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Our approach to Phonics at Whitehouse Community Primary School


Phonics lessons occur daily in EYFS and KS1. Systematic synthetic phonics teaches children to read and write by introducing the 42 basic and 17 complex phonemes sounds (phonemes) and their written equivalents (graphemes), blending or synthesising these sounds together to make full words and segmenting them to spell words correctly.


In EYFS and Key Stage 1, we have changed the way we teach phonics and we now follow a programme called ‘Song of Sounds’. This is a multi-component, multi-sensory, systematic, synthetic phonics programme. It is teacher-led, hands-on and interactive. It contains a huge variety of games and activities that reinforce learning and a daily phonics session that has music and movement at its core to embed knowledge and understanding, and to ensure children enjoy the phonics learning process.


The programme ensures fluency by the end of Year 1 by immediately and quickly beginning to teach the 42 basic graphemes. By the end of Reception, these should be secure and then, in Year 1, the same process is used for complex sounds and alternative spellings.


Across the phonics systems we are currently following, the key objectives remain the same:

  • teach grapheme-phoneme correspondences at a quick pace
  • immediately teach how to blend sounds into complete words for reading
  • immediately teach how to segment words into their individual phonemes for writing
  • teach the irregular words (tricky words), noting which bits of the words can be blended phonetically and which are irregular
  • use decodable texts to ensure the children apply their phonics knowledge to read at an age-appropriate level.


The emphasis within all these phonics lessons is to teach the principles of decoding and encoding alongside one another. As such, when a child is taught to read a sound, they are also taught to record this and spell words that contain the sound.


Children also continue to be supported in their phonics acquisition throughout KS2 if required; some use the intervention ‘Sound Discovery’ for this others have interventions more specifically tailored to their needs.

Use the stars below to find out what your year group have been doing on Phonics.