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Sandy Lane Primary School

Phonics & Reading


We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021. We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.

In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check. In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.

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Phonics | Unlocking Letters and Sounds | United Kingdom


At Sandy Lane Primary School we promote a 'phonics first' approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child's current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading.

In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars Phonics, to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow. Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.

Recommended books and what we are reading in class.

We use jolly phonics to support our teaching of Letters and Sounds as well as interactive games from websites like Phonics Play and other online resources.


Big Cat Phonics

Big Cat Letters and Sounds,

Oxford Reading Tree Floppy Phonics,

Oxford Reading Tree Songbirds books

Oxford Reading Tree traditional tales

Then in our free choice selections we have non phonic Oxford Reading Tree books and a few books from other schemes such as Discovery World.


We share many wonderful stories and have 2 story times a day, 1 with a topic focus and one which is a quality text. We often spend our story time in front of a 'crackling fire'!


We have 6 story groups for pm story time and the books change weekly - children choose their story group. We also use a variety of story books linked to our topics.















HOW MANY have you read? Let your class teacher know which ones you've completed!