St Teresa's Catholic Primary School


At St. Teresa's we believe that every child should learn to read.  We intend to teach every child to read, and keep them reading.  We recognise the importance of creating and sustaining a culture where reading is regarded as the key to education and a fantastic experience in equal measure.  We want children to know which books they love to read, and have the skills that they need to wonder 'what does that mean?'  rather than 'what does that say?'.  Through a well-planned pathway of progression, children will learn to confidently read the words on the page, as well as to ascertain a thorough understanding of the content.

Our pupils learn to read effectively and quickly using the Essential Letters and Sound (ELS) Phonics programme.

The aim of ELS is ‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.

Children begin learning Phonics at the very beginning of Reception and it is explicitly taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.

Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff, with a partner during paired reading and as a class. 

Children continue daily Phonics lessons in Year 1 and further through the school to ensure all children become confident, fluent readers.

We follow the ELS progression and sequence. This allows our children to practise their existing phonic knowledge whilst building their understanding of the ‘code’ of our language GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). As a result, our children can tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. 

Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers. ELS teaches relevant, useful and ambitious vocabulary to support each child’s journey to becoming fluent and independent readers.

Phonics Sounds

The children use phonics mats in school to support them in identifying different sounds.  They use these for reading and writing.  These mats can also be used at home, please click on the following to view the mats:

Essential Letters and Sounds Mat Phase 2         Essential Letters and Sounds Mat Phase 3     

Essential Letters and Sound Mat Phase 5

The videos below demonstrate the soft sounds which are used to teach the phonics sounds, for each phase:

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 5