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At The Wilfred Owen School we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Through our scheme, Essential Letters and Sounds we ensure that children

  • apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words
  • respond speedily with the correct sound to graphemes (letters or groups of letters) for all 40+ phonemes, including, where applicable, alternative sounds for graphemes
  • read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words containing GPCs that have been taught



At The Wilfred Owen School we use the Department of Education accredited scheme, Essential Letters and Sounds. Our teaching of phonics starts in Nursery and continues into KS1 and beyond (where necessary). Through Essential Letters and Sounds, the children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more. Children work through the different phases and as they grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound.


 It is our aim that the children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. This will ensure that they leave The Wilfred Owen School as competent readers. They can read books to enhance their knowledge and understanding of all subjects in our curriculum and communicate their research to a wider audience. They will have a thirst for reading a wide range of high-quality texts across the genres, participate in discussions about books and have an established love of reading for life.

Correct pronunciation of the phonemes (sounds)

Phase 2 (reception)


Phase 3 (reception)


Phase 5 (reception and year one)

These are the sound mats that we use in school.

Reception and Year 1 Essential Letters and Sounds overview


We are part of The Empower Trust
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