Phonics at Holy Family Catholic Primary School Liverpool 


What is Phonics? 

Phonics is a method of teaching children early reading skills. These develop into more complex reading and spelling skills. 


There are 44 different sounds in the English language, but only 26 letters. These sounds are called phonemes.  Each phoneme can be written down and these are called graphemes. 

In phonics lessons the children learn the sounds and their written letters.  

Learning to read with phonics is a bit like learning a code, after learning just a few sounds, children will be able to use this code to read lots of words. The more sounds they know, the more words they will be able to work out how to read. 

Pupils are grouped by ability. 

Does Holy Family follow a set programme? 

Yes.  Our phonics scheme is called Read, Write Inc (RWI). This breaks the sounds up into groups called Set 1 Sounds, Set 2 Sounds and Set 3 Sounds.  The National Curriculum English is also used to ensure pupils learn statutory reading and spelling skills. 

It is important that the letters are sounded in the correct way.   



Please watch the videos on the bottom of this page to find out more!


Pupils also: 


  • Learn the different ways a particular sound could be written. 

  • Read books which feature the sounds they are learning. 

  • Practise using syllables to read. 

  • Read red and green words (see below) 

  • Practise spelling words using the sounds they are learning. 

  • Practise writing sentences using the sounds they are learning. 

  • Listen to stories read by adults. 


Red and Green Words 

The red words are words that cannot be ‘sounded out’.   

Examples are words like: are     said     all 

The Green words are words that can be sounded out once pupils know the sounds and letters.    

Download our pdfs of Green and Red Words 


Assessment - Assess  Plan  Teach  Review  Assess… 


Pupils are assessed regularly.  


This information is used to:  


  • Group pupils appropriately. 

  • Identify gaps in their knowledge. 

  • Identify gaps in reading fluency. 

  • Support information gathering for pupils with special educational needs. 

  • Assess pupils against expectations for their age. 

  • Track their progress and achievement. 

  • Appropriately and immediately support new pupils to the school. 

  • Information is shared so that practitioners and class teachers know where children are up to. 

  • Supports the school in making challenging targets to improve outcomes for all pupils. 


The Phonics Check 

Pupils in Year 1 take the Phonics Check in June of each year.  This is a national statutory assessment.  It contains 40 words.  In recent years pupils have been required to score 32 out of 40 to meet the National Expectation.  Pupils’ scores are reported to parents at the end of the year. 

The Check contains real English words and some ‘alien’ or nonsense words. 

Pupils in Year 2 who did not meet the National Expectation at the end of Year 1 must take the Check again at the end of Year 2. 



If you have any questions or would like to learn more about phonics at Holy Family speak with your child’s teacher in the first instance. 


Other Information 


  • In school, phonics is led by Miss. F. Holme. 

  • The school sends a member of staff to attend termly briefings with School Improvement Liverpool to ensure it has the up-to-date information about the latest developments regarding teaching and learning about phonics. 



Useful websites 



Please note:  Holy Family Primary School is not responsible for the content on websites for which links are provided. 

Some websites may offer products, services and advertisements.  They may invite you to follow their social media accounts.  Holy Family Primary School is not responsible for these and does not endorse any products advertised or views expressed.  Please be aware that these websites may store information about you via cookies. 





Written: May 2019 

To be reviewed: July 2020 

F. Holme / J. Ardrey 

Files to Download

Contact the School


Holy Family Catholic Primary School

Upper Essex Street

Liverpool, L8 6QB


0151 709 3672

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