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At St Thomas More, we use Essential Letters and Sounds to support our teaching of phonics. This is a phonics programme that supports your children to develop the skills and knowledge needed for reading. ELS is published by Oxford University Press.

How can I help my child?

To best support your child when they are learning to read, we suggest that you read the decodable text provided by the school 4 times across the week. Spending 10 minutes a day reading with your child will hugely support them in their journey to becoming an independent reader.

Another key way to support your child it to read to them too! Share exciting and engaging books and stories with them.

It is a key part of learning to read that children re-read words and sentences that they can decode (sound out) until they are fluent (read with ease and precision). By reading texts several times children have the greatest opportunity to achieve this fluency.

The texts sent home are carefully matched to the teaching taking place. Your child will be practising what they have been taught in school with you at home. Your child should be able to decode and read their phonics book independently, though they may need some support with blending at the beginning of their reading journey. There will be some words that are not decodable, we call these ‘harder to read and spell’, you can help your child with these words when they are reading.

Please see the resources linked below for further information about ways in which you can support your child.

Pure Sounds

Pure sounds help children accurately sound out and blend words together. See the video (linked) for an example of what this sounds like and why it is important:

About ELS

ELS was created to ensure every child can read well, quickly. The principles of ELS are based upon:

• the delivery of whole-class, high-quality first teaching with well-structured daily lesson plans

• the use of consistent terminology by teachers, children and parents

• the use of consistent resources that support effective teaching

• repetition and reinforcement of learning

• regular and manageable assessment to ensure that all children ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’

• the ‘E’ model.

The ‘E’ model

‘E’ model components



The theory and pedagogy behind ELS


How to deliver ELS lessons in your school


How to ensure all children ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’


How to lead ELS in your school


How to assess children’s progress Evolve Optional bespoke training