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Early Reading and Phonics

What is Phonics?


Phonics is a method of teaching children to read. It works by breaking down a word into its individual sounds, called phonemes. In Phonics lessons, children are taught how to:

  • recognise the phoneme that each individual letter makes
  • identify the phoneme that different combinations of letters make (such as /sh/ or /ch/)
  • blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word



How is Phonics taught at Edward Francis Primary School?


At Edward Francis, we use a phonics resource called Anima Phonics. This is a fun and interactive resource that gets children reading quickly and has been validated by the Department for Education. Anima Phonics teaches phonemes kinaesthetically, with a corresponding picture, rhyme and action to really help embed the children’s learning. 




What does a Phonics lesson look like?


Within the first few full weeks of Reception, children at Edward Francis Primary School will start taking part in daily, rigorous whole-class phonics lessons. These lessons usually last up to 20 minutes, and extend to at least 30 minutes per session in Year 1. In small groups throughout the day, children will revisit their phonics learning through the use of  games and activities to help build confidence in applying what has been learnt. 
Children will continue to consolidate their phonics skills daily at the start of Year 2, before moving on to spelling rules and patterns. During Phonics lessons, we will revisit previous sounds taught, teach a new sound or word, practise with games and activities, and then apply that sound by reading or writing it within words and sentences. Children who need a little more support will have regular extra practise in a small group with an adult.


Where can I find out more?


Have a look at these links for some more information about Anima Phonics at Edward Francis:



For those who are keen to investigate further, our Phonics Lead holds a Phonics meeting  every Autumn term for all who would like to attend. 

Parents of children in EYFS will be updated weekly on their child's  learning via Tapestry. 
All children in EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2 will bring home Anima Phonics homework which relates directly to what is being taught in class.

Topics covered in the Phonics meeting include -
What is phonics?
How will my child be taught?
How do I pronounce the phonic sounds?
What will my child's books look like?
How can I support my child at home?

Should you have any questions, or if you'd like additional Phonics materials or information  please contact



How can I help at home?


  1. When practising phonics with your child, make sure you use the correct pronunciation for each of the sounds. This will reinforce what they have learned in school and will make it much easier for them to blend sounds together to make words. Have a look at this Anima Phonics Sound Board to hear the correct pronunciation for each phoneme. 
  2. Read, read, read! Sharing books together is the most powerful way for children to practise their phonics skills at home. Be patient, allowing your child time to decipher each word and if they are struggling, encourage them to point to each sound and then run their finger along the whole word to blend the sounds together.
  3. Magnetic letters are a versatile resource that you can use at home to engage your child in phonics. Stick them on the fridge and see what silly words you can make up, or put them in the bath, pull out a letter and try to think of a word starting with that letter. Make a mini fishing rod with a paperclip at the end and go fishing for letters and sounds!
  4. Active phonics games are a great way to engage learners who prefer to be outside or playing. You could create a hopscotch outside, replacing numbers with the letters they have been learning at school, or perhaps use paint brushes and buckets of water to do some letter formation on the floor in the garden. If you’d like some more ideas for active phonics games at home, have a look at these games for inspiration. 
  5. There are lots of websites with wonderful phonics activities that your child can access. For example:  
          Phonics Play Click on ‘resources’ to find some of the free games.
          ICTgames Phonics   
          Teach Your Monster To Read