Phonics at Penbridge

Our aim is that all children leave our school able to read confidently.

We know that for this to happen our children need to learn the skills to help them achieve this.

Children need to develop a love of reading and listening to books.

Our teachers dedicate time to teaching skills as well as sharing stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction books.

Our phonics scheme – All Aboard


At Penbridge School we use the SPS (Synthetic Phonics Scheme) ‘All Aboard’ which has been validated by the DfE.

This phonics scheme has pictures, actions and phrases that our younger children enjoy. This helps keep the teaching and learning of phonics active and engaging for our children. 


This scheme ensures good coverage so that children are able learn phonemes in an order that will support reading and writing. High quality teaching of phonics ensures that children make good progress with their reading and writing. When children are not making expected progress the school puts in place intervention.

Our children use phonics as the key strategy for de-coding unfamiliar words.  We also teach the reading of sight vocabulary or ‘tricky’ words that cannot be decoded through phonics e.g. the, I, you.

How do we teach phonics?

Children who attend our Nursery focus on Phase 1 phonics where they learn to listen and distinguish sounds. This includes going for sound walks and playing lots of games.

In Reception the children use Phase 2 phonics which is where children are taught that there is a grapheme that represents a phoneme (a letter than represents a sound). The children use actions and phrases to help them learn these. As the children learn the phoneme (sound) in school we will send this home so that parents and children can practise together. Our handwriting of letters uses non-cursive print. Children will learn to segment (sound out each letter in a word) and then blend the sounds to read words. Usually after Christmas in Reception the children start to learn digraphs (two letters that make one sound) e.g. sh, ch, th. The children will be reading and writing words and then sentences that they can use their phonic knowledge to de-code. Towards the end of Reception the children move on to Phase 3 and Phase 4 phonics where they will use the knowledge and skills they have been working on to read longer words e.g. lamp, milk, lunchbox, sandpit.

In Year 1 the children will use Phase 5 phonics where they learn alternative spellings, for example in Reception they learn the digraph ‘ee’ and in Year 1 they learn that there are other ways to spell the sound ‘ee’ such as ‘ea’, ‘y’, ‘ey’, ‘e_e’ and ‘ie’. In June of Year 1 there is a national ‘phonics screening’ where the teacher completes a screening to check each child’s phonic knowledge and the school reports this information to parents. Teachers use this information to re-teach digraphs that the children have found more difficult.

In Year 2 some children will still need Phase 5 phonics teaching and they will receive this. Other children will focus on reading with fluency and expression as their phonic knowledge is well embedded. Children will continue to use phonic strategies alongside rules taught when spelling in Year 2.

We offer intervention to our children who are finding reading difficult. If you are concerned about your child’s progress with reading please make an appointment to speak to the class teacher. If you have any questions about our phonics scheme ‘All Aboard’ please speak to the class teacher.

How can parents and carers help their child learn to read?

With our youngest children it is important to sing nursery rhymes and develop a love of reading by snuggling up to have a bedtime story each evening.

Read a range of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction books.

Talk about stories and the characters – are they happy or sad? Why could this be?

Talk about the pictures if your child is not yet able to decode the words.

Children will often point out a letter that they recognise such as a letter in their name.

When the first set of sounds are sent home practise saying the sounds that a letter makes, try to avoid using an ‘uh’ sound afterwards. (The teacher can help you with this, please just ask).

Avoid using letter names and just focus on the sounds.