Phonics is… 

...The code that turns written language into spoken language and vice versa. 

The vital initial step in teaching children to read (but not the whole picture). 

The ability to convert a letter or letter group into sounds. 

These are then blended together or synthesized into words. 

To be every child’s ‘go to’ strategy when they come across an unfamiliar word in reading 

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skillfully. We believe that all children should begin to acquire the knowledge of synthetic phonics as soon as it is appropriate for their stage of development. 

Letter sounds (phonemes) are taught in relation to particular letters (graphemes). These sounds are blended to create words. 


Statement of Intent:  

At Ecclesfield primary school, it is our intent that all children learn to read well, quickly. We have fidelity to Essential Letters and Sounds which is a Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme, as validated by the Department for Education, as our approach to teaching phonics. We aim for all children to be fluent readers by age seven by: 

  • ensuring consistency and simplicity through high quality teaching  
  • encouraging a wide and rich vocabulary  
  • providing context, assist in comprehension to allow all children to achieve fluency and accuracy 
  • teachers, children and parents using consistent terminology  
  • using consistent resources that support effective teaching 
  • repetition and reinforcement of learning 
  • regular and manageable assessment to ensure that all children keep up rather than catch up 


Through following the ELS approach we will: 

  • provide daily, whole class, high-quality first teaching that ensures all children have a strong foundation upon which to tackle the complex processes of reading, writing and spelling. 
  • use well structured daily lesson plans which are rigorous and engaging .  
  • use consistent terminology by teachers, children and parents.  
  • use consistent resources that support effective teaching.  
  • use repetition and reinforcement of learning.  
  • provide continuous and reactive assessment to ensure that all children keep up rather than catch up. 
  • provide robust intervention both within and outside of the lesson 


At Ecclesfield, we promote a learning culture where a secure knowledge of phonic sounds and words enables reading for pleasure as part of our reading and wider curriculum.  

Through the teaching of systematic phonics, children become fluent and confident word readers by the end of KS1. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through school. 


Home Reading 

Each week, children take home one Decodable Book and one Sharer Book. This gives children plenty of opportunities to develop their phonic knowledge and reading fluency. Children keep the decodable books for one week and re-read them at least four times in this period. Re-reading ensures that children develop their reading skills and fluency. This, in turn, supports their learning in school; as children become more fluent at reading, they are able to focus on their new learning.  

Children also take home a ‘Sharer Book’ which is read with or by the child’s parents. This book focuses on vocabulary, language comprehension and develops a love of reading for the children. 

For further information about phonics and how you can support at home, please visit: 

For more information and for some helpful tips and games for home see: