Reading and Phonics

What are the children going to learn?

At Elvington Primary School, children learn phonics throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1. Our aim is for all children to be fluent readers by the time they leave KS1.  Phonics is taught daily, in short sessions so that children build up and practise the skills they need to use in reading and writing.

We teach phonics using the Letters and Sounds programme. This is organised into six Phonic phases which your child progresses through as their reading ability improves. Phase 1-4 are usually taught in Reception, Phase 4 recap and Phase 5 in Year 1 and Phase 5 recap and Phase 6 in Year 2.

Practising the sounds correctly is really important! Here is a video which shows you how to pronounce all 44 phonic sounds.

Glossary of Terms

An understanding of the terminology will help to familiarise yourself with how phonics is taught at Elvington Primary School. These terms are fundamental to phonics teaching and are taught explicitly to children at Elvington.

  • Phoneme
    The basic sound units of speech. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English (this differs depending on regional accents). Phonemes can be combined to form words. For example, the phonemes /th/, /i/ and /ng/ combine to make the word thing.
  • Grapheme
    The written representation of a phoneme. A grapheme can be made up of 1,2,3 or 4 letters, e.g. c, sh, air, ough.  Some phonemes can be spelt with different graphemes. For example, the hard ‘c’ sound can be made using a ‘c’, ‘k’ or ‘ck’ grapheme. 
  • Digraph
    A  two-letter grapheme that represents one phoneme, for example ‘sh’, ‘ch’, ‘ee’, ‘or’
  • Trigraph
    A three-letter grapheme that represents one phoneme, for example ‘igh’, ‘dge’, ‘ear’
  • Split digraph
    When a digraph is split by a consonant it becomes a split digraph. Split digraphs usually create a long vowel sound, for example ‘a-e’ (take), ‘o-e’ (mode), ‘i-e’ (time), ‘e-e’ (these), ‘u-e’ (rude). 
  • Blending
    The basis of using phonics to read words. Children sound out each phoneme in a written word and then blend the sounds together to read the word. For example, t-r-a-p, blended together, becomes trap. 
  • Segmenting
    The basis of using phonics to spell words. Children listen to a word, break it up into separate phonemes and choose the appropriate grapheme to represent each phoneme. For example, chick can be segmented as ch-i-ck.

Reading Schemes used at Elvington CE Primary School

These are the most common reading scheme books we use in school; however there may be other books dispersed throughout the most regularly used books.

Individual Home Reading Books

  • Oxford Reading Tree – a reading scheme specifically be developmental with limited vocabulary in the initial stages
  • Oxford Reading Tree – Songbirds – phonic books
  • Oxford – TreeTops – for more able readers

Books are organised into coloured bands, linking to the child’s current phonic stage.

Guided Reading Books

  • Oxford Reading Tree
  • Rigby Star

Children are grouped for Guided Reading linking to their current book band. Where possible, children will read a book band above their current Guided Reading book while reading with the a teacher/ teaching assistant.

Phonics information:

Click here to download the presentation slides as a .pdf

Helpful resources to support phonics at home:

Click to visit the website

Why not try some Spooky Spellings!

Practise phonics with the Dinosaur’s Eggs game!

You might also want to explore the phonics games on the Family Learning website.