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We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021.  


We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception Words' for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.

In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.


In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.


For further details please see the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression:

Unlocking Letters and Sounds Summary Progression

To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have impact.

Reading Schemes

At Paulton Infant School we promote a 'phonics first' approach and in both our reading sessions at school and in the books children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child's current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading.

As each child's phonics knowledge progresses, they begin to read decodable reading books pitched to match their current reading level. They bring home a decodable book in their book bag. We encourage children to read each book at least 3 times. The first for decoding; next to build fluency and finally with prosody (expression). The reading schemes we primarily use for our physical books include:


Collins Big Cat for Letters and Sounds                               Letters and Sounds Book Collections from TTS 











Ransom Reading Stars                                                   Alien Adventures




When Ransom Publishers open their e-book subscription, we are planning on signing up so that children can read decodable e-books from home. We will share log-ins with students as soon as this becomes available.

We supplement our reading books with other schemes where they match our phonics progression based on Unlocking Letters and Sounds. These include: selected Dandelion Readers and Rocket Phonics.

Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto choosing reading books from colour book band schemes beigining at purple and then followed by gold, white, lime and brown. This allows them to continue to develop their fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers while still accessing age-appropriate content.

An Introduction to the teaching of Phonics and Early Reading at Paulton Infant School

A presentation for EYFS parents filmed in September 2022. 



The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

Towards the end of Year 1, all students complete the Phonics Screening Check. This consists of reading 40 words - 20 real words and 20 nonsense words - with an adult they know. It is a statutory governemnt test. The pass mark has historically been 32 but this will not be confirmed until after the check has taken place. If a child does not pass the screening check, they will retake it at the end of Year 2.

2018 Phonics CheckAn example of the phonics check paper that takes place at the end of Year 1. We use these past papers to conduct in-house mock phonics checks in preparation for the real thing.

Useful websites to help with Phonics

What is Phonics?

A clear explanation of what phonics is and how it enables children to learn to read.

Phonics Pronunciation Video 
This video clip demonstrates how to pronounce pure sounds.

How to Blend Sounds to Read Words

A demonstration of how we can 'blend' sounds that we have learnt together in order to read new words.

On-line phonic games - phonics play

On this website you will find some of phonic games to practice sound recognition, blending to read and common exception words.

On-line phonic games - Teach Your Monster to Read

This excellent game is available to play for free on a computer or you can purchase as an app. 


An explanation of the terms we use when teaching phonics. This language is used with children.

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