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Phonics and Spelling


Phonics is one of the most vital skills we teach children when learning to read and write. In the Carey Federation, teachers use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document to teach children how to recognise the 44 phonemes (sounds) and the corresponding graphemes (how to write it). In the EYFS and Key Stage 1 children have daily phonics lessons, where children are taught the skills to blend words for reading and segment words for spelling.


In June, children in Year 1 will take part in the Phonics Screening Check which is set by the government.


This is:

  • A screening check for Year 1 to encourage schools to pursue a rigorous phonics programme.
  • Aimed at identifying the children who need extra help are given the support.
  • Assesses decoding skills using phonics.
  • 40 items to be read (20 real words, 20 pseudo words that are not real, called alien words).
  • If children do not pass in Year 1 they have to retake the test at the end of Year 2.



The test takes place on a 1:1 basis with the class teacher and parents are informed of the results by the end of the Summer Term.


How can you help at home?

  • Try to find time to read with your child every day.
  • Talk about the book, the character, what is happening in the story, predict what may happen next. Encourage a love of reading – not a chore!
  • Ask your child to find items around the house that represent particular sounds, i.e. ‘oo’ - ‘spoon’ ‘bedroom’
  • Play matching pairs – with key words or individual sounds/pictures.
  • Flashcard letters and words – how quickly can they read them?
  • Notice words/letters in the environment.
  • Go on a listening walk around the house/when out and about.
  • Lots of activities online for children to practice their phonic knowledge.


Here are some useful websites and sound mats.



Spelling is taught using the statutory common exception word lists for Y1, Y2, Y3/4 and Y5/6 in addition to spelling patterns and rules in line with the National Curriculum. In the Carey Federation, spelling is embedded into the weekly English curriculum as well as though discreet sessions. Children are given a weekly list of spellings that are practised regularly in class written work.


Strategies for helping with spelling:

  • sounding words out: breaking the word down into phonemes (e.g. c-a-t, sh-e-ll) – many words cannot be sounded out so other strategies are needed;
  • dividing the word into syllables, say each syllable as they write the word (e.g. re-mem-ber);
  • using the Look, say, cover, write, check strategy: look at the word and say it out aloud, then cover it, write it and check to see if it is correct. If not, highlight or underline the incorrect part and repeat the process;
  • using mnemonics as an aid to memorising a tricky word (e.g. people: people eat orange peel like elephants; could: O U Lucky Duck);
  • finding words within words (e.g. a rat in separate);
  • make links between the meaning of words and their spelling (e.g. sign, signal, signature) – this strategy is used at a later stage than others;
  • working out spelling rules for themselves – a later strategy;
  • using a dictionary as soon as they know how to.
  • encourage your child to have a go at spelling words they are unsure of. This will give them the opportunity to try out spelling strategies and to find those that they find useful.