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Holy Family Catholic Primary School



01229 828018



"The more that you read, the more that you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go." - Dr Seuss.

Phonics at Holy Family


At Holy Family Catholic Primary School our aim when teaching phonics is to promote a love of reading and a desire to discover, with our children becoming confident, fluent readers. We want our children to learn to read effortlessly so that they can concentrate on their understanding and the enjoyment of reading that the  exciting world of books offers. 

We have adopted the Letters and Sounds programme to deliver synthetic phonics during the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Daily phonics lessons are essential for developing early literacy skills and our children will begin their phonics journey from when they start with us in Nursery (please take a look at our Longterm Plan to see in more detail how the teaching of phonics progresses from Nursery to Year 2). Each class uses a range of exciting resources to support learning in phonics, including ICT, games, magnetic letters and outdoor resources which are used in whole class, group and individual activities. 

The Letters and Sounds Programme follows six Phases. Throughout Nursery and Reception, the expectation is that children cover Phases 1 to 3; in Year 1 children cover Phases 3 to 5 and in Year 2 children cover Phase 6, in which the focus changes to Support for Spelling. Please click on the link below to see the full Letters and Sounds Programme.

Letters and Sounds - Principles and practice of high quality phonics. 


What is Phonics and why do we teach it?

  • Listening for sounds (phonemes) within words
  • Hearing sounds and knowing the letters (graphemes) that represent each sound
  • Recognising letters and sounds in print
  • Blending the letters and sounds together to build words when reading
  • Segmenting the words into letters and sounds for writing
  • Remembering and learning by sight words that cannot be decoded (Tricky Words and Common Exception Words).

It is essential to provide children with the tools to decode words so that they can become confident readers.

Reading Books

We use reading books that carefully match the phonic phase the children are working on to enable children to practise using phonics in their reading both in school and at home. We offer a variety of books from the Oxford Reading Tree Collections for children to read including:

  • the Biff, Chip and Kipper stories
  • Julia Donaldson’s Songbirds
  • Floppy’s Phonics Fiction and Non-Fiction
  • Project X
  • Traditional Tales.

We encourage our children to read these books both in school and at home to develop their fluency and comprehension skills. In Nursery and Reception, our children will begin by reading wordless books to allow them to develop their language skills and become familiar with the enjoyment that books can bring. Later in Reception, our children will also be introduced to non-fiction books, giving them the opportunity to discover more about their world. 

Each class also has its own library full of exciting books for children to choose from during their Reading for Pleasure and Continuous Provision time. These books are chosen carefully, linked to class topics and they are changed regularly to allow children to read different books and genres from a variety of authors. 


We strongly encourage our children to read as much as possible at home. From Reception, we will provide our children with reading books to read daily both in school and at home. Each child will have a Reading Record in which they are able to record their reading journey. 

Alongside their reading books, in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, your child may also bring home some Tricky Words and Common Exception Words to learn. These are words that follow irregular rules and must be learnt by sight. Each year group has a set of Common Exception words that they are expected to learn to read and spell. These can also be seen in our Longterm Plan.

The Phonics Screening Check

In the Summer term of Year 1, children take part in a statutory Phonics Screening Check. The expectation is that children are secure in Phase 5 phonics by the end of Year 1 and this check assesses that children are able to decode words to this level and helps identify any children who may need further support in Year 2. The check is made up of 40 words for children to read and is a fun activity that children complete 1:1 with their teacher.