At Cathedral Primary School, we teach phonics using a validated programme called Unlocking Letters and Sounds. We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Below you will find the Unlocking Letters and Sounds Phonics Progression.

Progression Document

In Reception, 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 and any child who does not meet age related expectations in Year 1 will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.

To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to catch up through bespoke 1-1 precision teaching, and segmenting and blending interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have impact.

Supporting Phonics at Home

For home reading, children read books so that they can practise and apply reading skills that have been taught at school. Below you will find some information about how the texts are distributed and the best ways to use them at home.

 - The books are written to perfectly align with the progression of our Phonics teaching.
 - The texts are very carefully matched to your child's phonic ability - they should be able to read the words with 95% accuracy.
 - The books will only contain graphemes that the child has been taught and mastered.
 - The books are designed to be read and re-read to build upon fluency, comprehension and prosody.
Please read with your child every day to develop their blending, decoding and fluency skills. We ask that you record this in their reading log book by writing a positive comment about your child’s reading. 

As children progress beyond phase 5 phonics, they move onto our coloured book band scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills and become avid, expert readers.

The below video explains the best practice for using these books both at school and at home. The video also explains why some children may keep a book for a longer period of time, as if they are still working at the stage of needing to blend each word on the page, they need to keep the book to practice re-reading to build their fluency, comprehension and prosody. I hope this video will help give you some ideas of how to move your child on in their reading when re-reading a familiar book at home.