Phonics at Blackwater

The Simple View of Reading


Reading has two parts – word reading and comprehension. Our reading curriculum is underpinned by the Simple View of Reading. To become a successful reader, children need to have both decoding skills (the ability to ‘read’ the words on the page) and comprehension skills (the ability to ‘understand’ what is on the page).


What is phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skillfully. They are taught how to:

  • Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  • Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’
  • Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
  • Children can then use this knowledge to ‘decode’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.


The teaching of phonics is an integral part of the curriculum in our school.  From September 2022, we will be using the government validated systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP) by ‘Little Wandle' (See below for further information on this SSP).  Children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling.   These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more.  As the children grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound, e.g. ‘igh’ can be represented as ‘igh’, ‘ie’, ‘i-e’, ‘i’


The teaching of phonics is given high priority and children begin to decode and read words quickly. Children have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they are introduced to new phonemes, can practise and revise previous learning and have plenty of opportunities to apply the knowledge they have.


The teaching of phonics is delivered by staff skilled in teaching early reading.  We provide  structured and enjoyable phonics activities that assist children in learning new sounds rapidly.  We use a range of multisensory strategies to enthuse and engage the children, including the use of interactive whiteboards, movement, speaking and listening, songs, rhymes, practical activities.  Children work with pace and are encouraged to apply their knowledge across the curriculum with any reading or writing activities.


Alongside the technique of ‘sounding out’ new words, we actively encourage the learning of words from memory.  Within our phonics planning, we teach children the high frequency words and common exception words, as highlighted in the National Curriculum.  We refer to these sight words as our ‘tricky words’.  Children are given opportunities to apply what they have learnt through reading, including time to read aloud to adults to practise their decoding skills and comprehension of what they are reading.


Why phonics?

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged five to seven.   It gives all children a solid base upon which to build as they progress through school and helps children to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.

Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment. Children will also become confident phonetic spellers. This will then lead into teaching the children different spelling rules to help develop more accurate spelling.


Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP) developed for schools by schools.
Based on the original Letters and Sounds, but extensively revised to provide a complete teaching programme meeting all the expectations of the National Curriculum, the Ofsted Deep Dive into reading and preparing your children to go beyond the expectations of the Phonics Screening Check.
The resources on this page will help you support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. 
There are also some useful videos so you can see how they are taught at school and feel confident about supporting their reading at home.

Some useful websites

If you would like to find out more about phonics, visit the phonics section of the Department for Education Website (Click Here)

Other websites to support practice phonic skills


Cbeebies Alphablocks – Reading and phonics support
We are committed to supporting all of our parents in becoming skilled and confident in supporting their child’s phonics.  Further information on supporting children’s phonics at home can be found below.
If you would like to find out more about this curriculum area, please email Mrs. Evison on