At West Road, we follow a phonics programme called Essential Letters and Sounds.

What is Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS)?

”Through our work as one of the Department for Education’s English Hubs, we have developed a way of teaching Letters and Sounds to ensure that all children are learning to read well and making speedy progress.”

”Our programme is rigorous, engaging and supports teachers to ensure that the lowest attaining children keep up rather than ‘catch up’. Children are making accelerated progress and they tell us their favourite lesson is phonics. Teachers feel empowered and love teaching our programme!”

For more information about this programme, visit their website:


This section is split into 6 phases:

Glossary of Key Terms

There are many technical terms which are used in phonics:

CVC A consonant-vowel-consonant word, such as cat, pin or top. You may also come across the abbreviation CCVC for consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant words such as clap and from. Also CVCC for words such as mask and belt.
Phoneme Phonemes are the smallest unit of speech-sounds that make up a word. If you change a phoneme in a word, you would change its meaning. For example, there are three phonemes in the word sit /s/-/i/-/t/. If you change the phoneme /s/ for /f/, you have a new word, fit. If you change the phoneme /t/ in fit for a /sh/, you have a new word, fish – /f/-/i/-/sh/.
Grapheme Graphemes are the written representation of sounds.