Teaching and Learning of Phonics at St Helen’s

Why Phonics matters:

At St Helen’s, we believe that the teaching and learning of phonics is crucial to enabling children to read and spell. Having a strong knowledge of phonemes and correlating graphemes provides children with a core foundation upon which they can develop their skills in reading and spelling as they move up through the school.

We want the teaching of phonics to be engaging for children at St Helen’s so we have taken aspects from various schemes to use alongside the formatted sequences of teaching and structure of lessons as agreed within the C4L cluster.

Our Approach:

Phonics lessons at St Helen’s follow the Letters and Sounds scheme whereby lessons are structured in a Review, Teach, Practise and Apply format.

In order to engage children and help them to retain and apply their learning we incorporate songs, rhymes and actions from other schemes.

As agreed within the C4L cluster, phonic sounds are taught in families whereby children are taught all correlating graphemes one after the other.

Phonics in EYFS and Year 1


In EYFS and Year 1 emphasis is placed upon children applying their phonic knowledge when reading; facilitating them with skills to segment and blend unfamiliar words in texts. Sound buttons are used as a visual aid to help children identify each sound in the unfamiliar word. Songs and actions from the Jolly Phonics scheme are used to engage children and to help them retain knowledge of phonemes and correlating graphemes.

Writing and Spelling:

In EYFS and Year 1, children are taught to apply their phonic knowledge when writing unfamiliar words. As with reading, the children are encouraged to segment the word to help them write the correct graphemes. This also applies in Year 1 where children are taught to spell with suffixes and prefixes as the root word is likely to be phonically regular.

Phonics in Years 2-6

From Year 2 upwards emphasis is placed on using phonics to spell and the teaching of spelling rules. To enable children to retain and apply spelling rules, rhymes are used from Read, Write Inc. The rhymes help children to figure out which form of spelling is correct. It also gives teachers a way of communicating spelling rules within lessons and enables children to have more ownership over their spellings.


Watch these videos from our KS1 team all about the importance of Phonics and Reading and how you can help your children. 

EYFS Phonics and Reading

Year 1 Phonics

Year 1 Reading