At Stanhope, we put phonics at the heart of reading. The National Curriculum says that pupils should be taught to ‘apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words’. The books they practise with at the earliest stages should ‘not require them to use other strategies to work out words’. We also understand the need for children to learn to read common exception words (‘tricky words’) quickly and efficiently to speed up their decoding and increase their fluency.

At Stanhope, we begin by making sure that pupils can sound and blend unfamiliar printed words quickly and accurately using phonic knowledge. We understand that giving children a strong start in the early years is essential for their journey to becoming confident readers.

In Nursery, essential skills are introduced in the Nursery using the Phase 1 Letters and Sounds and this is built upon in Reception, using the synthetics phonics programme Read Write Inc. (RWI).

In Year 1, the children continue to access RWI. Towards the end of the year, the children sit a Phonics Screening Check.

In Year 2, the RWI programme continues for those children who did not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1. These children also access bespoke daily phonics sessions.

How can you support your child at home?

  •         Talk lots! Your child will benefit from hearing lots of different vocabulary.
  •         Read with your child every day. Not only will your child enjoy this, they will hear good modelling of reading regularly.
  • Sing Nursery Rhymes. Repetitive activities like this are important too as they will hear the sounds repeated in the words.
  •         Sound out words. Spell out simple words using the sounds that make up the word. E.g. d/o/g   c/a/t z/i/p

This is the link for Parent films to explain the phonics program used in school and how you can help their child at home.

Useful websites:

A series of information and tutorial videos explaining the basics of Read Write Inc. Phonics. Your child is learning to read with this programme, these videos will help you support them at home:

Interactive games linked to each phase and a useful section on information for parents:


BBC CBeebies series of animated programmes featuring the Alphablocks characters – great for practising sounds and blending words:


Download (PPTX, 1.08MB)


Download (PDF, 263KB)