The Importance and Benefits of Phonics

Posted: 13th June 2023

Phonetics Board

Reading and writing are fundamental skills that are crucial for children’s success in school and beyond. What can be done to accelerate a child’s development?

What is Phonics?

Phonics is a method of teaching children how to read and write by focusing on the sounds and letters that form words. Written letters of the alphabet represent the sounds we use in spoken language. Through phonics, children learn to:

  • Recognise sounds and their associated letters
  • Identify the sounds that combinations of letters make
  • Blend sounds together to form a word

They develop a knowledge of the English alphabetic code and master the skills required to decode words.

Why is Phonics Important?

Phonics is the precursor to reading, writing and spelling. It provides a key foundation for children to develop crucial literacy skills that will carry them through life. Research shows that high quality phonics teaching effectively supports younger children to master the basics of reading, with an average impact of an additional five months’ progress.

Children with accelerated reading skills are able to independently access other areas of the curriculum. The more progress they make with phonics, the more progress they will make across the board.

How Do We Teach Phonics?

At The Oratory Prep School, our early years specialists have devised a successful phonics curriculum to ensure all children successfully gain phonetic knowledge and master the associated skills.

As a school, we use Super Sonic Phonic Friends. This is a systematic, synthetic phonics system which looks at building and developing the children from the bottom up with an emphasis on rhyming and ensuing there are memorable links between what they are learning.

Outside of the programme, we complement their learning with games to play to support their phonics learning at home. Alongside this, we offer support for parents and guardians to help with their child’s phonics learning, including receiving a weekly newsletter.

To ensure all children make maximum progress, we tailor learning for individual needs and abilities. Children will be assessed and placed into appropriate groups and will receive a minimum of 4 sessions a week. We will also match their phonics knowledge to their reading book.

We will check how pupils are progressing through formal half termly assessments, as well as discrete teacher assessment, and support them where possible – moving them up groups when/if they are ready.

Phonics Success

Our strong phonics provision accelerates learning and enables our children to achieve better than the national average.

When children are in Year 2, and at the end of their Key Stage 1 journey, they undertake PTE (English Testing) and this year’s results include:

  • Phonics knowledge – 69% of the year group have demonstrated an above average understanding compared to the national average of 59%.
  • Spelling knowledge – 64% of the year group have demonstrated an above average understanding compared to the national average of 47%.

In addition, significant growth has been seen by many of the children:

  • With those who initially tested with a spelling age of 5 years and 10 months at the start of the academic year, we are now seeing a progress of an improvement of at least 2 years and are now in line or exceeding their chronological age.
  • Of this year’s Year 2 cohort, six pupils scored full marks in their end of year 35 word spelling screening, giving them a spelling age of 9 years and 5 months +.

The data above supports the delivery of Literacy, Spelling and Phonics for the children at The Oratory Prep School.

To find out more about our curriculum at The Oratory Prep School, why not book a personalised tour with our Registrar, Hannah Thomas, via

Click here to find out more about Early Years at The OPS

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