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Reading Reform Foundation (RRF) - Promoting Synthetic Phonics : Page Title

RRF Newsletter 45 back to contents
The synthetic phonics reading and writing progressionby Sue Lloyd


Up to 3 years

3 to 4 years

4 to 5 years

Year one/Year two




Hear and recite stories, poems and nursery rhymes.



THROUGH FUN AND GAMES:- Know automatically which letters represent the main sounds of English (at least the alphabet).

Know how to SOUND OUT AND BLEND THE LETTER SOUNDS of regular words.

Play word blending games.

DEPENDING ON PROGRESS:- Understand that sometimes we need two or more letters to make one sound  (digraphs/ trigraphs).

Read regular words (by blending the letter sounds) to parents at home – starting with regular 2/3 letter words and progressing to regular words with consonant blends and/or digraphs.

·      Know the main alternative spellings for vowel sounds e.g. the /ai/ sound has the alternatives 'ay' and 'a-e'.

·      Blend regular words using the alternative vowel sounds.   Also know the technique: if the short vowel doesn't make sense, then try the long vowel.

·      Use sounding out and blending to support the learning of irregular words.

·      Read graded books of mainly phonically regular words to parents at home and to teachers/parents at school.

·      Use the blending technique to work out unknown words (as the first and most important strategy).


·      Read graded books at home and at school  – fiction and non-fiction.  ‘Free choice’ for fluent readers.

·        Read for all curriculum areas.


·      Discuss genre of books.

·      Read silently, but also aloud to teacher.

·       Practice comprehension.

·      Read with expression making use of the punctuation.




Draw and colour – correct pencil hold to be taught

      Form letters correctly in the air with finger, and with a pencil on paper.

      Use correct pencil hold.

      Hear all the sounds in 2/3 letter words – holding up a finger for each sound.

      Make regular 2/3 letter words with plastic letters by listening for the sounds and choosing the correct letters.

·      Identify all the sounds in words including sounds that are represented by digraphs.

·       Write from dictation – letters, capitals, regular words using known letter sounds, and sentences (made up of regular and irregular words that have been taught).

·      Write news and stories independently.

·        Know rules for achieving neat cursive handwriting.

·      Write from dictation.

·       Write independently in all curriculum subjects.

·       Learn unusual spelling patterns e.g. silent b,  sion/tion etc.

·       Know and identify simple parts of speech  e.g. nouns, verbs, pronouns etc.

·      Use dictionary.

·      Produce neat cursive handwriting and basic punctuation.




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