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Sunnyside Primary Academy


Phonics Curriculum Intent

Our school understands the value of reading as a doorway to learning and life and strives to support children to want to be high quality readers, who value books, who value the information they can find in books, who value the stories and other worlds they can escape to through a book, and who love reading and books.


Through clear progression of phonics teaching, we aim to support children to become confident readers. We want children to have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently with understanding of what they have read.


We aim to help children to keep on trying, to understand that through practise and perseverance they can master the skills they need to become confident readers. Children are taught through a systematic approach to Phonics, that supports them to understand what is expected of them and how they can apply the skills they have been taught.


Children are expected to take responsibility for their learning, through their work in school and at home. Our aim is for every child to want to read, for them to value the skills of reading as an intrinsic part of their lives and for them to work hard and practise to achieve this.


We aim for all children to achieve well in phonics and progress through our phonics scheme at a steady pace, with opportunities to apply their learning at all stages in order for them to value their successes along the way.





Phonics at Sunnyside

We want children to have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently with understanding of what they have read. We aim to encourage a love of literature and an enjoyment of reading for pleasure, and to use reading to provoke thought within children. The teaching of phonics is of high priority in our school.


SSP – Systematic synthetic phonics - Synthetic phonics is a method of teaching where words are broken up into the smallest units of sound (phonemes). ... The 'synthetic' part of this particular phonics instruction derives from the process of synthesizing or blending sounds to create words.


Our SSP phonics lessons are based on the Letters and Sounds scheme for phonics across the school. This is a systematic approach which is split into phases. We begin in EYFS teaching Phase 2 which introduces simple letter sound correspondence.  Within each phase, children will also learn 'tricky' words.  These words are common but are not decodable.  By following this scheme, we ensure that children are prepared for the phonics screening in Year 1. 

Reading - We have a range of reading books in school that have been categorised into Phonics phases and learnt phonemes so that children can access 'Fully Decodable' reading books, thus supporting them to use their phoneme knowledge to blend words for reading.

Letter formation - We teach the children to form their letters using the kinetic letters scheme as we work through the phonemes in phonics sessions.

All of our staff, including support staff, have had the full training to deliver the program successfully. At the end of each half term, pupils are assessed to ensure they receive a focused and appropriate delivery of the scheme.

Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of key stage 1. Children can then focus on developing fluency and comprehension throughout the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the phonics screening test at the end of year 1.


Year 1 Phonics Screening Check - a Guide for Parents

What is the phonics screening check? The phonics screening check is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonics knowledge.  It helps the school confirm whether your child has made the expected progress.

The national phonics screening check was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils in the country. It is a short, statutory assessment to ensure that children are making sufficient progress in the phonics skills to read words and are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning.

How does the check work? Your child will sit with the class teacher and will be asked to read 40 words aloud. The test normally takes a few minutes. If your child is struggling the teacher will stop the check.  The check is carefully designed not to be stressful for your child. The check consists of a list of 40 words, half real words and half nonsense words, the nonsense words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have.

Why Pseudo Words/non- words / nonsense words / alien words? Non-words are important to include as they can’t be read using their vocabulary or from memory; they have to use their decoding skills. This is a fair way to assess all children’s ability to decode.

After the check We will inform you on your child’s progress towards the end of the Summer term.  If your child found the test tricky we will inform you of what support we have put in place to help them improve and what you can do at home to help them as well. Children who have not met the standard will retake the check when they are in Year 2. All children are individuals and all develop at different rates. The screening check ensures that teachers understand which children need extra help with phonic decoding.

How can you help your child? In school we are continually checking your children’s phonic development within our approach to the assessment of reading. This screening forms part of our overall assessment procedure. However, there are a number of things that parents can do to support early reading skill development.

  • Let your child see you enjoying reading yourself – they are influenced by you and what you value!
  • Immerse your child in a love of reading: share books and magazines with your child, take them to the library to choose books, read to them regularly, point out texts around you, e.g. in the street etc.
  • Make time for your child to read school books to you regularly – encourage them by pointing to the words and ask them about the story they are reading.


If you have any further questions, please talk to your child’s class teacher.