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EYFS & Year 1 Phonics Policy


At Trimley St Mary we strive to ensure that all children become successful, fluent readers by the end of key stage one and believe this is achievable through a combination of strong, high quality, discrete phonics teaching combined with a whole language approach that promotes a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ culture. This approach is in alignment with Trimley’s belief that we first ‘learn to read’ and then ‘read to learn’.

This policy is aimed at reinforcing a consistent, high quality approach to the teaching of phonics across foundation stage and key stage one.

• To provide consistent, high quality phonics teaching that ensures all children have a strong foundation upon which to tackle the complex processes of reading and writing.
• To ensure that the teaching of synthetic phonics is systematic and progressive throughout the foundation stage and key stage one.
• To ensure that children have sound phonetic knowledge, understanding and skills so that they can decode words confidently and engage with higher order reading and writing skills.

• To teach children aural discrimination, phonemic awareness and rhyme to aid reading, writing and spelling development.
• To encourage the use segmenting and blending so that decoding skills provide a sound foundation for reading, writing and spelling.
• To ensure the teaching of phonics is lively, interactive and investigative.
• To ensure children use phonic awareness across the curriculum.
• To ensure that children know the 44 phonemes within the English language.
• To ensure that children recognise the graphemes within words and associate them with the appropriate phoneme when reading.
• To ensure children are taught strategies to identify and decode ‘tricky words’ within the English language.



Children are taught phonics with the Letters and Sounds principles with elements of SFA pedagogy and language being used as well. Children in reception are taught a discrete phonics session daily for a fifteen to twenty minute period as a whole class. This starts within the first few weeks of school after they have been assessed. They are taught whole class until Christmas, using AFL and questioning to enable all children to access maximum learning. Children take a ‘Letters and Sounds’ pack home which is updated weekly with the sounds that have been covered and a handwriting activity in order to consolidate the learning. Phonics skills are embedded in writing and reading tasks in literacy sessions.

There is a “Letters and Sounds” wall that is updated daily with the daily phoneme/digraph/trigraph taught and a ‘Tricky Word’ wall that is updated weekly as the children progress. The children are also provided with, phased phoneme mats and a ‘Tricky Word’ mat to support children and encourage their independent writing.

From the beginning of EYFS the children are encouraged to take part in a school wide Reading Challenge with an aim of every child reading 5 times a week for 5 minutes. The children also have access to the ‘Cozy Cocoon’ outdoor library as well as a weekly slot in the EYFS and KS1 book room where they choose a library book to take home for the week.

In EYFS there is a weekly ‘phonic lab’ as part of the ongoing provision available to the children. This lab will consolidate the previous weeks learning in a variety of ways with a different activity each week. The activities degree of challenge will change as the children’s abilities develop.

At the first parents evening Word Pouches are handed out to parents, along with the ‘Tricky words’ or (common exception words) which are red and green for non-decodable and decodable (SFA teaching). Word pouches are tested weekly by an adult and contain a mix of red and green words and CVC/CVCC words of increasing difficulty.

After the half term, there is a ‘Stay and Play’ with an emphasis on phonics where parents can read the types of books being sent home and work through different phonic activities with their child. Parents also have an opportunity to talk to the teachers about phonics and they are given information leaflets to take home (which include links to useful websites on pronunciation etc).

Groups will be differentiated in the Spring term (using the end of Autumn term assessment) to ensure that all children are reaching their full potential within a challenging and supportive environment. All adults in EYFS have a group and the SFA pedagogy is used as well their ‘Roots’ reading materials to introduce shared reading. There is a focus on questioning and comprehension skills at a level appropriate for their group. The groups all focus on different books depending on their ability. These groups are fluid and the adults communicate daily to ensure that children are being challenged appropriately and are accessing the correct materials for their level of ability.

In the spring term all the children are given an opportunity to take part with ‘Play Club.’ The children get to take a special bag home over a 7 week period which contains a story and activities to be shared with their adults and is aimed at supporting the use of letters and sounds with parental involvement.

Year 1
• Children are assessed upon entering Year 1 and grouped for phonics accordingly. AFL is used and groups are fluid according to the children’s progress.
• Phonics is taught in daily 20 minute sessions, with digraphs consolidated in weekly spellings. Children continue to use the ‘Roots’ reading materials and work through the progression of books according to ability. Phonic sessions include shared reading and digraph activities. SFA pedagogy includes ‘tapping and clapping’ words containing the digraphs and using ‘digraph spotters’ to identify the digraphs in words. Challenge words are introduced using the ‘tap and clap’ strategy throughout all lessons in Year 1 and Year 2. Red and green words are continued from EYFS and displayed on the word wall, along with the challenge words from the Roots book being read.
• Children have a levelled reading book which they read every week in school with an adult.
• Children are put into differentiated guided reading books and read to an adult during the week in these groups.
• Word pouches are passed up from EYFS and tested weekly, progressing through the sounds into the digraphs and alternative digraphs (these word pouches are also passed up to Year 2 if children still have words left).
• Children are tested on their phonics termly. There are daily ‘Dancing Bears ‘ intervention groups for the LAPs and these children are also identified for extra reading time with adults during the course of the week.
• In the Summer Term Year 1 children complete the National Phonics Screening Test. Children who do not pass are then re-tested in the Summer Term in Year 2.