Everton Primary School

Everyone. Everyday. Everlasting.

How we teach children to read

We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021. We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.


 In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.


In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps. To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact


We promote a phonics first approach in guided reading and with the reading books that we send home. Books are matched to each child’s current phonic knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading.

In early stages of reading we primarily use books from the Ransom Reading Stars and Collins Big Cat books to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression that we follow.

Once the children progress beyond decode-able texts they move onto our reading scheme- accelerated reader- so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, fluent readers.

If you would like any further information on either our phonics or reading schemes, then please contact Miss Oakley via the School Office (


Miss Oakley holds 'Starbooks' coffee, reading and phonics mornings at various points throughout the year to display how we teach children to read and implement our Unlocking Letters and Sounds phonics scheme.