We ensure there is a consistent and engaging approach to our phonics, following the validated Essential Letters and Sounds SSP. We believe every child should leave Whetley Academy with the skills of a confident, fluent and efficient reader and writer.  High-quality Phonics sessions are taught as a whole class approach for between 20 and 45 minutes a day (dependant on the age of the children) following the key principle of ‘Keep Up not Catch Up’. The lesson follows a 5 part structure: revisit/review, teach, practise, apply and review. Any gaps in knowledge are carefully tracked through rigorous assessment using Phonics Tracker and monitoring and gaps are addressed through additional support (extra to whole class phonics sessions) from the start of the year, in order for children to ‘keep up’ with their peers. 

National Phonic Screening Check:

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All children in Year 1 will be screened using the National Assessment materials in the Summer term. If a child in Year 1 does not reach the required level then additional support will be put in place in order for the child to make accelerated progress with their reading. They will be retested when they are in Year 2. This data will be submitted to the Local Authority.

What order are the sounds taught in?

New sounds are taught each day, with some review days and weeks to help children practise what they’ve learned. Click below to reveal the sounds your child will learn in ELS.

How should the sounds be pronounced?

Children learn to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sounds they represent. Pronounce the sounds as you would say them within a word. Make sure you don’t add ‘uh’ onto the end, so for ‘m’ say ‘mm’ not ‘muh’ and for ‘l’ say ‘ull’ not ‘luh’. The below video gives you all 44 sounds in English.

Early Reading Books

We follow the ‘Oxford Owl’ reading book scheme. These books are fully decodable and are aligned to Essential Letters and Sounds. Teachers carefully allocate reading books using phonic assessments, ensuring that children only read books with graphemes that they already know. 

How can I help at home?

Practising the sounds

  • You can help your child practise the sounds they have been learning at school. Download the charts linked above so you can see the list of sounds in the order they’ll be taught. You can show these to your child along with the picture to help them remember.


  • After children learn to read some sounds separately, they can start blending them together to form simple words. Take a look at the video below for ideas on how you can practise word blending with your child. 

Reading decodable books

  • Your child will bring home reading books that match their current phonological awareness. You may hear these reading books called ‘decodable books’. Use the prompts inside the front and back covers to enjoy the book together and help your child practise reading.

Please take time to look at the link below, which will provide you with additional information about the scheme we use: