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Al-Furqan Primary School

Al-Furqan Primary School

The Key to Success




What is Phonics?


Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:

  • recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  • identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make such

as /sh/ or /ee/;

  • and blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘decode’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.


Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7.


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.


Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia.

(The information above is directly from the Department of Education’s ‘Learning to read through phonics: information for parents’ document.)


What does it look like at school?


At school we use the Department for Education’s approved ‘Letters and Sounds’ document to structure our phonics delivery. You can find out more about Letters and Sounds at the link below:


All children in EYFS and KS1 have daily phonics sessions where they participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities. Within these sessions, all children are exposed to new learning and GPC’s, working through the phases detailed in ‘Letters and Sounds’ and developing their phonic knowledge and skills.


In EYFS children begin with Phase 1 and work through Phase 2 and 3 by the end of the year.

In year 1, children begin Phase 4 and work through Phase 5 in preparation for the Phonics Screening Check at the end of the year. You can find more information about this below.

In Year 2, all children recap and consolidate Phase 5 in the Autumn term and begin Phase 6. The teaching of Phonics in Year 2 is supplemented by the use of the ‘Non Nonsense Spelling’ programme to ensure a breadth and depth of coverage of the spelling requirements for the end of Year 2.


Phonics Screening Check


Each year, all children in Year 1, in all schools, must take the phonics screening check.  Some children in Year 2 are also required to take the screening check either because they did not take it in Year 1 or because their Year 1 score did not meet the required standard.

The check usually happens in June each year. The check will be kept as low key and comfortable as possible for the children and will provide important information about their early reading development.


You will receive more information about the Phonics Screening Check when your child enters Year 1 and will be invited to a Phonics Screening Check workshop where you can find out what it looks like, expectations of the child and ask any questions.


You can find some resources for preparing your child for the Phonics Screening Check at the bottom of this page.


You can also read more about the Phonics Screening check here:


How can I help my child at home?

There are many ways you can support your child’s phonics learning and development at home.

  • Understand and reinforce the terminology used at school (see the ‘Key terminology’ linked document below).
  • It is important for a child to learn lower case or small letters rather than capital letters at first. Most early books and games use lower case letters and your child will learn these first at school. Obviously you should use a capital letter when required, such as at the beginning of the child's name, e.g. Paul.
  • Ensure you are pronouncing the phonemes correctly -  watch the ‘How to say the Sounds’ video at the website below to learn more.

You can also explore the 44 phonemes and hear the phonemes and some example words using the Audio Guide below:

When you talk about letters to your child, remember to use the letter sounds: a buh cuh duh ... rather than the alphabet names of the letters: ay bee see dee ee. The reason for this is that sounding out words is practically impossible if you use the alphabet names. For example, cat would sound like: see ay tee which does not sound like ‘cat’.


When saying the sounds of b, d, g, j and w you will notice the 'uh' sound which follows each, for example buh, duh... You cannot say the sound without it, however, try to emphasise the main letter sound.


  • One of the key strategies we use to support the children is by asking them to add sound buttons/lines underneath words to help them identify the sounds they need to read, for example:

  • You can make this fun by using different writing materials like paint, crayons, felt- tips as well as tracing the word on glitter or sand trays.
  • Model blending and segmenting with your child. See the videos below for an explanation and example for each.
  • Attend the Phonics and Reading workshops for your child’s year group or class. During these workshops, teachers provide lots of helpful information and strategies to help you support your child at home and can answer any questions you have about supporting your child’s learning.
  • Read with your child as much as possible. Every week your child is sent home with a matched reading book that is appropriate to their phonics knowledge and skill level. The class teacher will also make comments in the ‘Reading Record’ detailing any targets you can support with while reading at home. Please read these and leave comments about your child’s reading in this Reading Record to inform your child’s teacher of their learning at home.
  • Please use the following Sound mats to help your child learn the graphemes at home:

  •   Make use of all the information and support available to you.
  • Below there are lots of linked documents with more useful information. There are also some websites linked that you can use at home to support your child’s phonics learning at school.

Al-Furqan Primary School

The Key to Success