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Christ Church Primary

Phonics & Reading

Phonics and Reading at Christ Church Primary SW9


At Christ Church we use the Letters & Sounds programme to teach phonics. This is a scheme which is very popular in schools in teaching pupils to read and spell, as it is very effective and is well matched to the expected outcomes of pupils in the EYFS and Key Stage 1. It starts by developing children’s knowledge of sounds and builds on this through a carefully sequenced set of steps through each of the 44 sounds in the English language, and the different ways they can be spelt.


The sounds are introduced in a simple way in Reception and gradually increase in complexity. For example, the children begin by learning single letter sounds which they can combine to read and write simple CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words. They quickly learn to read and spell words such as ‘mum’, ‘hat’, ‘sat’, ‘dog’ and so on. The next step is learning that sometimes two letters can represent one sound and more common two-letter spellings such as ‘ch’, ‘sh’ and ‘th’; these are used in words like ‘chip’, ‘shop’ and ‘thin’. Following this they progress through more complex one syllable words which combine more consonants, for example ‘hand’ or ‘sprint’. The aim is that by the end of Reception the children know one way to represent each sound in the English language. In year one, the emphasis is on all the alternative ways of spelling the sounds they have already learned and the different pronunciations a letter or group of letters might represent. For example, the sound ‘ai’ as in ‘rain’ can also be represented by ‘ay’ (play), ‘a-e’ (make) or ‘eigh’ (eight); and the ‘i’ in the words ‘milk’ and ‘pint’ has two different pronunciations. In year two, once they have consolidated all of these phonic skills, the focus shifts to spelling, and the different spelling patterns used to change the meaning of words, for example, to change their tense or to create plurals. This focus on spelling continues into Key Stage 2.


All of this is taught within a well-structured, incremental and coherent framework which develops the skills needed to become an effective reader. Reading and spelling also require expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabetic code and pupils need to be able to:

  • - segment, or separate sounds into words to spell
  • - blend, or push sounds together to form words to read
  • - manipulate sounds: take sounds out and put sounds into words


Letters & Sounds provides opportunities for practising these skills on an every day basis until pupils achieve the automaticity required for fluent reading and spelling.


While children are in the early stages of learning to read, we send home books from the PM reading scheme. These are finely levelled and matched to the emergent reader’s developing needs. We also send home ‘real’ books for parents and children to share. Once children have achieved a level of fluency we encourage them to take home any book of choice in order to further develop their love of and confidence in reading. We ask that parents read with or to their child every day for around 15 minutes in order to support their reading development.