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Intent of our Phonics Provision

At Whitehouse Community Primary School reading is at the heart of our curriculum. It is therefore our aim to foster and develop a love of reading across the school and we understand that getting children’s early reading experience right is crucial in achieving this. According to the Department of Education (2013): ‘Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.’


With this in mind, we have chosen to follow the Song of Sounds synthetic phonics scheme at Whitehouse Community Primary School. We feel that teaching our children Phonics skills with the help of a song and actions makes their learning more engaging and stimulating, while also giving the children a positive early reading experience.


Implementation of our Phonics Provision

In Reception and KS1, phonics is taught every day for 30 minutes. This session consists of the children singing a song with actions and then learning the individual sounds that make up words.


Each week the children have a 'Tricky word' day, where they learn to read, spell and use words that cannot be sounded out phonetically. These are called tricky words, but are also known as red words as we encourage the children to 'STOP and think!' when reading these words.


The other four phonics lessons consist of the children learning new sounds. When children are taught to read through Phonics they are taught that each word is made up of sounds.


These sounds are called:

Phonemes- one letter that makes one sound eg. ‘a’ ‘b’ ‘c’

Digraphs- two letters that make one sound eg. ‘sh’ ‘th’ ‘ch’

Trigraphs- three or more letters that make one sound eg. ‘ear’ ‘air’ ‘igh’


Once children haven't learnt the initial sounds of words, we then encourage them to ‘blend’ the sounds together to make a word eg. c - a - t.

Children therefore 'decode' words by breaking them down into their sounds rather than having to memorise thousands of words individually. 


At Whitehouse Community Primary School, we understand that Phonics is far from a standalone subject and recognise the great importance of creating links between our Phonics sessions and the rest of the curriculum. We endeavor to embed our children’s Phonics skills at every opportunity.


When you walk around our school, you will often see children reading in small groups with adults, exciting Phonics displays and hear teachers decoding tricky words for the children while they are teaching. We also take pride in our inclusive approach to learning and ensure that the children who continue to require Phonics support higher up in the school receive the intervention they need.


Impact of our Phonics Provision

Phonics has a tremendous impact on the progress of the children in our school.

  • Our engaging and interactive Phonics scheme creates a positive early reading experience for our children and supports pupils to make good progress.
  • In our most recent Ofsted report, our Phonics provision was highly regarded and is testament to the positive impact it has on our children.
  • A variety of interventions are used to meet individual needs and our thorough and inclusive approach improves the outcomes for our children.
  • Parental engagement events such as the Learning Cafés support our parents and increases confidence with reading and home learning which has a positive impact on pupil’s progress.
  • Teacher assessments are used to track progress and attainment.