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Phonics and early reading

Phonics and Reading : Intent and Implementation

At St Edwards, we are passionate about ensuring that all children can become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. 

We value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers.  We believe reading is key for academic success.  Phonics and early reading skills are taught through the Supersonic Phonics Friends Phonics scheme for Reception and Key Stage 1.  By Year 2, children are reading a range of different texts and can demonstrate their understanding and thinking behind these.  The supplementary scheme aligned phonics books, in addition to Accelerated reader, are the main strategies used to support the development of children’s fluency and expression.  When children are not as quick to pick up phonic and early reading skills, they are given the extra support needed to help them catch up quickly and then keep up with their peers.

In Nursery, children are introduced to the foundations of phonics through Phase 1 and its 7 aspects.  The first 6 aspects are not taught sequentially but aspect 7 is only introduced when children have had plenty of opportunity to develop their sound discrimination skills.

Each classroom has a book corner with care taken to display the books for ease of access.  The focus is on the quality and suitability of the books not on the quantity.  Books are rotated throughout the year which enables the children to browse the best books and re-visit the ones that have been read to them. Classrooms also share, via displays, the books that have been shared as a whole class.

Children are given opportunities to visit the well-stocked and welcoming school library to explore their own interests.  It also offers further opportunities for the children to apply their reading skills across the curriculum.

This immersion in high quality texts, helps children to become comfortable using a rich range of vocabulary and build on their prior knowledge. 

The Terminology


A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word It is generally accepted that most varieties of spoken English use about 44 phonemes.


A grapheme is a symbol of a phoneme. It is a letter or group of letters representing a sound.

Segmenting and blending

Segmenting consists of breaking words down into phonemes to spell. Blending consists of building words from phonemes to read. Both skills are important.


This is when two letters come together to make a phoneme. For example, /oa/ makes the sound in ‘boat’ and is also known as a vowel digraph. There are also consonant digraphs, for example, /sh/ and /ch/.


This is when three letters come together to make one phoneme, for example /igh/.

Split digraph

A digraph in which the two letters are not adjacent – e.g. make


VC, CVC, and CCVC are the respective abbreviations for vowel-consonant, consonantvowel-consonant, consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant, and are used to describe the order of graphemes in words (e.g. am (VC), Sam (CVC), slam (CCVC), or each (VC), beach (CVC), bleach (CCVC).

Why 'Supersonic Phonic Friends'?

  • Supersonic Phonic Friends is designed and developed by Anna Lucas, a children’s author, a literacy specialist, Phonics’ expert and EYFS advisor. She is supported by team of highly experienced passionate teachers and trainers with first-hand experience of implementing the scheme.
  • Child friendly characters and illustrations underpin our whole scheme. They are easy to remember with accompanying rhyming phrases that are consistently repeated in every lesson.
  • Our scheme is committed to supporting child-led learning and the idea ‘play is the way’ in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
  • Every lesson is fun and engaging. The lessons are enriched with movement, a fundamental pre-writing skill and maximising learning connections.

Phonics in action
A short clip showing Supersonic Phonic Friends in action!

Useful documents for Parents/Carers