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Phonics and Reading

How we teach phonics and reading at Merry Hill

What is Phonics?

Phonics is a method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning to associate letters or letter groups with the sounds they represent. There are 44 main sounds in the English language. Each sound is represented by a grapheme (the written representation of a sound).

What is ELS?

Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen phonics programme. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words. Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers.

Why have we chosen ELS (Essential Letters and Sounds) as our systematic synthetic phonics programme?

  • It builds on Letters and Sounds which is the programme we were previously using, are very familiar with and have been successful in implementing
  • It teaches the sounds in the same order that we have previously taught so will make for a smooth transition for the children
  • It involves whole class high quality teaching with well-structured daily lesson plans
  • It includes consistent resources used across the school to ensure prior learning is accessed easily and built upon
  • It includes a wide range of engaging, decodable books for our children
  • It is engaging for the children and will ensure all children learn to read well, quickly



Mrs Ineson has created a presentation which will tell you more about the ELS programme and how it is being implemented across our school.