At Shirley Infant School we give a high priority to the teaching of phonics and everyday we will teach phonics as a separate session.   We adopt the synthetic phonics approach through the 'Letters and Sounds' programme. This just means that each unknown word is sounded out and then blended together in order to read the word.  The scheme teaches the sounds in an order which allows them to quickly begin to put sounds together  to read words.  We favour using the 'Jolly Phonics' appraoch, which involves a short story and action to help children remember sounds, when we first teach the letter sounds to the children. Alongside the skills of blending (putting sounds together to read) and segmenting (breaking words down to spell them), the children are also taught exception words that cannot be sounded out, such as 'was' or 'me'. We call these words 'tricky words' and they learn to read and to spell these from memory.

The Year R phonics curriculum teaches children the first letter sounds in manageable groups, based on the Letters and Sounds programme. Children are then taught to read and then write simple words using these sounds. By the end of Year R, all the children will have learned all the corresponding sounds for each letter of the alphabet and most will have learned a range of digraph sounds like 'ch' or 'ee' (where two letters join together to make a new sound).

The children in Year 1 continue with daily phonics practise, following the Letters and Sounds programme.Once the children are ready, we move on to learning some alternative spellings for the sounds they know and begin to look at common spelling patterns- spelling plurals, past tense –ed endings and –ing endings.

The children in Year 2 continue to follow the Letters and Sounds programme and the main focus is on supporting children’s spelling strategies. Children will be taught the many different rules for spelling plurals, and adding prefixes and suffixes to words.


Useful Phonics Websites for Parents and Children

This video models the skill of blending sounds together:

There are also a wealth of websites with games which could support your child's progress in phonics...

This website has lots of free games that are useful for blending to read and is also useful for deciding whether  word is real or nonsense:


This is a reading game where the children read a question and have to click on yes or no.  The level can be adjusted for easier or trickier words:


This website is a listening and sight recognition game.  The children listen to the word and click on the matching word.  The level can be adjusted for the child's ability:


This game allows you to input your own words to practise reading.  So if you are practising a particular sound like 'ch', you can type in all 'ch' words:


This game practises the sounds individually.  You have to pop the balloons with the given sound.


Also remember that your child has an individual log in to the Education City website, which we regularly use in school.