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Why is phonics important?

At St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic School, we believe that the teaching and learning of phonics is crucial to enabling children to read and spell.

Having a strong knowledge of phonemes and correlating graphemes provides children with a core foundation upon which they can develop their skills in reading and spelling as they move up through the school. A child who is able to read can access much more of the curriculum compared to those who cannot read. Reading is therefore one of the most important skills a child can learn.

We want the teaching of phonics to be enjoyable and engaging. To enable us to fulfil this, we utilise teaching phonics using various strategies including song, rhymes and actions. 

EYFS & Key Stage 1 – 'Unlocking Letters and Sounds'

At St Augustines, we use 'Unlocking Letters and Sounds' (ULS), which is a commercial phonics resource, validated for use in schools by the Department for Education. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by the age of seven. ULS is closely matched to the previous 'Letters and Sounds' government guidance. Over the past two years, the school has invested more than £5000 in books to supplement this new phonics programme. 

Key Stage 2 – No Nonsense Spelling

No Nonsense Spelling is a complete spelling programme designed to meet the needs of the 2014 National Curriculum in a manageable way. The programme breaks down the curriculum requirements into termly overviews with individual lesson plans and resources. Written by the Babcock LDP Primary Literacy team, the programme provides sufficient guidance to implement an effective spelling teaching programme from Year 2 to Year 6.

Sounds Discovery (intervention to support pupils struggling with phonic acquisition)

Sound Discovery® is a high quality synthetic phonics literacy programme developed by Ridgehill Publishing for the teaching of reading, spelling and writing.  It is suitable for first-time learners, slow-to-start learners and dyslexic learners of all ages, including adults.  It is also suitable for first time teaching of children and adults when English is being taught as an additional language.