Phonics is an integral part of our early reading teaching and is taught specifically to children in EYFS and KS1. Those children who have not fully developed their phonics knowledge by the end of KS1 will receive further intervention in KS2 to support them in becoming more confident readers.

At St Matthew’s, we use the Read Write Inc. scheme of work to develop children’s phonological understanding. This program teaches children sounds in 3 ‘sets’. Set 1 sounds are the initial vowel and consonant sounds as well as some frequently seen digraphs (ch, sh, th, qu, ng, nk). Digraphs are where two letters are used to represent one sound. Set 2 sounds are the more common vowel sounds (ay, ee, igh, ow, oo – poo at the zoo, oo – look in a book, ar, air, or, ir, ou, oy). Set 3 sounds are different ways of writing sounds that the children are already aware of, as well as some new sounds.

Before children can learn to read, they need to be able to orally blend – this is where they can hear the sounds within words and use this to understand what word is being sounded out. Children are taught to orally blend sounds that they can hear early in their reading journey, which will then help them when they have to read sounds and blend them to make words independently.

We teach children to identify ‘special friends’ where more than 1 letter represents a sound. Finding special friends before sounding out and reading is useful in encouraging children to develop confidence in their reading.

As part of Read Write Inc. sessions, children are taught new sounds in ‘speed sounds lessons’ as well as practising known sounds in simple texts to increase their fluency and reading speed. The Read Write Inc. sessions also aim to improve children’s comprehension skills through simple targeted questioning based on what they have been able to read.

Since 2018, results in phonics have steadily improved as a result of our high quality phonics teaching. In 2018, 62% of children at the end of Y1 had the necessary phonological awareness to confidently sound out words. This increased to 69% in 2019. Despite school closures impacting progress, results have continued to improve over time with 76% of children in 2020 and 82% of children in 2021 meeting expectations (tested in Autumn Term of Y2). This is now in line with national expectations, which we are very pleased with. This means that by Autumn of Year 2, 82% of children are able to use sounds to read both familiar words and words that are new to them. This means they can read more fluently, which will help them in their understanding across the wider curriculum. 

If you would like to help your child to practice their phonics at home, the below videos will help you to teach the sounds that they will be learning at school. These videos can also be found in the ‘Phonics at Home’ community on DB Primary, which all EYFS and KS1 children have access to. If you feel your KS2 child would benefit from being part of this community, please speak to your child’s class teacher. Please also do this for additional guidance on which sounds to focus on with your child or any activities/websites that could be used to support.

Set 1 Sounds 

Set 2 Sounds 





Set 3 Sounds 

Consonant Sounds 


Vowel Sounds