Phonics Teaching

Phonological Awareness (PA) and Phonics

Phonics is the relationship between the 26 letters of the English alphabet, and the approximately 44 speech sounds they represent, depending on dialect. The sounds of the English language are known as phonemes and the letters and letter combinations are known as graphemes. 

Phonics instruction teaches the relationship between speech sounds and the way they are represented in print, especially in early reading instruction.

Phonological awareness (PA) is the ability to hear, identify and say the separate parts of words such as rhymes, and letter sounds. Phonological awareness has been shown in numerous studies to be one of the best predictors of initial reading progress. Children with good phonemic awareness tend to learn to read more easily.

Beginning readers need to be explicitly taught how our speech sounds map to the different spellings in a logical and sequential order, starting with the simple code. This is called a synthetic phonics approach, and at South Padbury Primary School we use the PLD program as the base for our phonic program in the early years. 

In the senior years students move to the Soundwaves Spelling Program which incorporates phonemic awareness, synthetic phonics, morphology and etymology:

  • Phonemic awareness: the ability to work with phonemes.
  • Synthetic phonics: phonics instruction that involves teaching phoneme–grapheme relationships.
  • Morphology: knowledge of the meaningful parts of words: prefixes, suffixes, and Greek and Latin roots.
  • Etymology: understanding of word origins and history.

PLD Synthetic Phonics

PLD stands for Promoting Literacy Development

PLD provides an Australian, evidence-based approach to Structured Synthetic Phonics (SSP) for primary school educators. Aligned with the Science of Reading, PLD’s method is derived from the disciplines of speech pathology, occupational therapy and education. As an Australian publisher and professional development provider, PLD advocates that literacy and learning outcomes are maximised for children when their Literacy, Oral Language and Movement & Motor skills are targeted.

Clink on the link below to view their website. 

PLD Literacy Website: Primary School Literacy Resources | PLD-Literacy

PLD Parent Literacy Resources

When home and school work together, children thrive. Recognising this, PLD provides an extensive range of resources including parent manuals, developmental milestones, informative sheets, and videos. Please click on the link below to access parent literacy resources that are free to download.

Parent Education Resources – PLD – Promoting Literacy Development (

Phonic Upskill Program (PUP)

South Padbury Primary School is pleased to be able to offers students who are having difficulties learning their sounds and/or could benefit from extra support with beginning reading and writing skills, the opportunity to participate in a small group support program called the PUP program. Students must know the letters of the alphabet, the sounds those letters make and be able to decode or sound out words before being able to read.

Early intervention and small group support to master phonic concepts and word decoding is an effective way to improve these necessary pre-reading skills, and attending the PUP sessions keeps students moving forward, ensuring they don’t have any phonic gaps. 

PUP is based on the PLD Sounds program which is a successful, research and evidence based synthetic phonics program that is designed to teach children to read and spell through phonological awareness and phonics. It involves learning through structured practise, games and chanting, while working at a pace that is suitable for the children who are learning. Students are grouped based on targeted phonic concepts. Students may feel like they are learning phonic concepts they already know and understand, however testing often shows that while students may understand phonic concepts, they are not ‘banked’ in their long-term memory and aren’t able to apply those phonic concepts with consistency when reading and writing.

The school has three trained education assistants who run the program and offer their time before school to ensure students don’t miss out on in-class language learning during the day.

Student progress is monitored termly by class teachers using a tracking assessment spreadsheet, and groups may change termly according to needs or when students have mastered the necessary phonic knowledge.

Phonics Fact Sheets and Home Activities