Early Reading and Phonics

At Rawmarsh Ashwood Primary School, we teach synthetic phonics through Letters and Sounds and each year group follows a detailed long term plan to ensure progression throughout the year through the phases.  Phonics is taught from the first days in FS and throughout KS1. Teachers aim to complete Phases 2-3 during Foundation Stage 2 and Phases 4-5 (into Phase 6) during Year 1. In Year 2, children who did not pass the phonics screen at the end of Y1 are immediately targeted for additional support through class based interventions whilst still accessing the Y2 curriculum alongside their peers. Vulnerable children are swiftly identified through class based catch up programmes to prevent them from falling behind.  Throughout school, pupils are taught to read using phonically decodable texts that are matched to the current phase they are working on.

How do children catch up if they are developing their early reading skills still?

At Ashwood, we use the Read Write Inc. programme to enable children who are working at different levels of phonics ability to develop their phonics knowledge further in smaller groups tailored specifically to their phonics need. This is through the Read Write Inc. programme to develop segmenting and blending skills.

Children will be taught how to read as follows:

Before you start to teach your child, practise saying the sounds below. These are the sounds we use to speak in English.

First children learn a simple code to help them read (see simple sounds). Then they learn more complex sounds (see complex sounds).

Simple sounds

Complex Sounds

What do children do in a Read Write Inc. session?

Fred the Frog  

Children are taught to ‘Fred’ talk words by sounding out and blending to read.   m_a_t

Children are taught to spell by hearing and saying sounds in a word before writing them down. We call this using ‘Fred’ fingers.

Fred Talk

Fred is a frog puppet who says, reads and spells words in pure sounds; he never says the whole word so the children do this for him. He never adds ‘uh’ after a consonant sound e.g. fuh, luh (a slight ‘uh’ cannot be helped when saying the sounds b, g, d, j, w and y).


A grapheme is one letter or group of letters used to write one sound, e.g. the sound ‘f’ can be written with the grapheme f (fun), ff (huff) and ph (phone).


Syllables are chunks within long words.


The root is the part of the word that gives the most meaning.

Adding Suffixes

You also need to know how to add a suffix to a word like this…

_ed (as in jumped)                     _ing (as in playing)                        _er (as in cooler)

_est (as in greatest)                   _ful (as in grateful)                         _y (as in tidy)


Phonics Screening Check

The phonics screening check is a short, simple assessment to make sure that all pupils have learned phonic decoding to an appropriate standard by the age of 6. All year 1 pupils in maintained schools, academies and free schools must complete the check.

The phonics check will help teachers identify the children who need extra help so they can receive the support they need to improve their reading skills. These children will then be able to retake the check in year 2.

The check comprises a list of 40 words and non-words which the child will read one-to-one with a teacher. The class teacher in Y1 will prepare the children for their phonics screening check. Children will have phonics work to take home at different stages in the year.

Example of non-words which are known as alien words by the children (words which do not make sense but are used to assess their phonics ability)

For further information on the phonics screening check, click on the link below.



Assessment is a critical element of our programme. The teachers assess:

  • Pupils’ phonic knowledge
  • The speed at which pupils are able to read the text
  • Their understanding of the stories they read.

We record the results from the Sound and Word Assessments, which take place every eight weeks, on the Assessment Tracker. These data allow us to intervene in different ways. For instance, we quickly move pupils to another group if they are progressing faster than their peers. Those who continue to struggle have one-to-one tutoring so that they keep up


How can I help my child with their phonics?

To find out more about how to say the different phonemes(sounds) which your child is learning, please take a look at this helpful video for parents.

Your child may have homework around the sounds they are learning. These might be linked to the spelling pattern they are learning in class or linked to their Read, Write Inc work they are working on.

Here are some websites that can help children to develop their phonic knowledge.