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Phonics and early reading



At Fittleworth we aim to develop learners’ confidence and enjoyment in reading from the start of their educational journey. We will create fluent readers who will monitor their understanding of what they are reading and review the text when something does not make sense. Our mission is that children are able to use their skills to fully involve themselves in our curriculum and the wider world.


We have begun our journey using ‘Super Sonic Phonics Friends’ in Reception. In order to maintain consistency of approach and learning, year 1 and above will use letters and sounds using the phonics play planning. Both of these will support us with the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics. Both of these programmes allow us to use to Big Cat Collins high quality books as our fully decodable texts for children to use at the required stages for them.


Super Supersonic Phonic Friends is an enchanted adventure of phonics where along the way children will meet several friendly woodland characters who represent each literacy skill involved. Supported by the children's new 'Supersonic friends' and rhyming captions and phrases, this approach will ensure children develop confidence and apply each skill to their own reading and writing.




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. By the end of EYFS children should be fluent with all 44 sounds; including one way to represent them.


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 ‘think, coast and blink’. They also become fluent at recognising and applying 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.


Example lesson plan


Reading books are matched the the phonic knowledge of each child. We use Big Cat Phonics Books, which build on sounds that have previously been taught. They are read in a sequential order so that previous learning is constantly re-visited as new learning is introduced. 


Supersonic Phonic Friends has parent workshops, activities and weekly parent newsletters for all the phases to support and carry on learning at home learning.

Please visit the website for more information and to meet the characters! 


  • How do we assess phonic knowledge?
  • In reception and year 1, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment).
  • Children identified in reception and Y1 as struggling to keep up are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place 
  • In reception and year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the assessment tracker.
  • The children in Y1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
  • Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Y1, will re-sit this in Y2.
  • Children who are in Y2-Y6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.



  • Children across Reception and Year 1 (and beyond if appropriate) apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reading books. They are read with frequently in school and assessing phonics knowldege and understanding.
  • We encourage reading  at home is supported with notes inside each book; they provide ideas and prompt questions for enjoying the books together.
  • We encourage children to take home a choosing book from the class book corners to be enjoyed at home with their parents/care givers. This may be one they can read or another high quality book which an adult may read to them.
  • We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of high quality books, including books that reflect the children at our school and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books. 
  • In Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed. 
  • Children from Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school. 
  • As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
  • The school library is made available for classes to use.  Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc).




 At Fittleworth in order to identify the impact our curriculum is having on our pupils, teachers employ a range of assessment strategies both at the point of teaching and after. Regular assessment of pupil needs and understanding plays a vital role here as does the provision of appropriate resources and our whiteboards offer a wealth of materials that can be matched to suit individual or group needs, enabling all pupils to develop their phonic knowledge and skills.