Phonics and Reading



At Southmere Primary Academy we believe that developing strong reading skills is crucial for the children to develop a love of learning and to be able to access the wider curriculum.

What is Phonics?  

Phonics is the study of sounds. Children are taught to read and write using phonics, linking the phonemes (sounds in words) and graphemes (the symbols used to represent them).

Here you will find a link to a short clip…

What Phonics programme is used in school?

For the teaching of phonics we use the DfE Letters and Sounds programme. Children are actively taught and supported to use phonics as the prime approach to decoding, avoiding the use of other strategies. Children should not need to resort to guessing or using the pictures or grammatical context.

Below you will find the progression of the programme.

Reception Progression




Tricky Words

Autumn Term

Phase Two

s a t p i n m d g o c k ck e u r h b f, ff l, ll ss

the to I no go

Spring Term

Phase Three

j v w x y z zz qu ch sh th ng ai ee igh oa oo ar or ur ow oi ear air ure er

he she we me be was no go my you they her all are

Summer Term

Teach Phase Four & Consolidate Phase Three & Four

(cvcc & ccvc) examples bend mend hump bent damp spot spin trip glass track speck

said so have like some come were there little one do when out what

Year 1 Progression




Tricky Words

Autumn Term

Consolidate Phase Three and Four


Phase Five Part 1 new graphemes




ay ou ie ea oy ir ue aw wh ph ew oe au a-e e-e i-e o-e u-e




oh their people Mr Mrs looked called asked

Spring Term

Phase 5 part 2 alternative pronunciations


NC Spelling Objectives for Year 1

Alternative pronunciations for graphemes: i fin find o hot cold c cat cent g got giant u but put ow cow blow ie tie field ea eat bread great er farmer her a hat what y yes by very ch chin school chef ou out shoulder could you /zh/ vision visual beige measure

water where who again thought through work mouse many laughed because different any eyes friends once please

Summer Term

Consolidate Phase Five parts 1 and 2


Phase Five part 3- alternative spellings


NC Spelling Objectives for Year 1



Click here to find our phase guide.

Phonics Guide for Parents

Phonics Screening Check

What is the Phonics Screening Check?

The phonics screening check is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonics knowledge. It helps the school confirm whether your child has made the expected progress. It is administered when children are in Year 1 (the month of June). 


What are ‘non/pseudo-words’?

The check will contain a mix of real words and ‘non-words’ or ‘pseudo-words’ (or ‘nonsense/alien words’). Children will be told before the check that there will be non-words that he or she will not have seen before. Many children will be familiar with this because many schools already use ‘non-words’ when they teach phonics. Non-words are important to include because words such as ‘vap’ or ‘jound’ are new to all children. Children cannot read the non-words by using their memory or vocabulary; they have to use their decoding skills.


After the check

The school will tell you about your child’s progress in phonics and how he or she has done in the screening check in the last half-term of Year 1.

If your child has found the check difficult, your child’s school should also tell you what support they have put in place to help him or her improve. You might like to ask how you can support your child to take the next step in reading.

Children who have not met the standard in Year 1 will retake the check in Year 2. All children are individuals and develop at different rates. The screening check ensures that teachers understand which children need extra help with phonic decoding.

 You will find a link to a previous Phonics Screening Check below…

High Frequency Words

As well as Phonics it is important that children learn a sight vocabulary of words that appear frequently in reading, we call these high frequency words. The children will learn these daily in Phonics and Guided Reading.

Children will also have a Rainbow Word Book that they will bring home everyday, this will give them the opportunity to practise the words at home for 5 minutes everyday. Our aim is that children will learn High Frequency Word recognition a year ahead of Age Related Expectations; eg at the end of Year 1 children will know all the words expected for Year 2.

As children learn the words they will be rewarded with certificates and prizes in class to encourage them. Please click on the document below to see High Frequency Word Progression which details the words children will learn in each year group. 

Links to websites

You can also find lessons online in the ‘Videos for Home’ section on this website


Links to Tricky Words songs

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4


There are some great websites that have free games for your child to play…

The computer version is free and the app is sometimes free to download

Early Reading Books

At Southmere Primary Academy we start children’s reading journey by providing every child that starts in Reception with an amazing book bag package that includes; a book of nursery rhymes, a traditional story and a guide for supporting early phonics and reading at home.

In EYFS and KS1 children will be given a book that allows them to apply their phonics learning. The teacher will ensure that the book is decodable and contains the graphemes and tricky words that are needed to read the text. Your child should be able to read their ‘take home’ book with around 95% fluency, if a child struggles to read the book their comprehension and enjoyment of the text will be compromised.

Children should keep their reading book in their book bag and bring it to school every day along with their Reading Record. We encourage children to read at home every day.

Online Reading Platforms

Children have access to online platforms to support their reading:

For Early Years and Key Stage One we have Bug Club, books are allocated by the class teachers to children in line with their phonic phase.

For Key Stage Two we have Reading Plus. Reading Plus is a personalised online program that helps students develop skills they need to be confident, capable readers and lifelong learners.

You can also access free books on Oxford Owl

Reading Challenge

Your child will also bring home a book to read for the purposes of developing their comprehension skills and ensuring children have an enjoyable and rich reading experience. These books have been chosen to create a high quality and vocabulary rich reading spine across the school.

The Reading Challenge book lists for each year group can be found below.

FS1-NurseryFS2-ReceptionYear 1Year 2
Year 3Year 4Year 5Year 6

For further information about books suitable for the age of your child please click the link below:


The Reading Strategy

The Reading Strategy is a trust-wide approach to develop reading comprehension skills. It takes place EVERY day from EYFS-Y6.  It incorporates age-appropriate, challenging texts, which are rich in vocabulary.

The core texts are:

Pupils in Y1-Y6 will access a 30-40 minute whole class text reading session (may be shorter in Y1). The texts generally last for one full term and non-fiction, poetry and play scripts are taught alongside this.

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