Crabtree Infants School

Phonics and Spelling




At Crabtree Infants’ School we teach systematic synthetic phonics from Reception to Year 2. Our principal aim is to develop the children’s phonological awareness, ability to segment and blend words and read sight words on sight. Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. This programme is taught using an approach devised by Ann Smalberger (a Literacy Consultant for the Tower Hamlets Phonics Programme).


Autumn Term – up to half term:

Phase One phonics ‘Playing with Sounds’ 

Listening and identifying environmental and instrumental sounds - using body percussion and voice sounds and developing rhythm, rhyme and alliteration.

Oral blending skills – I’m going to speak like a robot. You listen carefully and tell me what I’m trying to say.

Oral segmenting skills – I’ll give you a word and you speak like a robot saying all the sounds in the word.


Autumn Term – from after half term

Phase Two phonics

Developing children’s grapheme-phoneme correspondence, starting with initial sounds and moving on to digraphs.

Year One

Phase Three to Phase Five phonics taught over the year consolidating digraphs taught in Reception and introducing new digraphs and trigraphs.

Year Two

Consolidation of Year One phonics from Sept – Dec

Introduction of Year Two spelling building on phonics foundation from Jan – July

Structure of phonics lessons:

Four whole class phonics sessions are taught in each year group, each week. Each phonics session follows the Ann Smalberger phonics programme with a structure of:

  • Reviewing and recapping taught sounds or digraphs
  • Teaching new sounds/digraphs 
  • Hear and say. Teacher say the words with that days digraph in and children repeat and then tell the digraph in all the words given. 
  • Teacher says “I robot, you blend” eg b oa t – children listen to the sounds and blend the sounds together to make the word boat 
  • Hear and segment: Teacher says “I give you a word and you segment” eg float - children use their robot arms or phoneme fingers and blending arm eg f l oa t = float
  • Hear and identify: Teacher says word eg boat and asks the children to identify the 1st 2nd and 3rd sound 
  • Reveal and read: Teacher reveal a word one sound at a time and children blend the sounds together to make the word.

  • A reading or writing activity linked to the days teaching

  • A review of what was taught in session

    Phonics skills are also applied in Weekly Guided Reading sessions and English lessons when writing

    Children learn the following chants to support their phonics learning:

When reading “Look at the word, make the sounds and blend the sounds together.”

When writing “Say the word, finger the word, write the word.”

Those children needing further support will have extra practise in a targeted phonics intervention group.

Phonics screening check

  • In the summer term all Year One children are assessed using the national phonics screening check. The check contains a mix of real words and ‘pseudo’ words (or nonsense words). These pseudo words cannot be read by using their memory so the children have to use their phonic skills in order to decode them.
  • Those children who do not reach the expected standard at the end of Year 1 are retested at the end of Year 2.

    How to say letter sounds

This video, ‘Articulation of Phonemes’, will help you to check that you and your child are saying the phonemes correctly. Follow this link.


  • We use a range of reading scheme texts for individual and guided reading, which are colour coded using book bands and Reading Recovery levels. In addition to this, the children have
    access to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction from the class and school library. Book choices are encouraged and monitored, where appropriate, by class teachers and teaching assistants.

Guided Reading

  • We deliver Guided Reading sessions in all year groups where children are grouped with others of a similar reading level.

Tracking and Progress

  • Class teachers assess children’s reading skills regularly so that we can ensure they are making good progress in both decoding words and understanding the text.

Reading for Pleasure

  • We know there is strong evidence to linking reading for pleasure and educational outcomes. We firmly believe that reading for pleasure is as important as learning good reading strategies. Research shows that reading for pleasure can result in increased empathy, improved relationships with others, reduction in the symptoms of depression and dementia, and improved wellbeing. In addition to the health benefits, reading for pleasure has social benefits and can improve our sense of being connected to the wider community. Reading increases our understanding of our own identity, improves empathy and gives us an insight into the world view of others.
  • Our adults model a love of reading by sharing their reading preferences, encouraging children to share favourite books with classmates and promoting a passion for reading by reading aloud quality literature during daily story times. Reading Across the Curriculum We provide as many opportunities as possible for children to learn within a thematic curriculum. Books and reading materials are often chosen to support children with their understanding of their current topic – both in terms of gaining knowledge and understanding and also developing an interest and a willingness to learn about their topics in greater depth.


  • As part of our reading curriculum, children in each year group are taught a repertoire of stories. We use these stories to develop the children's vocabulary, confidence and imagination and also to help children develop ideas for their own stories when writing.

Parental Support

  • As part of the home/school agreement our pupils are expected to read regularly at home with parental support. Parents are given information about what reading skills we expect children to achieve during each year group, they are also given guidance about how to help at home. In addition, we host workshops for parents where they can learn about what we do in school and how they can best support their children’s reading at home.