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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 “oo;

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


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


How do we teach it?


When children enter Nursery at Hamer, the emphasis is upon fostering the children’s speaking and listening skills in preparation for learning to read with phonics. This is developed through the Government phonic scheme called Letters and Sounds.  Parents can play a vital role in helping their children develop these skills, by encouraging their children to listen carefully and talk about what they hear, see and do.


To see more information on Letters and Sounds:



As children move into Foundation and KS1, discrete phonics lessons are delivered using the Read Write Inc (RWI) Phonics Programme designed by Ruth Miskin.



When using RWI to read the children will:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
  • learn to read words using Fred Talk


When using RWI to write the children will:

  • learn to write the letter/letter groups which represent 44 sounds.
  • learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk
  • write simple sentences





For further information on Ruth Miskin phonics:




When do we teach it?

All children from Nursery through to Year 2 receive phonics teaching every day, for 20 minutes in Foundation and 30 minutes in KS1. This is in smaller, focused teaching groups to enable the children to make the most progress.


How do we assess?

The children are assessed informally on a daily basis as the lessons progress and are adapted to meet the needs of the children. More formal testing takes place half-termly through individual assessments to keep a more detailed check of the child’s progress. All this assessment informs teacher’s daily, weekly and half termly planning.

Children who need extra support will therefore be identified and receive additional input.


In the Summer term of Year 1, children will take a national test called the Phonic Screening. They have to read 40 real and nonsense words based on sounds that they have been learning.


As children enter Year 2, the majority of children will be confident with their sounds and will move onto a spelling programme. Children who still need phonic input will continue to do so and repeat the Phonic Screen test at the end of Year 2.


To see examples of the phonic screen, follow this link.


How can parents help?

Your children will bring home spellings from their phonic lessons on a weekly basis in KS1. Foundation children start to bring home spellings as soon as they can start to blend sounds together into words. These are words that practise the sounds that they have been learning in the previous week. Please practise these with your children and emphasise the importance of them to your child.


There are many websites which can help with your child’s phonic skills as detailed below.



For further information, please see your class teacher or Miss Nicholson.