Marsh Lane Primary School<

Marsh Lane Primary School

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Phonics at Marsh Lane Primary School


The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. At Marsh Lane Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of year 1. We also value and encourage the pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills.


At Marsh Lane, synthetic phonics is taught as the main approach to early reading. Regular phonics sessions are taught from EYFS through to Year 2. These sessions follow the published programme ‘Letters and Sounds’ alongside our Phonics Bug and Oxford Reading Tree scheme.

A session is a daily 20-minute structured lesson, where the children have the opportunity to practice reading and writing.

Letters and Sounds’ is split into 6 phases. These are expected to be taught during the following years: 

Phase 1 – Nursery                                              

Phase 2, 3, 4 – Reception

Phase 4, 5 – Year 1

Phase 5, 6 – Year 2

Key Stage 2

Phonics is also taught within intervention support and interwoven into teaching within KS2, to ensure that there are no gaps. All staff have received training and have an up to date assessment tracker, to ensure that any gaps are supported and progress and impact if intervention is tracked.

Teachers regularly assess the pupil’s phonics knowledge using the phonics assessment. These regular assessments inform planning and allow
teachers to identify any gaps in learning. The children have reading books
which they are encouraged to read regularly at home which match their
current phonics level.

 At each phase children are taught to recognise individual sounds, pairs and clusters of letters. In phonic sessions children are taught to recognise letters, understand the sound they make and then blend them together to create words. Some words, which cannot be phonetically sounded out, are taught at each phase. These are ‘tricky words’ and are taught through sight recognition.

For more information on ‘Letters and Sounds’ and the phonics phases please click on the links below:

Phonics at Marsh Lane Primary School - Power point for parents

Sound Mats : Phase 2        Phase 3 - help with pronunciation

In 2012 a statutory check was introduced in Year 1. The check assesses phonics knowledge learnt in Reception (phase 3) and in Year 1 (phase 4,5). It was developed to help identify the children who need extra help with decoding and blending before they begin Year 2. For information on the Phonics Screening Check please see the powerpoint.

Phonics at Home

There are many great websites and apps to help support phonics learning at home. Here are some of our favourites used in school: – Buried Treasure, Dragons Den, Obb and Bob

Twinkl app

Phonics Vocabulary

Phoneme - The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English (it depends on different accents). Phonemes can be put together to make words.

Grapheme - A way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g ough.

GPC - This is short for Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence. Knowing a GPC means being able to match a phoneme to a grapheme and vice versa.

Digraph - A grapheme containing two letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).

Trigraph - A grapheme containing three letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).

Blending- This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word.

Segmenting - This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes (sound talk/sounding out) that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order.


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 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.