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Dagnall VA Church of England School

'Like trees, we grow and keep on bearing fruit.'

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Phonics & Reading


At Dagnall Church of England School every child 'grows and bears fruit' in reading and it is our intent that phonics is taught in a fun and interactive manner which enables the children to use mnemonics and actions to recall phonemes and graphemes from their session. This then enables them to be able to apply this key skill in their reading and writing.



At Dagnall Church of England Church School, phonics is taught using the Department for Education validated "Supersonic Phonic Friends" programme. This is a fully systematic, synthetic phonic approach ranging from the simple to the complex spellings of the alphabetic code.

Supported by the Supersonic Phonic friends, this approach helps our children to develop confidence and apply each skill to their own reading and writing. We have chosen this programme as it provides an engaging, fun and active approach to teaching, which matches our ethos in school.

Starting from Nursery as a strong foundation to build on, the children’s phonic knowledge will build throughout EYFS and KS1 and be applied throughout the rest of their school journey and in their wider life.



Children will have a strong foundation in phonics and be able to recognise the 44 sounds (or phonemes) in the English language, know which letters (or graphemes) represent these. They will be able to correctly apply these into their reading and writing, working towards an independent way of working. This will enable the children to become fluent readers and confident writers, having all the foundation skills needed.


We use a range of strategies to assess these skills and knowledge including the following:

 Phonics tracker to assess the children's progress (each half term and full term)

 Phonics books to monitor the application of the phonics in the children's writing
 In lesson observations  Pupil's voice and self-assessment

 Feedback from each lesson


Structure of a Phonics session

The daily phonics sessions in EYFS and KS1 are approximately 25 minutes long. For our lowest 20% this may include a pre-teach for the following day to give them the skills they need to be able to participate fully in the session. Depending on teacher assessment throughout the phonics session, some children may also need a post-teach if they need further support to grasp a specific sound. Below is an example of the phonics session from Supersonic Phonic Friends which shows the format for all phonics teaching at NCS.


Phonics in Robins


The children in Nursery develop their phonological awareness through taking part in adult-led activities which promote listening skills. We use Phase 1 of the Supersonic Phonic Friends scheme. Through these activities our children develop their auditory discrimination, and auditory memory. Activities to support the progress in our children’s phonological awareness and interest in sounds, are embedded prior to the introduction of systematic phonics teaching in Reception.



In Reception, phonics sessions starts as soon as the children have successfully transitioned and settled. During the transitions we baseline the children to ascertain their current phonics ability.


All phonics sessions are led by teaching staff in small ability groups. This enables us to drill down into each child's journey and needs. If some children need more consolidation to embed the learning, this enables us to be able to tailor sessions to suit the emerging needs. It also allows challenge for children who need it.


For children who may need a little more support we will use pre- and post-teach techniques to enhance their learning journey.


By the end of Reception we expect most children to be fully secure in Phase 3 of their phonics journey.


It is very important that parents support their children at home with their phonics journey. This helps to consolidate their learning and practise their skills. One way is through early reading. There is more information about reading at home further down this page.

Phonics in Red Kites

Year 1

In Year One, phonics sessions will focus on Phase 4 and Phase 5, with a recap on Phase 3 at the start of the year based on children's needs. Teaching will be in small groups led by teaching staff enabling tailored support and challenge when required.


For children who may need a little more support we will use pre- and post-teach techniques to enhance their learning journey.


Within the final half-term of Year One children will undertake their Phonics Screening Check to ascertain their level of understanding and ability to apply their knowledge. More information on the Phonics Screening Check can be found here.

Phonics Screening for Parents 2023,will%20be%20in%20year%201.


Year 2

In Year Two, children will continue to follow Supersonic Phonic Friends scheme. Children who did not reach the pass mark in Year One for their Phonics Screening Check will revisit the phases of phonics they need to embed further. This will be closely monitored to ensure they receive the support they need to be able to apply their phonics knowledge to decode words with their known phonemes.

Children in Year Two will continue to learn common exception words suitable for their current stage of development and will practise these in their reading and writing.


It is very important that parents support their children at home with their phonics journey. This helps to consolidate their learning and practise their skills. One way is through reading the school books sent home, but also supplementing this with looking for incidental learning when you are out and about. This could be reading road signs, menus, maps or reading comics and books from the library.


Applying Phonics Knowledge into Early Reading

The children have a ‘reading rehearsal’ time on Fridays where they read their book with a teacher ahead of it going home. This will ensure that the reading books sent home are aligned to the children's phonics stage to enable them to read with the confidence that they know all the sounds in the book. This supports their reading fluency, comprehension and reading for enjoyment.


Home reading is very much about children showing off their decoding skills to their family, so the children should be able to read these books with ease and fluency.


Parent Newsletters

Each week you will receive an emailed parent newsletter which tells you what your child has been learning that week and a preview of the learning coming up the following week. A copy of all of the newsletters can be found below.


Assessment in Phonics

As with all areas of the curriculum, assessment is an integral part of the teaching process. Class teachers keep records of work carried out, and levels of achievement for each child. Phonics books are used in Reception, Year One and Year Two for the children to apply their learning in a written form. These are assessed by teaching staff on completion.


Formative assessment is used to guide the teaching of individual pupils in Phonics. We use Phonics Tracker each half term / term to assess whether the child is able to recall phoneme sounds, apply this to blend to read words, segment to spell words using known sounds and read the common exception words taught within the phonics sessions.


The ongoing assessment processes and formative assessments are used to ensure children understanding and retaining the information taught in sessions and are reading the correct level of books. They are also used to implement interventions where needed and ensure children are in the correct teaching group for phonics.


Supporting Children with SEND to access Phonics

Adaptations are in place for children who may need additional support to access our phonics sessions. This may include seating positions nearer the interactive white board for visually impaired children, seating support for those who need it or 1-1 teaching assistant support. Other adaptations may include sloped writing supports, grip mat and pencil grips for those who need this for the writing element of the phonics teaching. Teachers and teaching assistants will adapt the teaching to meet the needs of all individual children.


Pupil Premium Children

As part of our monitoring processes we ensure that children in the receipt of Pupil Premium are able to fully access all aspects of Phonics.


Additional links you may find helpful

The Department for Education Reading Framework

Supersonic Phonic Friends YouTube Channel

Want to know more?  Speak to the Headteacher or your child's class teacher.

Supersonic Phonic Friends - Who is who and what they do?

Parent workshop slide presentation Autumn 2023

Some question prompts for reading in KS1

Some question prompts for reading in Robins