Curriculum: Phonics

The Intent of our Phonics Curriculum

At The Willows Catholic Primary School we are committed to the delivery of excellence in the teaching of Phonics. We aim to develop each child so that they are able to read with fluency as well as develop a love of reading that will stay with our children all their lives. Being able to read is the most important skill children will learn during their early schooling and has far-reaching implications for lifelong confidence and well-being. The independent review of early reading conducted by Jim Rose confirmed that ‘high quality phonic work’ should be the prime means for teaching children how to read and spell words. The use of phonics is one of the many skills needed to be able to be a reader and writer. We aim to teach high quality phonics to ensure the children have the best start possible in reading and writing. The learning of phonics is the beginning of children’s reading journey in being able to develop knowledge, skills and understanding that are an essential part of learning to read. In order to read and understand texts children must learn to recognise and decode the words on the page. Good quality phonics teaching allows the child to be secure in the skills of word recognition and decoding which allows children to read fluently. This will result in children being able to read for pleasure and will allow them to move onto developing higher order reading for meaning skills. These phonic skills need to be taught systematically and involve a variety of resources and teaching which meet all learning styles and needs.

At The Willows Catholic Primary School our children are entitled to a Phonics curriculum which enables them to:

– gain a progressively deeper understanding of the phonetic structure of the English language.

–  apply their phonic knowledge and skills to decode unfamiliar words fluently and accurately.

–  read rapidly to apply what they have learned across the whole curriculum.

– create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers.

–  develop a life-long love of reading.

The Implementation of our Phonics Curriculum

To ensure our commitment to excellence in Phonics, children from Reception through to Year 2 are taught Phonics in small differentiated groups meeting the children’s academic needs and learning style.  Phonics is also part of teaching and learning throughout other curriculum lessons on a daily basis. The structure of each Phonics lesson as well as the small groups, uniquely planned and tailored to meet the needs of all our learners allows children’s learning journey of Phonics develop at a pace suitable for them so that their confidence and love of reading continually grows.

All Phonics lessons allow children to practise the blending and segmenting of phonemes/graphemes; The teachers also provide stimulating experiences and opportunities to motivate the children, using a range of resources to engage individuals and groups of children.

Our children are provided with a variety of opportunities to develop and extend their phonics skills in Reception and Key Stage 1. It will also be continued into Key Stage 2, where necessary to support those children who do not yet have the phonic knowledge and skills they need to be fluent readers. All Phonic Lessons follow the cycle of Revisit, Teach, Practise and Apply. This is to ensure that children are consolidating phonic knowledge and skills over time and that they are able to apply them in context. Consequently, wherever possible, links between phonics knowledge and understanding are made to learning in both Reading and Writing. These lessons proceed at pace and incorporate a wide range of practical and interactive learning opportunities to engage the children. These learning opportunities are carefully chosen to ensure that children develop their skills in aural discrimination and phonemic and rhyme awareness, blending and segmenting as well as grapheme-phoneme correspondence.

In every discrete phonics lesson:

– In each Phonic group there will be focus phonemes for the week for the whole group to be working on. The pace of how quickly a new sound is taught will be decided by the staff member leading the group alongside discussions with the Class Teacher/Phonics Lead. Planning of this phoneme will show a journey across the week so that children become confident in recognising the phonemes on their own and in words.

– New phonemes will be taught using the correct articulation and terminology and all children will use this terminology in their learning. E.g, phonemes, digraphs, trigraphs, split-digraph.

– At the start of every lesson phoneme flashcards are used as a quick warm up to refresh and rehearse previous sounds for each phase. This will be differentiated for each group depending on what phase they are learning. Phoneme flashcards can also be used throughout mini-plenaries and independent learning when children are practising phonemes.

– Lessons follow the structure outlined below –

REVISIT & REVIEW: Revise previously taught sounds and graphemes using flashcards.

TEACH: Introduce new sound and grapheme using flashcards and Interactive Resources.

PRACTISE: Children practise new and revised sounds and graphemes using a variety of resources to match their needs.

APPLY: Children extend their core skills with words and sentences containing the graphemes.

– Feedback will be given throughout the lesson to individuals to move learning forwards and drive progress. Children will be given extensions to learning opportunities for children to apply phonemes in context.

– Other adults will impact learning throughout the whole phonics lesson by using questions and reinforcement of key strategies taught with individuals.

– Outcomes to learning will be demonstrated in a variety of ways depending on the strategy/learning opportunity. E,g, multi-sensory resources will support learning in a practical way but there will also be opportunities to rehearse and explore writing of key phonemes and words.



The Impact of our Phonics Curriculum

Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This
way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is
measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading
attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.
However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the
results of the statutory assessments.

At The Willows Catholic Primary School we aim to develop a love of reading that will stay with the children forever.

Take a look at the Gallery below to see what our children have been getting up to…

Useful Information

In the table below you will find a wealth of useful documents for each year group. These documents help outline the learning, the progression and the steps taken to ensure all our children make excellent progress through our English curriculum. 


Useful Documents

Reading Policy

Phonics Policy

Writing Policy

SPAG Policy