How will First Class Phonics help you to teach children to read?

All children are engaged in the Practice games. The children no longer sit waiting for one child to have a go.”

Joanne Hartley, EYFS and Phonics Lead – Holden Clough Academy

  • First Class Phonics is unique because our phonics programme manages cognitive load by focusing the learning in each lesson on either reading or spelling – not both. The reading lesson focuses solely on teaching children the complex range of skills and knowledge needed to recognise a new grapheme and read words and sentences using that new grapheme.
  • First Class Phonics has a structured progression for teaching graphemes which slows down the pace of teaching but increases the pace of the learning. With First Class Phonics, there is time to teach and practise but there is also time to revisit and embed.
  • First Class Phonics has an emphasis on children orally blending and segmenting. This eliminates the often-heard plaintive cry from EYFS and Year One teachers… “They know all the graphemes but they just can’t read the words”.  If children don’t have daily opportunities to orally blend, they will not become confident at blending to read words. First Class Phonics uses a kinaesthetic approach to support the development of oral blending skills.
  • First Class Phonics teaches children to produce phonemes with accurate pronunciation. Pure pronunciation is essential for accurate blending.
  • Interactive, engaging PowerPoints are used to teach children to ‘sound out’ and blend. Sound buttons and bars appear underneath words to aid accurate decoding and then a picture appears as a visual check of accuracy and/or to support understanding of new vocabulary.
  • There are two Reading PowerPoints available for each lesson – ‘Reading Check’ or ‘Reading Choice’. Both provide opportunities for modelling, teaching and supporting accurate decoding but the ‘Reading Choice’ PowerPoint also provides an opportunity for children to read independently and demonstrate their accuracy in an interactive game.
  • There is a systematic progression for teaching word structures, sentence structures, sentence types which matches up with expectations in the most widely-used phonically decodable reading schemes.
  • First Class Phonics enables teachers to develop fluency by incorporating echo reading, choral reading as well as independent re-reading of sentences that get progressively longer and more complex.


Practice games
Practice games
Practice games

It’s enjoyable for the children – they love the lesson structure and the resources. It’s having a fantastic impact on both reading and writing.

Rebecca Lowe, Class Teacher, St. Stephen’s CofE Primary School.

How will First Class Phonics help your children to practice reading?

  • First Class Phonics provides every child with the opportunity to practise reading a range of words in every reading session plus in the Revisit part of every spelling session.
  • We prioritise active learning so every child can participate in activities during the Practice part of the lesson.  No more lessons where a few children are involved and the rest just ‘look on’.
  • First Class Phonics is unique because, instead of filling in workbooks, children engage in fun, multi-sensory reading activities using Pupil Cards. There is a pack of Pupil Cards for each lesson – enough for pupils to work independently, in pairs or small groups.
  • Each Pupil Set contains 10 word cards and 10 matching picture cards using the new GPC/word structure. Word Cards are double-sided (with or without sound buttons and bars). This ensures that all children can independently practice reading the words – less confident children can use the sound buttons, more confident pupils can be encouraged to read the words without the sound buttons.
  • The Pupil Sets give children the opportunity to independently read ten words using the newly introduced grapheme/word structure and also to independently check their decoding using the matching picture cards. This also helps teachers to assess whether all children are accurately decoding the words and can easily offer additional support or challenge during the lesson.
  • Children are actively engaged in their own learning by taking part in a familiar range of ‘hands-on’ activities using the Pupil Cards. These activities provide opportunities for children to practice reading and also develop key skills: how to share, take turns, listen to each other and collaborate.

How will First Class Phonics help children to read Tricky Words, High Frequency Words, Alien and ‘Unicorn’ words?

  • First Class Phonics focuses on developing accuracy and automaticity when teaching children to read phonically decodable High Frequency Words (HFWs) and Common Exception Words (Tricky Words).
  • Teachers teach children to decode phonically decodable HFWs with the help of a loveable puppet – Izzy the Busy Bee! Izzy is always very busy because there are so many HFWs and children have to recognise and read them quickly without the need to ‘sound out’ each time!
  • FCP teaches children how to read Tricky Words using another loveable puppet – Trevor the T-Rex! Trevor is tough enough to cope with Tricky Words! He helps children to identify the tricky bit in a Tricky Word and to decode the phonically decodable parts of the word. Again, he teaches children to develop accurate and automatic reading of these words.
  • FCP uses fun games to encourage repeated reading and build sight vocabulary of these  HFWs and Tricky Words.
  • First Class Phonics develops children’s vocabulary using another cuddly puppet – Luna the Moon Unicorn. Luna introduces challenge through her ‘Unicorn’ words – uncommon real words.  She helps Year One children to be ready for the Phonics Screening Check as her Unicorn words are the type of real words that appear in the Check.
  • Luna also helps children to decode Alien words, thereby applying all of their phonic knowledge and skills. Children love to learn with these ‘phonic friends’!


Jane Creed

Mobile: 07724 558282


Debs Bragard

Mobile: 07595 421642