St Francis' Catholic Primary School

St Francis' Catholic Primary School

Together in Christ

Station Road, Nailsea, BS48 4PD

01275 855373



Phonics is the system we use for teaching children to read.

Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme. The aim of ELS is ‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.

Children begin learning Phonics at the very beginning of Reception and it is explicitly taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.

Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff, with a partner during paired reading and as a class. 

Children continue daily Phonics lessons in Year 1 and further through the school to ensure all children become confident, fluent readers.

For families (many of whom may not have been taught phonics at school) we are aware that it can sometimes feel daunting trying to support your child at home. We have therefore included a range of resources and videos on this page to assist you. Class teachers are also available to support you with any questions you may have.

Click on the learning map to view the progression map for Phonics

Supporting Reading at Home

Children will only read books that are entirely decodable, this means that they should be able to read these books as they already know the code contained within the book.

We only use pure sounds when decoding words (no ‘uh’ after the sound.

We want children to practise reading their book 4 times across the week working on these skills:

  • Decode – sounding out and blending to read the word.
  • Fluency – reading words with less obvious decoding.
  • Expression – using intonation and expression to bring the text to life!

We must use pure sounds when we are pronouncing the sounds and supporting children in reading words. If we mispronounce these sounds, we will make reading harder for our children. Please watch the videos below for how to accurately pronounce these sounds.

Phase 2 Pronounciation Video

Phase 3 Pronounciation Video

Phase 5 Pronounciation Video

Sound Mats

You can download the sound mats that children have available to support their phonics and spelling within the classroom. In Reception the mats include pictures to help children make the link between the phoneme (the sound) and the grapheme (written form). In Year 1 we remove the pictures to ensure children are not relying on these in order to recognise the grapheme. In Year 2, we introduce the sound families mat which is designed to support children with their spelling.

Sound Mat: Phase 2

Sound Mat: Phase 3

Sound Mat: Phase 5


You can download the grapheme mats that outline the rhyme that children learn to support their phonics and spelling within the classroom.

Grapheme Mat: Phase 2

Grapheme Mat: Phase 3

Grapheme Mat: Phase 5

Reading Books

Each week, your child will be given a reading book which is matched to their phonics knowledge. This ensures that children have books that only include words they can decode confidently. We encourage children to read each book multiple times to support the development of their reading fluency and prosody (use of expression).

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