Macaulay Church of England Primary School

I Know Who I Am

Learning to read with systematic phonics


‘Phonics’ is the teaching of single units of sound and how they can be represented by letters.  Did you know that there are 44 sounds in the English language? There are only 26 letters in the alphabet so blends of letters, like ‘ee’ or ‘igh’ are put together to make one sound.


On top of that, there are several different ways in the English language to make one sound, for example: ‘oo’ (as in too), ‘ue’, (as in blue) and ‘ough’ (as in through).  Click here for more information about phonetic sounds:


The children at Macaulay use the 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds'  to learn the phonemes and the letters that they might use to make those phonemes.


In the early years we expect them to use the phonics to both sound out (decode) for reading and also for their writing. As time goes on, the children learn more complex blends of letters and when to use which blend. As early as Reception, children also learn that there are many ‘tricky words’ in our language that just do not follow the rules.


Phonics is at the heart of learning to read and write and is a priority for our children. That is why we teach phonics every day in key stage 1 between 9am and 9.30am. Whilst a child is in the phonics stage of learning to read, they will receive a book every week from their teacher that is directly related to the phonics that they are learning. This book will provide them with opportunities to read aloud at home with a parent or carer and practise their phonics.


We use books from the ‘Big Cat Phonics' scheme so that there is a wide range of phonics books for the children to practise phonics that they are working on.