At Ratby Primary School we use Twinkl Phonics.  Each lesson provides a structured approach to learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs), perfect for helping children progress from simple sounds to developing more complex knowledge and skills.  Our multisensory approach includes: engaging activities focused on developing and applying reading and writing skills.  We use fun mnemonics, actions and songs to reinforce sound and letter recognition.  Active repetition is used to ensure rapid recall of GPCs and common exceptions words at each level.

This is accompanied with Rhino Readers books for individual reading books in EYFS and KS1 as they are matched to each phonics level.   Rhino Readers books keep the focus on phonics, with clear progression and support for children’s early decoding skills as they move through each level. This method ensures children only read the sounds and tricky words they’ve already learnt. Each book is fully decodable and aligned with Twinkl Phonics.

We passionately believe that teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary school.



The teaching of phonics using Twinkl Phonics is broken down into 6 levels that develop the children’s abilities. We follow a rigorous long-term plan to ensure that FS and KS1 cover all six levels by the end of Key Stage 1.

Teaching and Learning of Phonics

2022-2023Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
EYFSLevel 2Level 2Level 3Level 3Level 3Level 4
Year 1Recap Level 3/4Level 5aLevel 5a/bLevel 5bLevel 5cLevel 5c
Year 2Recap Level 5cLevel 6aLevel 6a/bLevel 6bLevel 6cLevel 6c

Twinkl Phonics

At Ratby Primary School we use Twinkl Phonics across Foundation and Key Stage 1.  Twinkl Phonics is a structured, systematic and fun programme.  It is a joyful, systematic approach that uses stories to contextualise the phonemes, ensuring high level engagement right from the start.   Each grapheme is introduced with a story and reading and writing activities to match that level.  The children learn and practise the graphemes and common exception words through a range of different activities.


Teaching Style: EYFS and KS1


At Ratby Primary School, we believe that reading and writing is an essential life skill and are dedicated to enabling our children to become enthused, engaged and successful lifelong readers and writers. To support this, we implement daily phonics sessions, whereby the children learn new phonemes, improve their ability to segment and blend sounds, and their ability to apply this knowledge into their reading and writing.

In the Autumn Term, the Foundation Stage children are taught Level 2 graphemes.  The children will learn to recognise, form and use these phonemes in simple consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words to begin to read and write simple words and captions.  Once they have conquered this skill, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the sounds they know. This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency. Once secure, the children move on to Level 3 whereby they will learn new graphemes and digraphs, improve their reading fluency and develop a greater writing ability. Throughout this process there is a focus on comprehension, reading with expression and reading for enjoyment.

Throughout Early Years and Key Stage One, children are taught in whole class lessons with small and focussed groups to target their specific needs for Phonics. Teachers and Learning Support Assistants regularly assess the children at each Phase using individual and whole class tracking.   These assessments are completed at the end of each half term so that planning meets the needs of the children in that class, therefore ensuring all children are confident before moving onto a new phonics phase and interventions can be put in place.

In addition to this, all children are regularly assessed in Reading to ensure their reading books are  at the correct phonics level. We ensure that pupils read books that are matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ability to read common exception words; so they experience early reading success and gain confidence that they are readers, as well as consolidating the learning that takes place in school.

The children are made aware of each level through the teaching of skills and working walls displayed in every classroom.

Each year group plans phonics lessons using the sequence:

  • Revisit and Review
  • Teach
  • Practise
  • Apply
  • Assess learning against the criteria


In Key Stage 1 children have weekly spelling tests which are based on the grapheme or spelling rule and common exception words they are learning that week.



By the time children finish Key Stage 1 they will have been taught all six levels of Twinkl Phonics.

Phonics will be assessed using:

  • Teacher tracking and assessments both summative and formative
  • Individual and whole class regular phonics and reading tracking and assessment
  • Phonics Screening Mock Test in the Spring Term with a breakdown of results and next steps for the Summer Term with additional mock checks in May
  • Phonics Screening Check in June for Year 1 and Year 2 Retakes
  • Reading and Writing Trackers
  • Cold and Hot Writes

Results of Year 1 Phonics Screening Check (School v National)



SEND / Disadvantaged

Our ambition is for all of our pupils to access the full Phonics Curriculum. These pupils will be supported to provide them with full accessibility to a Reading and Writing Curriculum. Strategies used at Ratby Primary School involve techniques and interventions for Reading, Writing and Phonics.


Greater Depth/More Able

Pupils who are working at a greater depth/more able in Phonics will be challenged and stretched in the English lessons. Strategies used at Ratby Primary School involve giving the pupils star challenges to stretch them with their learning.

What is Synthetic Phonics? 

  • Synthetic phonics is a method of teaching reading and writing in which words are broken up into their smallest units of sound or ‘phonemes’. 
  • Children learn to associate a written letter or group of letters, known as ‘graphemes’, with each phoneme. 
  • Sounds are then joined or ‘blended’ together into words for reading or, conversely, whole words are broken down or ‘segmented’ into their sounds for writing.
  • It is the UK’s most preferred method of teaching phonics. 
  • Sounds are taught in a prescribed order starting with s, a, t, p, i, n, as this allows for the most words to be made from the start. Such as ‘sat,’ ‘tap’ and ‘pin.’ 
  • Phoneme – the smallest unit of sound in words
  • Grapheme – the written representation of a sound
  • GPC (Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence) – being able to match a phoneme with the correct grapheme and vice versa
  • Blending – joining individual speech sounds together to read a word 
  • Segmenting – breaking down words into individual speech sounds to spell a word
  • Digraph – two letters making one sound, e.g. ‘sh’ 
  • Trigraph – three letters making one sound, e.g. ‘igh’ 
  • Split digraph – two letters making one sound which are divided by a consonant, e.g. the i_e sound in the word ‘side’
  • Tricky/Common Exception Words – words that are not fully decodable, such as ‘the’ and ‘was’
  • Sound buttons – circles or spots that can be written underneath a sound to support reading
  • Sound bars – lines that can be written underneath digraphs or trigraphs to show that the letters make one sound
  • Mnemonic – a visual prompt to help children remember a sound