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Leiston Primary School

Approach to Phonics

***For information and links for parents, please scroll to the bottom of the page***



“Teach a child to read and keep that child reading and we will change everything. And I mean everything” Jean Winterson.



At Leiston Primary School we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We want children to learn to read quickly and accurately and to then keep on reading. Our goal is for children to see reading not only as a task set by teachers in school but as an activity which provides pleasure and escape from the modern world.


We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Phonics is the process that is used to help children break down words into sounds, as well as building letter and word recognition. This can then enable children to use unknown words in the future. We teach in this way because, research shows that, when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. According to the DfE (Department for Education), ‘almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics, will learn the skills they need to tackle new words’. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.



At Leiston, we use a synthetic phonics programme called ‘All Aboard Phonics’. As part of this, children have daily phonics sessions in class where they participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities. The teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Children work through the different phases, learning and developing their phonics sounds and knowledge.


Nursery Phonics


Phonics begins in the nursery. This phase paves the way for the systematic learning of phonics. During this phase especially, we plan activities that will help children to listen attentively to sounds around them, such as the sounds of their toys and to sounds in spoken language. We teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs and read high quality books to and with the children. This helps to increase the number of words they know – their vocabulary – and helps them talk confidently about books. The children learn to identify rhyme and alliteration. In the summer term before they enter reception, children in Nursery will begin to learn some letter sounds if they are developmentally ready.

Reception Phonics


In Reception, the children will receive daily class phonics lessons. In each phonics session children will have lots of opportunities to practise reading and writing their sounds and the emphasis is on children’s active participation. They also learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play.


Key Stage One Phonics


During Year 1, daily class phonics lessons will continue to be taught. They will practise reading a lot of real and ‘tricky' words to prepare them for the phonics screening test at the end of Year 1.


In Year 2, children will revise their phonics learning for the first few weeks of term to ensure they have remembered previous learning from Year 1. They will revisit difficult areas indicated by teacher assessment and may continue a daily phonics intervention programme if necessary.



Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. Teachers also complete regular All Aboard Phonics assessments.


Phonics screening data:





Yr 1 pass

  • 81%

  • 75%

  • 81%

Yr 2 resit

  • 44%

  • 57%

  • 42% 

Total by the end of year 2

  • 85%

  • 90%

  • 83%


How All Aboard Phonics (AAP) is taught


Your child is using a programme called All Aboard Phonics (AAP). This is the phonics programme that we have chosen to use across the school because it is based on a neurological understanding of how a child learns to read.


You have free access to the All Aboard home reading app, available on the app stores. Just wait for the email from your school to invite you to join your child’s class team. Click the links there to get all set up. If you have siblings who would like to have an account, you can create a family team from within the app. Just head to the admin area in the app and follow the instructions there. In the app, you will see the All Aboard pictophones floating above some words. These pictophones work like magic to help children find the correct sound when trying to decode. English is very tricky, as you know, and we use the pictophones like training wheels in the early years to accelerate progress.




For more information:





All about the phonics screening check


In Key Stage 1 children are assessed at the end of Year 1 using a Government Statutory Assessment Tool known as the Phonics Screening Check. This screening check confirms whether the child has learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard and will identify sounds needing further consolidation in Year 2. Class teachers will send work for this home as appropriate. Please speak to your class teacher about ways to support your child with this at home.


Visit this site for all the previous phonics test words. Your child can practise on the laptop/computer or you can print the words out for them to dot and dash.


Visit this site to play buried treasure, picnic on pluto or dragons den. Choose the sound(s) you want to work on and click play. Your child will be given a word. They must find the special friends, sound it out and blend it. They then sort it into ‘real word’ or ‘nonsense word’.

Visit this site to play a game similar to buried treasure. Click on phase 3, 4 and 5 words.

Teach your monster to read. This game it completely free on a computer, you choose the level appropriate for your child (most year ones are on champion reader- ask your class teacher if you are unsure). This game is really helpful for consolidating sounds if your child needs it.




Useful links and games for parents:



Lots of videos and games to help with recognising letters and reading:

Sounds/letters drift by on bubbles and your child has to pop the matching sound!:

Letters and sounds initial sound game - this game lets your child reveal a sound/letter and then try to find the picture that starts with the same sound:

Loads of spelling games:

This game allows your child to listen to the sounds in a word and to pick the correct letter. Then they can see what word they have made with all of the sounds together:

Several free games to play that will help your child with their blending and segmenting.:

For free reading books: