Early Reading at EMPS

ALS: Letters and Sounds

The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. We use the ALS programme, which focuses on quality first teaching of phonics, early reading and early writing. This approach demonstrates a detail structure of learning and routine so the children know exactly what they are learning and how to apply their knowledge in a wider context. The knowledge, skills and understanding that are taught support children to decode (to read) and encode (to write/spell) print.

All children in Foundation Stage, KS1 and, where necessary, KS2 have daily phonics sessions where they participate in segmenting, blending, reading and writing words and sentences.

Most of our staff have had the training to ensure consistency of message.

Phase 2

The introduction of grapheme phoneme correspondence. Children will continue with oral blending and segmenting. There are 4 letters introduced in the week with a day as a revision session on the fifth day.

Set 1 s a t p revision
Set 2 i n m d revision
Set 3  q o c k revision
Set 4 ck e u r revision
Set 5 h b f. ff l. ll ss
Set 6 i v w x revision
Set 7 v z zz qu revision

Phase 3

Children will be introduced to new graphemes during this phase. Children will continue to practice oral segmenting and blending and will apply their knowledge of blending and segmenting to reading and spelling words and captions.

Set 8 ch sh th nq revision
Set 9 ai ee igh oa revision
Set 10 oo (moon) ar or ur revision
Set 11 ow (cow) oi ear air revision
Set 12 er oo (book revision

Phase 4

The teaching of adjacent consonants.

Set 13 sq dr fl br revision
Set 14  st -st fr qr revision
Set 15  cr pr sc fr revision
Set 16 tw sw xt nt revision
Set 17 mo nk nd cl revision
Set 18 sm lk sk lf revision

Phase 5

Alternative spellings

Set 19 ph ow(snow) oe ay revision
Set 20 ie i-e o-e a-e revision
Set 21 ir ue ea e-e revision
Set 22  au aw ew u-e revision
Set 23 wh ure ov ou revision

Alternative pronunciations

Set 24  a- acorn e- he i- find o- cold u- unit
Set 25 c- cent ea- bread g- giant ie- chief y- by
Set 26 ch- chef ch- school ey- they ou- you y- very
Set 27 tch- catch ture- picture dge- fudge mb- lamb se- please
Set 28 are- bare ere- there kn- knit wr- wrap i- chilli
Set 29 eer- deer augh- caught se- house revision

Our approach to teaching synthetic phonics, combined with Guided Reading and Shared Reading, embed early reading skills and enable children to develop early writing strategies.

 Shared and Guided Reading sessions balance the teaching of reading between word reading, wider decoding skills, grammar for reading, wider comprehension strategies and response to text in order to develop fluent readers who understand what they are reading.

Comprehension is taught from an early age to prevent comprehension difficulties arising as the language demand of the texts they encounter increases.

We believe that it is important that children read for meaning because not only does a lack of comprehension create a barrier to educational attainment but also because better comprehenders are more likely to be motivated readers.

Children are taught to read using both big books and shared text where the teachers model what to do for the children. The children then have opportunities to practise their phonic skills through reading phonetically decodable texts (Bug Club) during guided reading and apply their learning in a meaningful manner.

There is also an emphasises on oracy and the teaching of high frequency words to encourage fluency. These words are also sent home with children to ensure continuous practise and allow for further consolidation.


Assessment forms an integral part of the approach so the progress of children is tracked carefully to ensure they do not fall behind in their learning. The teachers draw upon observations and periodic assessments to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support.

Interventions are planned for the children who are working below expected levels as soon as their needs are identified. Children, who are identified as not being on track to pass the phonics screening check, receive an afternoon phonics intervention in addition to their daily phonics session. Thus giving them the best possible chance of reaching age related expectations.

In June, the national Phonics Screening Check is undertaken to confirm that the children have learned to decode to an age appropriate standard and determines what level of provision they will require the following year.

If you would like to know about ALS: Letters and Sound and how to support your child at home, please speak to your child’s class teacher or for more information have a look at their website.

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