Phonics and Early Reading

At Abbeymead we use the systematic, synthetic phonics programme Unlocking Letters and Sounds to teach with rigour and fidelity. We teach our phonics, so that is accessible to all, by planning for 100% engagement from each child. Synthetic systematic phonics is a key skill that supports the development of early reading.

At Abbeymead Primary school we use Unlocking Letters and Sounds, a scheme validated by the DfE in December 2021.

We place our quality phonics teaching in a language rich curriculum, with exposure to a range of both physical and digital texts. We continually aim to make strides towards closing the word gap.

Working alongside parents and carers we want to provide our pupils with the skills they need to have a successful start to their lives as readers and to ensure that our children develop a love of reading.


For more information about our Phonics scheme - Unlocking Letters and Sounds please click here. 


For the full guidance document out lining our early reading approach please click here.


Phonics Terminology

Phonics Website Links

Some more hints and tips to help with reading

Phonics Screening Leaflet

Mr Thorne youtube videos excellent video clips explaining how to pronounce the different phonic sounds

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: ‘Abbeymead - Unlocking Letters and Sounds 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 an impact
.At Abbeymead Primary 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. In these crucial early stages of reading we use phonically decodable books to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow.
Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.