Willowdown Primary



At Willowdown Primary, we use Unlocking Letters and Sounds as the basis for the planning of our high quality, systematic phonics programme .  Phonics begins at Nursery and is continued through the EYFS and KS1 classes.  

The progression of phonemes can be seen here:

 Progression of phonics

Within Nursery, Children will progress through phase 1,  which contains 7 aspects of listening and  sound discrimination . Each aspect is designed to help children to listen attentively, discriminate between phonemes, use sound talk to segment words, to develop children's vocabulary and ability to confidently communicate with adults and children. 

Reception Children will begin formal phonics lessons on their first day of school.  Every day, children will learn a new phoneme and common exception word (CEW). They will move on from oral blending in Nursery to blending and segmenting with letters. In every lesson, children will have opportunities to practise these skills through reading and writing activities. Reception aged children will progress through phase 2,3 and 4. 

KS1 children will begin the academic year with a recap of phase 4, before progressing onto phase 5 phonics.  Phase 5 will focus on alternative spellings, spelling and reading two syllable and three syllable words. 

Below is a video of the phonemes (sounds) children are taught within reception and KS1 classes. There are also some examples of how teachers at Willowdown Primary School teach phonics interventions. Each video focuses on a specific skill which supports each child's ability to read. 

Flash Cards (Chesterton)

A short video of phase 2 to phase 4 phonemes.

Interventions to support grapheme recognition

An example of a short, sharp intervention for identifying graphemes.

Mix It Up

An example of a short, sharp intervention for blending GPCs, in order to segment and blend CVC/CVCC words.

Oral Blending

An example of a short, sharp intervention for Oral Blending - providing children with the opportunity to hear the sounds within a word.

Reading Scheme 

In order for children to become confident, fluent and enthusiastic readers, it is essential that we teach and give them opportunities to develop all of these skills. 

For early readers, here at Willowdown Primary School, we use Reading Stars Phonics books, which are aligned with the ULS (unlocking letters and sounds) program and skill progression.  Reading star books are used within Guided Reading lesson. Guided Reading lessons focus on word recognition, prosody, vocabulary and comprehension. 

In addition to this, we also have a range of Reading Stars and Bug Club phonetically decodable books which are sent home for home reading.  At Willowdown, we believe it is important to build positive relationships between home and school, this is essential in developing confident young readers.  In every child's book bag you will find a phonetically decodable book and a home reading book. Phonetically decodable books are closely matched to the children current phonics knowledge.  Children will progress through the reading scheme,  once they are able to read a book with 90-95% fluency, they will be able to progress onto another book.  

Once a pupil has complete the phonics scheme, they will become free readers and can select an age appropriate book from the class library.