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Phonics and Reading Scheme

At Claygate, we follow the Cliff Moon colour-coded reading scheme in the EYFS and Key Stage 1.  For more information, please click below:

Cliff Moon Colours Sheet

Please see the year group pages for the phonics presentations we gave to parents of pupils in EYFS and KS1 this term:

Reception and Year 1 Phonics

Read Write Inc

At Claygate we follow the order of sounds as set out in the Read Write Inc phonics scheme. This gives Early Years practitioners and teachers a powerful phonics teaching tool to ensure that young children are well-placed to read and spell words with fluency and confidence by the time that reach the end of Key Stage One. This is an entitlement we want to achieve for every child. In Read Write Inc phonics the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ – because we children to learn to read them effortlessly. Set 1 sounds are the initial letter sounds. They are taught in the following order:

 m, a, s, d, t, i, n, p, g, o, c, k, u, b, f, e, l, h, sh, r, j, v, y, w, th, z, ch, qu, x, ng, nk

There are 12 Set 2 ‘speed sounds’ that are made up of two or three letters which represent just one sound, e.g. ay as in play, ee as in tree and igh as in high. When children learn their Set 2 sounds they will learn:

 · the letters that represent a speed sound e.g. ay

 · a simple picture prompt linked to the ‘speed sound’ and a short phrase to say e.g. may I play

By the end of Year 1 children should:

  • give the sound when shown any grapheme that has be taught;
  • for any given sound, write the common graphemes;
  • apply phonic knowledge and skill as a prime approach to reading and spelling unfamiliar words that are not completely decidable;
  • read and spell phonically decodable two-syllable and three-syllable words;
  • read automatically all the words in the list of 100 high-frequency words;
  • accurately spell most of the words in the list of 100 high-frequency words;
  • form each letter correctly.

*Phonemes – a phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word that can change its meaning (e.g. in bed/led the difference between the phonemes b/l signals the difference in meaning between the words bed and led).

**Grapheme – A grapheme is a symbol of a phoneme, that is, a letter or group of letters representing a sound.

Claygate’s Approach to Phonics


Phonics in Year One is taught on a daily basis within class. The children will receive a 20 minute discrete phonics session at the beginning of the day. The phonics will then be reinforced through reading for meaning, English and topic based activities. Taught phonemes are displayed clearly in classrooms and referred to regularly to ensure learning is embedded. We keep parents informed on the sounds we are teaching through our Reception weekly newsletter and through our Year 1 topic webs. In addition, pupils in Year 1 are given a set of weekly spellings to learn which are linked to the target phonemes taught that week. Spellings are checked in a weekly spelling quiz from Autumn Term 2 onwards.

High Frequency Words

One of our phonics sessions within in the week focuses on reviewing and teaching of high-frequency words. These words are displayed in classrooms and referred to regularly.

Nonsense Words

As children build up their knowledge of sounds they are able to apply their decoding skills to any unfamiliar word may it be real or nonsense. During lessons each day children will practice their decoding skills by sounding out the letters in ‘Alien words’. Children are unable to rely on existing knowledge of real words, and instead have to use their letter-sound knowledge. This is an important part of the Phonics Screening Test children complete at the end of year 1. The following websites have enjoyable games for your child to play to practice their reading of alien words:

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