Teaching and Learning
Phonics and Spelling

Phonics and Spelling


What is Phonics?

Phonics is the lively and vigorous teaching of synthetic phonics. Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to sound-bend words for reading (decoding) at the same time as developing handwriting skills and spelling (encoding). Crucially, they read lively storybooks and non-fiction books with words they can decode, so they achieve early success in reading. The more sounds they know the greater the range of texts they can read.

As children are taught to decode and encode, they are also taught to comprehend and to compose – out loud. The quicker their decoding the more they comprehend; and, the quicker their encoding the more they write of what they have composed out loud.

As children have early success in reading, teachers in Year 2 and above can put all their energy into encouraging children to read widely and often: comics and computer games, as well as literature that will propel their vocabulary growth. Their children can use words in their writing like diminutive, impenetrable, surreptitious – because they’ve talked about them in the books they read.

And, most importantly, because they read as easily as breathing, they begin to develop a way of thinking necessary for all school learning – discursive thought; the ability to hold and develop a complex network of ideas and arguments.

 At Tree Tops, we follow the Letters and Sounds DfE approved programme for teaching phonics. The video below demonstrates the use of Speed Sounds cards and how to pronounce each of the 44 sounds.


We recognise the important life-skill that accurate spelling provides for our pupils. As a whole staff team we determined to use high quality phonics provision as a foundation to help the children understand how to build and write unfamiliar words successfully as part of our drive to improve standards in writing.

Following the Letters and Sounds Programme pupils move swiftly to the No Nonsense Spelling Programme. This teaches spelling rules in a systematic way and provides opportunities for pupils to apply their spelling to real writing contexts.

Please click on the link to find out more about No Nonsense Spelling.

Please click this link to download a copy of a Phonics Glossary of Terms

Please click this link to download a copy of Phonics and Key Vocabulary checklist

Please click on this link to find out more about Letters and Sounds resources

Please click on the link to find out more about Letters and Sounds – Phase 1