At Eastway School, we place high value upon high-quality phonics teaching in order to give all children a solid base for reading, which they can build on as they progress through school. We are passionate about supporting children to develop a habit of wide reading for both pleasure and information.

As a school we have created a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme that teaches children from the age of 4 all of 44 sounds (phonemes) and their matching letters/letter groups (graphemes).

Our school phonics programme is:

  • A structured route for children to meet or exceed the expected standard in the year one phonics screening check,
  • Covers the national curriculum expectations for word reading through decoding by the end of key stage 1,
  • Offers sufficient support for children from reception and key stage one to become fluent readers,
  • Continues to support pupils in older years to develop their phonic knowledge and provide a solid base for reading.
Phonics sessions at Eastway

Children in Reception and key stage 1 (other pupils where appropriate) take part in a daily session for 25 minutes. A quality session will:

  • Be taught in 4-part sequence-REVISIT, TEACH, PRACTISE, APPLY 

  • Focus on developing both reading and spelling skills

  • Encourage children to learn from their mistakes and correct in green pen

  • Have well skilled adults modelling the correct pronunciation of sounds and reading words using standard English

  • Display resources clearly using the consistent set of school phonics resources

  • Have consistent vocabulary which is used throughout the school (see appendix)

Phonics Phase 1 is taught discretely within the Early Years provision. 

The Four Part Sequence


Using the simple sound chart, speed sound chart or flash cards children review sounds they have learnt to date and revisit the sound from the previous day. 


The adult teaches pupils the new phoneme to class. The adult teaches the pupils the letters that make the sound (grapheme) and what the sound makes (phoneme). Adult models saying the sound to the children and the children repeat MY TURN, YOUR TURN. Teacher models reading words with this sound in. This is done through sounding out and blending. Sound buttons are used. 


Children practise reading words with the sound they have learnt during the session. Other activities may include adding sound buttons to words, sorting words and spelling words with the sound.


This is where children will apply the skills and things they have learnt. This would be through reading a sentence with tricky words/common exception words and words from the day or writing a sentence. 



Phonics in Nursery, Phase 1

Children will continue to learn and join in with songs, nursery rhymes and stories. Adults always ensure children are ready to listen before a session and may need to sing our listening song to gain attention. The adults may refer to the listening prompts on the wall and use ‘Listening Lola’ to support. ‘Beat baby will also be used to support steady beat.

Each session will focus on one of the Phase 1 aspects

  1. To discriminate sound - environmental sound.
  2. To discriminate sound – instrumental sound.
  3. To discriminate sound – body percussion.
  4. Rhythm and rhyme.
  5. Alliteration.
  6. Voice sounds.
  7. Oral blending and segmenting.

Within each aspect there are three strands – auditory discrimination, auditory memory and developing vocabulary and language comprehension.


Year 1 Phonics Check
 At the end of Year One children sit a phonics screening check.  This is an assessment to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. The check consist of 40 words, 20 of which are real words and 20 of which are made up words (alien words). Each child will be asked to read these words one-on-one with a teacher. Any children who do not reach the required standard will then be able to retake the check at the end of Year Two.


Blending: Building words for reading by pushing together all the phonemes or sounds in the word.

Common Exception Words/Tricky Words: These words cannot be segmented into sounds that are taught within the phonics programme. Children need to learn these words by sight.  

Phoneme: The smallest unit of sound in a word. Phonemes may be written with more than one letter eg the word start has 4 phonemes - s - t - ar- t. The word church has 3 phonemes - ch - ur - ch. The word strap has 5 phonemes - s - t - r - a - p.

Grapheme: The letter or letters that are used to write a phoneme.

Digraph: A two letter grapheme where two letters represent one phoneme or sound eg ar, ea, er, oi, ch, th

Sound out : To say the individual sounds that make up the word.

Long vowel sound: The sound that is like the names of the vowel letters. The long vowel sounds are often represented in more than one way by digraphs and trigraphs eg main, stay, cake, see, seat, mice, light, coat, bone, glue, spoon.

Segmenting: Splitting up words for spelling by breaking up words into all their sounds and then working out what letter or letters are needed to represent each sound.

Short vowel sound: The sound that the letters a, e, i, o, u make in a word eg cat, peg, hit, not, sun.

Split vowel digraph: A two letter grapheme that represent a vowel phoneme or sound where the sounds are pushed apart by another letter.  It is used for the long vowel sounds.

Trigraph: A three letter grapheme where three letters represent one phoneme or sound eg air, igh, ear

Vowel digraph: A two letter grapheme that represents a vowel phoneme or sound eg ay, ee, oi