St Stephen's Infant School

Striving, Supporting, Inspiring, Succeeding

Lansdown Road, Bristol, Avon, BS15 1XD

01454 866470

School Day: 8.45am-3.10pm– all year groups


Big Picture - Talk like a Reader and Writer

Phonics is one way of learning how to read and write. It helps us hear, identify and use different sounds in lots of words. Knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help decode words as you read and sound out words as you write.


At St Stephen’s Infant School we strive to ensure that all children become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. We encourage all children to reach their full potential through the provision of varied opportunities to access phonics and reading, which support children to acquire phonic knowledge and to develop a love of reading. Our principal aim is to develop children’s phonological awareness, their understanding of the alphabetic code and their ability to segment and blend phonetically decodable words and read tricky words by sight - to become fluent readers.


We recognise that our phonics planning must allow pupils to gain a progressively deeper understanding of the phonetic structure of the English language as they move through the school to ensure all children are provided with the key tools needed to become a fluent reader.


The Parent Link Officer and English Subject Leader hold phonics workshops for parents at least once per academic year to inform parents of how to best support their children.


Pupils should be taught:

  • To read representations for all 44 phonemes in the English language.
  • To listen for phonemes and rhyme in order to encourage good spelling.
  • To blend and segment.
  • To remember 'sight words.
  • To repeat and consolidate learning so that spelling becomes automatic.
  • To apply their phonic and reading skills in all curriculum areas.



The school uses the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document to plan and teach phonics. Whole group teaching of phonics is planned on a format which includes the ‘revisit/review- teach- apply- assessment’ sections recommended by the Letters and Sounds document and linking to the objectives set out in Development Matters and Early Learning Goals. The children’s learning includes developing letter and sound recognition, word building and word recognition as part of their phonic development.  Each teacher plans for their own class. Children receive 25 minutes daily letters and sounds teaching with the support from teaching assistants (TAs). By the end of the year, our expectation is for all children to have achieved the learning required in EYFS and begin preparation for Year One. By Term 4, children may work in smaller groups supported by TAs (children identified blending and segmenting difficulties).  Phonics intervention groups are run to support recognition of sounds/letters and or blending practice.



The school uses the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document to plan and teach phonics. Whole group teaching of phonics is planned on a format which includes the ‘revisit/review- teach- apply- assessment’ sections recommended by the Letters and Sounds document and linking with the National Curriculum statutory requirements for Year 1 and Year 2. All Key Stage One classes are taught within their classes, for daily phonics sessions, based on a range of assessment information.  The Year 1 team use end of Reception assessment information (phonics tracking and ELG end of year expectations).  The Year 2 team use end of Y1 tracking data, phonics tracking and phonics screening results.  Careful thought is given to appropriately structured provision for children with SEND. This is achieved through individualised 1:1 intervention programmes, which are regularly reviewed. Within each phonics session, a range of stretch and challenge is planned to meet the learning needs of all children. 


Phonics Screening Check

All children in Year One will be screened using the National Assessment materials in Term 6. If children in Year One do not meet the screening threshold they will be retested in Year Two. We continue to provide support for these children throughout Y2 with differentiated activities (see Key Stage One section). This data will be submitted to the Local Authority and parents and carers are informed of the results.

What is phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. Phonics involves matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters. Children are taught the sound each letter makes as well as the sounds which digraphs, trigraphs and split digraphs make. Learning phonics enables children to read and write.


Digraph- two letters which make one sound i.e. 'ch' in chop, 'ng' in ring, 'ai' in snail.

Trigraph- three letters which make one sound i.e. 'igh' in flight, 'ear' in hear, 'air' in lair.

Split digraph- two letters split between a consonant i.e. 'o-e' in bone, 'i-e' in bike.


There are many ways to help children to read at home and we recommend reading with your child daily. We also suggest using some websites to support your child; (Click on the Phonics sections.) (Each sound is covered so you can recap the ones your child needs to work on.)


Please watch this video on how we teach phonics and to support you with saying the sound each letter makes;