At Montagu Academy our approach to teaching early reading and synthetic phonics is systematic and ensures that children have the opportunity to learn how to read words and sentences accurately. For the teaching of phonics, we use the Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) program throughout the academy.

In every session the children revisit, learn, practise, and apply new learning. During each session the children are exposed to real and pseudo words to apply their knowledge. ‘Harder to read and spell words’ appropriate to the relevant phase are also taught.



From the moment they enter Nursery, children are exposed to a variety of sounds throughout the day (environmental and instrumental) with the emphasis on speaking and listening. Phase One Nursery plays a vital role in a child’s introduction to phonics. During the Spring term the children are introduced to Phase Two a letter a week, using the ELS program.


Daily phonic lessons are taught from Reception, where children are introduced to phonemes and graphemes. Reception teaches Phases 2- 4 throughout the year. They will develop their ability to segment and blend phonemes together to say a word.

Opportunities for reading are provided with the ELS session plus through daily guided reading sessions and endless opportunities for children to practise and apply their learning in provision. Children are provided with fully decodable books that match their ability.

Key Stage 1

Year 1

In Year One, these skills are built upon further, where children are able to revisit prior phrases of phonics. It is here that Phase 5 is introduced and during the spring term alternative spellings and pronunciation are taught to the children. Emphasis is placed on developing children into fluent readers and accurate spellers.

Year 2

It is at this time that the children consolidate all previous learning and expand upon it once again. Children are able to practise and revisit their knowledge and apply that to their reading and writing. The emphasis moves toward spelling homophones and suffixes. Children are still provided with decodable books which help revisit and maintain good phonetic knowledge. Fluency is built upon even further through whole class fluency sessions.

Key Stage 2

Where needed, children take part in phonic intervention at the appropriate phase for their ability. This is taught on a one to in basis using the ELS and is delivered by both the teaching staff and teaching assistants. All children who are accessing phonics take home a phonic decodable book which matches their phonic ability.

Our FS2 students are given a variety of Phonics activities and tasks to develop their learning: