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English - Phonics

Phonics at Southcote Primary School


At Southcote Primary School we follow the Read Write Inc programme (RWI), which is a systematic and consistent approach to teaching synthetic phonics. All children in Reception, Year 1 and, where necessary Year 2 and beyond have daily phonics sessions in homogenous groups where they participate in phonic activities that are matched to their current needs. It is delivered using RWI to ensure consistent delivery by trained staff.


At all stages, reading attainment is assessed and gaps are addressed quickly and effectively for all pupils. Reading books align closely to the phonics knowledge pupils are taught when learning to read.


Our phonics and reading lessons follow a consistent structure.  This familiarity allows the children to focus on learning a new sound, blending these for reading and segmenting these to support spelling. 


In Speed Sound lessons we learn to

  • recognise a new sound,
  • blend sounds to read.  This is done orally at first and then with flashcards
  • segment sounds to spell
  • read alien words
  • review previously taught sounds


In Reading lessons we

  • Practise reading skills with decodable books
  • Work on fluency, pace and expression
  • Learn early comprehension skills through discussion and answering questions
  • Develop vocabulary
  • Read and spell ‘Red Words’


How the school intervenes swiftly to help those having difficulty to make sure that they keep up.

Children are assessed regularly to identify any gaps in their learning. The Phonics Leader is responsible for identifying children who are not making expected progress and planning for appropriate interventions to help them to keep up this may include;

- Daily 1:1 or small group intervention focused on identified gaps

-Afternoon 10-minute speed sound sessions

-Spotlight positioning in class

-Targeted conversation with parent signposting and supporting with resources that can be use at home and sharing videos to revise learning at home

-Pupils provided with extra practice reading books for use at home and in school


Phonics in Foundation

In Foundation we start by teaching children the sounds single letters make and then to use these to blend to read.  Pictures and phrases help with letter formation and to retain this new knowledge.  It is really important to ensure you help your child to write using lower case letters. They will learn about reading and writing capital letters at a later stage.

It is important that we teach the children clear, ‘pure sounds’ (‘m’ not’ muh’, ’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.). This will help children when they come to blend sounds together to form words.




Phonics in Year 1

Once they are confident with these sounds we move on to learning set 2 and set 3 sounds.  We teach the children to recognise the sounds, and read and spell words containing these sounds.  They learn there is more than one way to make certain sounds and the spelling rules.


Key Vocabulary

Fred:  Fred the frog can only talk in sounds.  We help him to blend the sounds together into words.

Fred Talk:  Saying the sounds the letter(s) make and blending them to read. c- a - t

Blending: Pushing together the sounds of the letters in the word in order to create the whole word.

Oral blending: Oral blending is hearing verbally a word broken up into sound talk, e.g. the word 'sat' split up as 's-a-t', and you are able to blend the sounds together the make the word 'sat'.

Segmenting: Identifying the single sounds in words. For example f-r-o-g, ph-o-n-i-c-s

Phoneme: Smallest unit of sound in a word. 

d–o-g has three sounds.  f-ar-m has three sounds

Special Friends: 2 or 3 letters than make one sound.  For example ee, igh, er

Chatty Friends:  two letters that make one sound but have a letter in between.  For example a-e in cake and o-e in phone. 

Digraph: two letters that make one sound.  For example ee, oi, ar

Trigraph: three letters that make one sound.  For example air, igh

Red words: words that the children cannot use ‘Fred Talk’ to read. They have unusual spellings or sounds they children have not been taught yet.



Useful videos can be found on the Oxford Owl website in the Read Write Inc section:  


More information about the approach we use at Southcote Primary School can be found here: in the Parents tab.