Useful Links

Useful Links

Phonics and Early Reading


Following an update from the DfE around phonics teaching we have moved to Essential Letters and Sounds, this is a phonics programme based on Letters and Sounds (2007). This new phonics programme will support your child in making quick progress to become fluent and confident readers. 

Essential Letters and Sounds provides staff with everything they need to teach phonics, improve children’s vocabulary and ensures all learners ‘keep up’ with the pace of the programme – whilst giving children the knowledge and skills to read. At Towers we understand that once a child becomes a confident, fluent reader they are able to access other areas of the curriculum, following their own interests and becoming an independent learner. 

There are six overlapping phases. The table below shows the phases within the scheme and the year groups they are taught. For more detailed information, visit the website: ELS - Essential Letters & Sounds ( 


Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One (Nursery)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two (Reception) 

Reception Autumn Term:

• Oral blending

• Sounding out and blending with 23 new grapheme/phoneme correspondences (GPCs)

• 12 new harder to read and spell (HRS) words

Phase Three (Reception) 

Reception Autumn Term/ Spring Term:

• Oral blending

• Sounding out and blending with 29 new GPCs

• 32 new HRS words

• Revision of Phase 2

Phase Four (Reception) 

Reception Summer Term:

• Oral blending

• No new GPCs

• No new HRS words

• Word structures – cvcc, ccvc, ccvcc, cccvc, cccvcc

• Suffixes

• Revision of Phase 2 and Phase 3

Phase Five (Reception/ Throughout Year 1)

Reception Summer 2/ Throughout Year 1:

• Introduction to Phase 5 for reading

• 20 new GPCs

• 16 new HRS words Year 1/Primary 2 Autumn 1 and 2

• Revision of previously taught Phase 5 GPCs

• 2 new GPCs

• 9 new HRS words Year 1/Primary 2 Spring 1 and 2

• Alternative spellings for previously taught sounds

• 49 new GPCs

• 4 new HRS words

• Oral blending

• Revision of Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 4

Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Year 1 Summer Term, Year 2 and Key Stage 2:

• With ELS, phonics teaching does not stop at the end of Year 1, but continues as children move through the school, with links being made between their GPC knowledge and spelling • Revision of all previously taught GPCs for reading and spelling • Wider reading, spelling and writing curriculum


The Phonics Screening Check

The phonics screening check is taken individually by all children in Year 1 in England, and is usually taken in June. It is designed to give teachers and parents information on how your child is progressing in phonics. It will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill.

There are two sections in this 40-word check and it assesses phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1. Your child will read up to four words per page for their teacher and they will probably do the check in one sitting of about 5-10 minutes.

You can download a copy of the Phonics screening check from the website by clicking here: Screening Check

You can find out more information about the Phonics Screening Check by clicking here: Information for Parents


Further Information for parents:

Much information can be found via the following links provided by the Department for Education


Workshops for Parents


At Towers we ensure that Parents are fully involved in their children's development and understand how they can best support their child to move forward with their learning. 

We hold workshops to demonstrate how we teach phonics/ early reading in school. 

Dates for the workshops will be shared via Parent Mail.