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The Phonics Programme

Ann Louise Smalberger (ALS) Phonics


The Phonic Scheme in Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Year 3 is ALS Phonics


The ALS approach to Reading is the quality-first teaching of phonics, shared and guided reading led by Ann Smalberger. Ann Smalberger is an independent teaching and learning consultant who has been teaching children to read for more than twenty years. She has supported teachers to develop their skills as ASTs, CLLD (Communication, Language and Literacy Development) consultants and (Ethnic Minority Achievement) consultants.


Ann has adapted the planning for the teaching of Phonics, Shared and Guided reading. The approach is multi-sensory and caters for all learning styles (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic). The ALS training programme is funded by the SDSA in Leicester.


Teachers and Teaching Assistants at Wolsey House have received training from Ann Smalberger in ALS Phonics. Wolsey House has an ALS Lead Teacher who coordinates the training and delivery of the ALS in Wolsey House. CPD is provided both in school, virtually and externally at City Hall or at other participating schools. 


Phonics – whole class discrete daily phonics lessons starting at Phase 1 in the Nursery, Phase 2 and 3 in Reception and Phase 4 and 5 in Year 1. The sequence of phonemes taught loosely follows the Letters and Sounds publication. The lesson plan changes according to the Phase, however it follows the same structure – Review, Teach, Practice, Apply.


Phase 1 Phonics is taught throughout the Nursery year. It has 7 different aspects which all develop auditory skills.


The aspects are as follows:
Environmental Sounds; Instrumental Sounds; Body percussion; Rhythm and Rhyme; Alliteration; Voice sounds and Oral Blending and Segmenting. Each aspect is taught every day, either through a whole class session or in groups, depending on the aspect being taught. Rhythm and Rhyme and Alliteration continue to be taught throughout the Primary years.

Phase 1 continues to be taught and reviewed during the first half term of the Reception year.


Phase 2 Phonics begins when the children are secure with their oral blending and segmenting. During the daily whole class lessons the children are taught phoneme-grapheme correspondence. There are 18 phonemes and 23 graphemes taught in Phase 2. Four phonemes are taught every week, with a revision lesson on the fifth day. The children learn how to blend to read and segment to write words and sentences containing these phonemes. Emphasis is made on learning new vocabulary and reading is familiar and meaningful to the children. Reading and writing strategies (or mantras) are taught so that the children will apply the strategies in their independent work - (for reading - ‘look at the letters, make the sounds and blend the sounds together’ and for writing – ‘say the word, robot the word and write the word’).

These are also used during shared and guided reading and writing. Letter formation and handwriting practice is embedded into the lessons.

Phase 3 Phonics begins to introduce digraphs and trigraphs (25 phonemes).

Phase 4 Phonics introduces adjacent consonants.

Phase 5 Phonics introduces alternative spellings. These lessons revise the previously learnt grapheme and then introduce the new grapheme. Phase 5 usually finishes at the end of Year 1 although Year 2 will revise the Phase during the first half term.



Assessment – All children are baseline assessed at the beginning of the academic year. They are then assessed at the end of every phonic phase. Some children will receive extra daily intervention support outside of the phonics lessons.

Sight Words – Sight words, or high frequency words as they are also known, are taught outside of the phonics lessons. Children are given ‘flashcards’ to take home to learn to read and spell. Some of the sight words are decodable although the children are encouraged to ‘see the word and say the word’. This is to encourage fluency in their reading.

Shared Reading – daily whole class lessons to teach the strategies used for reading. The strategies are taught using ‘mantras’ that the children have learnt in their phonics lessons. They apply their phonic knowledge during the lessons. Lessons cater for all learning styles and emphasises speaking and listening. Talk partners are used in most lessons.

Guided Reading – the children are grouped into ability groups of up to 6 children. The children each have a book and are encouraged to apply the skills they have learnt in shared reading. They read individually by themselves and the teacher listens to them in turn, asking questions. After the children have read, they are asked questions about what they have read and to find evidence in the text. Inference questions are also asked. Speaking and listening is emphasised.
Group assessments are kept for each session.