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The Mount Stewart Schools


Phonics and Spelling


Rapid, early coverage of phonic knowledge and skills will allow the pupils to have a firm foundation for decoding going into Key Stage 1 where explicit phonics teaching will continue. Teachers will use the strategies of segmenting and blending, recognising common digraphs and consonant clusters and then moving to segment words using knowledge of prefixes, root words and suffixes.


As children move through to the Junior School in Key Stage 2, phonics teaching will continue to be explicitly taught in the Autumn term in Year 3.  Fluent reading is modelled through echo reading and shared reading of whole class and group texts in Enlivening Guided Reading, English and Foundation lessons and class readers.


Children with reading difficulties are identified early, assessed through RWI intervention criteria, being supported one-to-one or in a small, guided group. Teachers use the RWI Freshstart which is a catch-up and intervention programme for any children still learning to read in KS2.

Read Write Inc – Our Phonics Scheme

The Government strongly recommends using synthetic phonics when teaching early literacy skills to children. Synthetic phonics is simply the ability to convert a letter or letter group into sounds blended into a word.


At the Mount Stewart Schools, we use the Read Write Inc (RWInc) programme to get children off to a flying start with their English. RWInc is a learning method based upon letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.


Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who can read more challenging material is a child who will learn. The more a child learns, the more they want to find out.

The children are assessed regularly and grouped according to their abilities.

Supporting your child at home with phonics

The correct pronunciation must be used for each phoneme. The video below will help you support your child’s correct pronunciation of each sound. We hold phonics and reading workshops for new parents in Reception at the beginning of the school year to provide ideas on how you can support your child at home. A further workshop is provided for Year 1 parents. All workshops can be found in our parents section. Phonics Workshops

We hope you find the attached video of phoneme pronunciation useful.

Phonics: How to pronounce pure sounds | Oxford Owl

Learn how to pronounce all 44 phonics sounds, or phonemes, used in the English language with these helpful examples from Suzy Ditchburn and her daughter.Find...



In the Early Years and Year 1, children will be learning how to read and spell mainly through learning phonics. From year two and into KS2, the children move towards using their phonic knowledge to help them to understand spelling rules and patterns. We teach children to use their growing understanding of the morphology and etymology of words to support their spelling. Helping the children understand how to use and apply known spelling patterns (and develop strategies to tackle tricky words) is the key to helping them to become successful spellers. We begin to teach children how to spell using different strategies through our spelling programme ‘Essential Spelling’ designed by HfL (Herts for Learning). The teachers deliver spelling lessons, and we teach children how to spell using different strategies.


We give the children approximately 5 or 10 spellings each week to practise during lessons and home. The Essential Spelling resource is very different to other spelling schemes. It focuses more on the teaching of spelling so that children understand how to apply patterns, strategies and knowledge to all words. It also provides links to prior knowledge and tracks back to related objectives so that teachers can give targeted support to children who are not yet able to spell words from their year group programme of study. In short, Essential Spelling enables children to become spellers for life, rather than remember spellings for a week.


We believe in learning spellings in a practical, specific way, with research indicating that these strategies are much more powerful than traditional methods of learning spellings by rote. Teachers also use weekly spelling tests and dictation passages to drill some of these patterns and apply them contextually. Words are drawn from the National Curriculum Word List for each phase. The learning strategies are introduced incrementally throughout our spelling programme and can then be used to support learning spellings at home.