The scheme we use to teach phonics at The Edward Richardson Primary School is called Letters and Sounds (although we do use the Jolly Phonics programme to teach actions to children to help support phoneme/grapheme correspondence).

What is Letters and Sounds?

From the Letters and Sounds website:

Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven. 

There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for Practitioners and Teachers. For more detailed information, visit the Letters and Sounds website.


Phase Knowledge and Skills
Phase One

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two
(Reception up to 6 weeks)

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each.  Blending sounds together to make words.  Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three
(Reception up to 12 weeks)
The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four
(Reception 4 - 6 weeks)

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five
(Throughout Year 1)

Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six
(Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.



Upon entering The Edward Richardson Primary School, our pupils begin to decode and then read for meaning using a reading scheme based upon the Oxford Reading Scheme /Songbirds/Snapdragons and the Dandelion set for specific phonics.  As the children progress throughout the school, the scheme is supplemented with genres other than narrative, including non-fiction and poetry.


Reading is not just the decoding of black marks on a page.

We read for enjoyment, opening up exciting worlds of fantasy or reality. Reading does not only involve stories.  We read lots of different sorts of materials for information: stories, poems, non-fiction books, plays, lists, notices, signs, timetables…


What about reading to develop language and thinking skills?

Reading out loud exposes children to proper grammar and phrasing.  It enhances the development of their spoken language skills and their ability to express themselves verbally.


What about reading to open up new worlds and enrich children’s lives?

Through books or the Internet, children will have access to all the accumulated knowledge of mankind.  They will be able to learn about people and places in other parts of the world giving them a deeper understanding of others.


What about reading to enhance children’s social skills?

Enjoying listening to stories read aloud by parents and grandparents or reading stories themselves to siblings.


What about reading to improve hand-eye co-ordination?

Not only turning the pages, but clicking around on a child-friendly website or on-line story.