01179 030075

Coombe Road, Bristol, Avon, BS5 6LE



The foundations for reading and writing at May Park Primary School are taught daily in phonics lessons.  

What is Phonics?

Phonics is designed to help children learn to read and spell by teaching the skills of segmenting and blending.  It helps children learn to read by teaching individual sounds and how to blend these sounds together to read a whole word. When children are writing, it enables children to hear the sounds in a word and write them down to spell it correctly. We  use a 'Letters and Sounds' framework as our systematic, synthetic, school wide programme. 


Spoken English uses about 44 sounds, these are called phonemes. These phonemes are represented by letters, these are called graphemes.  Graphemes can comprise of single letters, digraphs, trigraphs and four-letter graphemes. In other words, a sound can be represented by a letter (e.g. ‘s’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘th’ or ‘igh’). Children are also taught the corresponding letter name. Phonemes are taught in a specific order, the first six phonemes, s, a, t, p, i, n, can be immediately used to make a number of words like sat and pin. Our phonic reading books are also organised in the same order so children can practise reading phonemes and words they are learning in class. 


How can I help my child and how do I know if my child is saying the sounds correctly?

It is important that your child learns how to say the sounds correctly. The link below pronounces the sounds that we teach.

Parent and carers guide to pronouncing phonemes - YouTube

You can also support your child by playing the games on the links below

Overview - Letters and Sounds

https://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/  (some games on this website are free and do not require a subscription)


The best thing you can do to support your child is to make time for your child to read school books to you regularly. Your child will have two books that they will take home, a reading practice book and a sharing book


The Reading Practice Book

This book is for your child to practice at home. It is intended to help your child become a fluent, confident reader. This book will be matched to their phonic stage and will be fully decodable. Listen to your child read this book, they will be able to read it independently.


The Sharing Book

This book is to enjoy together. Your child will choose this book. It may be a story, poetry or a non fiction book. Take time to look at it together, you may want to talk about the pictures or what is happening, you may want to see what you can find out about together. Your child may or may not be able to read this book independently.


How is Phonics assessed?

Phonics is assessed continuously during phonics lessons, when your child reads and through a half-termly assessment. This helps teachers to identify and plan for the children’s next steps to ensure they progress.

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. It takes place in June.  

How does the check work?

Your child sits with the class teacher and is asked to read 40 words out loud. If your child is struggling the teacher will stop. The check is designed not to be stressful.

The check consists of a list of 40 words, half of these are real words and half are nonsense words.  The nonsense words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. Your child will have had a practise check during the year so they know what to expect. 

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.


Resources to help at home

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