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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. 

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). In Nursery, our children follow an adaptation of the Letters and Sounds phonics programme and, from Reception onwards, we teach our children phonics following the Pearson Bug Club Phonics scheme.


The teaching of phonics includes six Phases (each phase is detailed in the slides below). Throughout Nursery and Reception, the expectation is that children cover Phases 1 to 4; in Year 1 children cover Phases 5 and 6 and in Year 2 children continue to cover Phase 6, but the focus then changes to Support for Spelling.


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).

The teaching of each Phonics phase at Holy Family is outlined below:

Reading Books


From Reception onwards, our children will be given reading books to take home. The Bug Club scheme provides reading books that carefully match the phonics that the children are learning in class to ensure the children are consolidating their learning. The children will also read each week on a 1:1 basis with their teachers in class and in small guided reading groups.

Alongside the Pearson Bug Club books, we may also provide your child with Oxford Reading Tree books to supplement their reading which, again, will be very carefully chosen to ensure that they match the phonics level your child is working at. 


We strongly encourage our children to read as much as possible at home. From Reception, we will provide our children with reading books and e-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 be set some Tricky Words and Common Exception Words to learn to read and spell. 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. 

Please click here to look at our Long Term plan for Phonics. This shows the progression in Phonics from Nursery through to Year 2.