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Four Marks CE Primary School

Love. Integrity. Forgiveness. Equality.

Phonics and Early Reading


We teach phonics through the ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’ programme. Designed by one of the Department for Education’s English Hubs, the knowledge Schools Trust, it aims for all children learn to read well and make speedy progress.  Essential Letters and Sounds provides a simple consistent approach to phonics.  We use a range of resources to support our teaching, making it as interactive and fun as possible. 



Essential Letters and Sounds follows the original Letters and Sounds teaching order.  The programme includes “tricky words” from the original Letters and Sounds document with some additional words from the National Curriculum. The teaching is fully aligned with matched decodable books, meaning we can closely match children’s phonics practice to their secure phonics knowledge.


Decodable Books for Home

At home, children have the opportunity to read online decodable books, which are closely matched to their phonics practice within school. In addition, the children's reading books are closely matched to the 'Phase' of phonics that they are learning in class. 

We use a variety of Reading Scheme books that have been carefully matched to our Phonics teaching. The core reading scheme books that we use are: 


Monster Phonics

My Letters and Sounds


Reading Records 

Our reading records are also progressive in Year R and Key Stage 1, matching the phonics phases that the children are learning. They contain helpful charts of the Phase Sounds for the children, and to help parent's support their children's reading. They include simple ongoing assessments/ quizzes of which phase sounds the children can recognise (in isolation and in whole decodable words), and a space to record where children have spotted different sounds in other words. 



Assessment of the children’s sound, grapheme knowledge and word reading is key to ensuring that all children make rapid progress though the programme and that children keep up rather than ‘catch up’. Using the assessment cycle alongside daily in-class assessments will ensure that we know where every child is within their early reading journey.

The key assessment points within ELS are as follows:

  • Reception baseline assessment
  • Half-termly assessments (in week five of each half term)
  • Diagnostic assessment
  • Year 1 Phonics Screening Check practice (half-termly from Year 1 Autumn 1) 

Supporting children with specific learning needs in Reading:

We also use a range of Dyslexia Friendly books for older children who may need a little more support. These books are specially selected to offer high levels of interest alongside accessible text across a range of genres. The core reading resources for this aspect of our provision are Project X and Barrington Stoke.