Holy Family Catholic Primary School

  1. Curriculum
  2. English
  3. Phonics
Phonics & Spelling

At Holy Family Catholic Primary School, we believe that central to learning is creating a lifelong love of reading and books. This starts from the first moment that children enter our Reception class where we encourage and create opportunities to read, write and show interests in letters, words, sounds and books. 

We use the Sounds-Write phonics programme to teach our children to read, spell and write.   Sounds-Write is effective in teaching pupils to read, spell and write because it starts from what all children know from a very early age – the sounds of their own language.  

Our approach teaches the conceptual understanding needed to become an effective reader: 

  • that letters are spellings of sounds: visual language is a representation of spoken language 
  • that a spelling can contain one, two, three, or four letters - examples are: s a t, f i sh, n igh t and w eigh t 
  • that there is more than one way of spelling most sounds: the sound 'ae', spelt as in 'name', can be represented as in 'table', in 'rain', in 'eight', in 'play', and so on 
  • that many spellings can represent more than one sound: can be the sound 'e' in 'head', 'a-e' in 'break', or 'ee' in 'seat' 

Reading and spelling also requires expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabet code and pupils need to be able to: 

  • segment, or separate sounds in words 
  • blend, or push sounds together to form words 
  • manipulate sounds: take sounds out and put sounds into words 

Sounds-Write provides opportunities for practising these skills on an everyday basis until pupils achieve the automaticity required for fluent reading and spelling. 

During daily sessions of phonics there are opportunities for practitioners to regularly assess children’s understanding. Regular monitoring of the assessment outcomes allows teachers and practitioners to ensure that all children are making expected progress. This data allow us to intervene in different ways. 

The table below is a summary based on the Sounds-Write guidance for Practitioners and Teachers. 



Children in Year 1 will complete the Phonic Screening Check during the Summer Term. We strive for all of our children to pass the Phonic Screening Check and additional support will be put in place for those children who require it. The children who do not achieve the pass mark in Year 1 will take the test in the following academic year, when they are in Year 2. 

At KS2, those children who do not pass the Phonic Screening recheck will continue to follow the Sounds-Write phonics programme. 

How Can Parents Support children at home? 

Reading at home, every day, has the biggest impact on your child’s learning and progress.  Please find below some suggestions that will support you with supporting your child. 

  • Use letter sounds rather than letter names with their children at home. This will avoid confusion for the children and will reinforce the learning being done at school. 
  • Avoid adding an extra vowel when pronouncing letter sounds eg ‘buh’ ‘duh’ 
  • When listening to your child read encourage them to have-a-go at unfamiliar words by encouraging them to: “Say the sounds and read the word”. 
  • Visit the Sounds-Write website for further information, support and resources: http://www.sounds-write.co.uk/ 
  • Attend the Sounds~Write Parent Workshop 


There is a short 20 minute, online course that parents can complete that is aimed specifically at parents and carers and will further your understanding of the Sounds-Write program and teaching. You can find the course by going to: https://www.udemy.com/help-your-child-to-read-and-write/ 



Throughout the school, spellings are taught using the National Curriculum objectives for each year group. The focus of spelling sessions is to review teach, practise and apply taught spelling patterns in a way that children can apply in their writing. Each child has the opportunity to access an online learning program called Spelling Shed. Click here to access the Spelling Shed platform.

Last update: 2023-03-29