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Phonics & Early Reading


At Aldersbrook Primary School, we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that our phonics scheme, Supersonic Phonics Friends (SSPF), provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. Through SSPF, children have the ability to listen to the sounds in the words, therefore later helping them with their spelling. In SSPF, there are specific characters which help children recognise when they need to segment and blend new words. All reading books are carefully matched to the sounds children have learnt. 

Early Reading, Phonics & Reading Comprehension - Sedlescombe CE Primary  School

Phonics is introduced in nursery, where they begin to recognise environmental sounds and body percussion, as well as initial sounds. We ensure that phonics is taught as soon as children first arrive in Reception. This provides the children with the best start with phonics and ensures they can start recognising sounds as soon as possible.


Our phonics teaching starts in Nursery and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. The focus is on listening and identifying the different sounds we hear in our environment and in songs, stories and rhymes. Once children can hear and differentiate between sounds they are ready to begin exploring how words are made up of sounds and start playing games like I spy. 

The Nursery phonics’ curriculum is split up into 7 aspects. 

We ensure that phonics is taught as soon as children first arrive in Reception. This provides the children with the best start with phonics and ensures they can start recognising sounds as soon as possible. During the Reception year children are introduced to phonemes and their corresponding graphemes. We begin to look at single letter sounds and the representing spelling for this. Children then begin to read and write three letter words; matching the grapheme to the sound they can hear. 

As they become confident and fluent readers and writers of CVC words children are then introduced to digraphs; where two letters make one sound. Throughout the whole of the reception year our phonic teaching relies on the firm foundations of orally blending and segmenting and is deep rooted in rhythm and rhyme.

In Year 1 children develop their ability to hear and remember more than three sounds in a row and explore adjacent consonants to read CVCC and CCVC words such as ‘drink, coast and think’. They also become fluent at recognising and appling alternative sounds for the 44 graphemes they learnt in Reception and are introduced to alternative ways to make each of the digraphs they have previously learnt.  Through the use of the characters Switch it Mitch and Choose to Use Suze they recognise spelling patterns and rules to identify which spelling they need to represent the sound. By the end of Year 1 children will have had access to over 100 spellings to make the 44 sounds.

Children are also introduced to Nonsense Nan who will guide them through how to read alien and real words in preparation for the Year 1 Phonic Screening Check at the end of their time in Year 1. Children are also introduced to more tricky and high frequency words. 

From Year 2, we continue to explore grapheme phoneme correspondence and learn spelling rules to support our reading and writing development. Supersonic Phonic Friends allows us access to a tailored programme of spelling rules for both children in Year 1 and Year 2. 

All lessons are delivered using a consistent set of slides provided by the phonic scheme. Lessons last 30 minutes and follow the structure of: 

Review and revisit

During this part of the session, children recap on the sounds previously taught. This will consist of a fun activity or game to focus on sounds the children have recently been taught or to look at tricky words.


This is the part of the lesson where new learning takes place. Children will be introduced to a new sound and taught how to orally blend and segment words containing that sound. They will be shown the grapheme to represent the sound. 


During this section children are given the opportunity to read and write words containing the new sound as well as orally spell and blend words with their phonic buddy. They will use a range of resources to embed their new learning; ensuring there is an equal balance of reading and writing. 


In every lesson children will be given an application task where they are expected to read and write new words and sounds within a caption or a sentence. This allows children to see their new learning in a context and to further embed their vocabulary and fluency. They will also apply tricky words and high-frequency words to their reading or writing. 

Within this structure all children become familiar with the characters and know the roles of their jobs. Children are given an equal balance of reading and writing phonic activities to ensure there is equal weighting to their application of skills.



The impact of the implementation of our systematic synthetic phonics programme will be that children will have a secure knowledge of phonics, enabling them to become confident readers and therefore access all learning across the curriculum. Pupils will make at least the expected progress and develop a life-long love of reading. Children will be able to apply the skills learnt to their spelling and writing as they are confident in choosing the correct phoneme to grapheme correspondence.

This can be seen Phonics data in the last three years:


Supersonic Phonic Friends is a programme rooted in the belief that “wrapping children in lessons full of rhyme will allow children to achieve every time,” and that careful and rigorous assessment will allow children at risk of falling behind to be pinpointed quickly and teachers can intervene effectively. 

Assessment takes the form of half-termly whole class trackers to allow staff to easily identify children who are on track, above or if they require extra support to ‘keep up’ with their phonics and the application of their reading and writing. 

Year group trackers allow staff to track individual children’s progress across the phases and identify the lowest 20% in the cohorts to ensure precise gaps can be identified and staff can plan accordingly based on individual needs. This will form the basis for pupil progress meetings on a half-termly basis. 

Children are assessed via: 

  • Weekly planning ‘ I can statements’ (listen, recognise, build, read, write). 

  • Daily evaluation (AFL) to identify children who require pre-teach and post-teaching sessions

  • Tracking progress in individual lessons 

  • Through play in provision 

  • 1-1 reading decodable texts 

  • Home school reading texts 

  • Guided writing sessions 

  • Writing opportunities in the learning environment.

Supporting the Lowest 20%

Any children who are identified as needing support are given small class group interventions to enable them to not fall behind others in the class. Pre-teaching and post-teaching activities are provided to give the children the best possible chance at keeping up with their group’s lesson. Intervention sessions will be administered within small groups where children will have access to the same lesson delivered with an emphasis on orally blending and segmenting and rehearsal of these skills. They will then use the Super Six tasks to apply these skills to reading and writing activities. 

Children who do not meet the expected standard in the Year 1 Phonic Screening Check (PSC) will be given extra phonic sessions in Year 2 to support their development and will retake the screening at the end of the academic year. Children who move through school who have missed out on passing the PSC will be monitored by their class teacher and phonic interventions will continue to take place. These children will become frequent readers and will be tracked during pupil progress meetings as they move through Key Stage 2. Gaps in their learning will be assessed right from the Firm Foundations to allow for early skills to be secure and built upon. These children are also boosted using both the phonic planning from Supersonic Phonic Friends and the spelling programmes with a strong focus on blending and segmenting.