What is Phonics?


Phonic teaching is a vital part of English.

At Worsthorne Primary School, we aim to teach children fluent word reading skills and provide a good foundation in spelling from the earliest opportunity. Phonics is taught daily to all children in EYFS (Reception) and Key Stage One. 

At Worsthorne, we follow Lancashire ‘Red Rose Phonics’ scheme. 

A phonics lesson follows the sequence: 


  • Revisit/ review previous sounds and/ or tricky/ high frequency words previously taught 
  • Teach new sound or concept where applicable 
  • Practice the new learning to reading or writing words/ sentences 
  • Apply the new learning to read and/or write (dictation of words and sentences) 
  • Practice basic sight words – ‘tricky’ words and high frequency words 

Multi-sensory activities are used when children are first learning sounds encompassing visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities involving, for example, physical movement to copy letters shapes and sound, and manipulating magnetic or other solid letters to build words.  

All teachers have been trained to teach phonics properly and follow a carefully planned structured approach. Lessons are fast paced, varied and engaging. The idea is that all children are actively involved in phonics lessons. 

Knowledge is constantly reviewed and reinforced in each phonic lesson and builds upon previous learning. Pupils are given opportunities to apply what they have learnt in guided reading or when they read aloud to an adult. 

Children are continually assessed and those who are falling behind are identified early and catch up is put in place. 

Children in Reception are expected to acquire knowledge of Phase 2 and 3 and even start Phase 4. Children in Year 1 will re-cap previous Phase 3 learning to ensure secure knowledge and move onto Phase 4 and 5. 

Phonics in other year groups 

Children in Year 2 access daily phonics teaching until they are confident with phase 5 of the phonics programme. They then move onto ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ scheme which leads into Key Stage 2. Children who did not pass the Phonic Test in Year 1 are re-entered for the test in Year 2. These children will access discreet phonic interventions in addition to mainstream teaching to support them in making progress and teaching any potential gaps in learning. 

Children moving into Year 3 should have acquired a secure phonic knowledge. For those children who have not, the teachers will continue to build upon previous teaching and learning from year 2 to continue to support those children to close the gap. For these children, phonics catch-up is organised in small group work or 1-1 for the children who are still not secure with all their sounds. This is continually assessed to inform future planning for possible support or interventions until pupils are secure with their phonic knowledge.  

At the end of Year 1 children have to take the national Phonics Check which tests children’s phonic knowledge. Here, they are required to read real and non-sense words, applying the skills they have learnt. Ideally children will have completed and consolidated Phase 5 during Year 1 and Phase 6 during Year 2, so that they can focus more on higher-level comprehension using increasingly challenging texts. Any child that does not complete the phonics programme will continue learning phonics throughout Year 3/4 during interventions.

Children are assessed from Reception to Year 4 on Phonics Tracker which is an instant assessment and tracking program for phonics, high frequency words and the phonics screening check. It records whether a child can successfully pronounce the phoneme or word, tracking progress across the English curriculum. Appropriate interventions are put into place for children who are not making expected progress through the phonics programme.  

Find more phonics help on Oxford Owl:


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Teaching a child to read is vital. We use a range of strategies, in addition to phonics, such as a variety of decoding methods, teaching high frequency words through sight recognition, discussion through picture books and quality class texts. Reading Volunteers enhance our reading provision every week hearing our children read.

Throughout all classes, reading is taught through a carousel of activities. These activities include reading with a teacher or teaching assistant and written activities. Children have focussed guided reading sessions each week and are expected to complete one written activity in that time.

One to one reading occurs in Reception and vulnerable readers are identified in each class to ensure reading progression and a love of reading. During the reading sessions, there is an emphasis on vocabulary, the retrieval of facts and inference. Novels are used to teach reading as well as a range of non-fiction texts. These texts are carefully chosen to ensure that there is progression and challenge across the school.

At Worsthorne, we aim to develop a love of reading, so children are encouraged to read for pleasure at home and school. Teachers read a variety of high-quality texts to the children on a regular basis. We currently use a range of different reading schemes to meet the interests and individual need of each and every child. The reading schemes we use for home reading are Rising stars and bug club. We also use Collins big cat schemes for Guided Reading throughout the school.