recognition

• Blending for reading

• Segmenting for writing

• Application of phonics strategies for reading and writing

At the end of Year 1, children will take the statutory Phonics Screening Check, which assesses their ability to blend sounds to decode unknown words. If children do not reach the age-expected level in this check at the end of Year 1, they are required to take it again in Year 2.


For children who are not securely working at Phase 6 of letters and sounds by the end of Year 2, their phonics teaching will continue in Year 3, appropriate to their level of attainment. This will initially be taught through ‘Direct Phonics’. When formative and summative assessments show children are working securely within age expected levels, this intervention program will stop.


In Reception children are taught:


Phase 2 – Autumn Term

Phase 3 – Spring Term

Phase 4 – Summer Term


In Year One children are taught:


Phase 4 – Autumn Term

Phase 5 – Spring and Summer Term

In Year One Summer Term children will also be taking the Phonics Check.


In Year Two children are taught:


Phase 5 – Autumn Term

Phase 6 – Spring and Summer Term


How can you support your child at home?


Here are some useful websites that we are happy to recommend. All of these resources are free to use.


Phonics Play: http://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/freeIndex.htm


Letters and Sound: http://www.letters-and-sounds.com/


Phonics Check information:


It is very important that you continue to read and enjoy books with your child at home. You may want to discuss some of the sounds in the words they are reading and refer to the sound mat if they are unsure.