Phonics using the 'Supersonic Phonic Friends' scheme

Supersonic Phonic Friends

As a school we have adopted ‘Supersonic Phonics Friends’, to support us with the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics. This ensures a consistent approach across early years and Key Stage 1.  ‘Supersonic Phonic Friends’ is based on the well-recognised ‘Letters and Sounds’ approach. Super Supersonic Phonic Friends is an enchanted adventure of phonics where along the way children will meet several friendly woodland characters who represent each literacy skill involved. Supported by the children's new 'Supersonic friends' and rhyming captions and phrases, this approach ensures children develop the confidence to apply each skill to their own reading and writing.  Meet the characters, explore the benefits and have a look at the links and videos below to find out more about our phonics scheme.

How We Teach Phonics

Firm Foundations

Nurturing an Eager Early Reader

Visualise an iceberg. The very top of the iceberg is visible above the water, but it is supported by a far larger mass of ice underneath. This is a valid analogy for learning to read. Reading is the visible skill that is supported by a vast body of knowledge, understanding, competence, and attitudes that underpin it.  What is beneath gives the tip its robustness and strength, which in turn is supported and anchored by the rest of the structure.

Using this as an analogy, learning phonics is supported by a variety of knowledge, understanding, abilities, and attitudes that are acquired and developed during early childhood. These are the building blocks around which formal phonics teaching is built. If young children are secure in these building blocks, it is more likely that they will come to phonics with a wide variety of knowledge, understanding, and skill, which raises their likelihood of having a high chance of success.

At John Hampden, we've pinpointed the knowledge, skills, and understanding we believe are essential for providing children with an optimal foundation for their educational journey in phonics. These elements have been categorized into six distinct areas and are seamlessly integrated into our daily teaching and interactions with the children.

Spoken Language                  


Physical Foundations of Literacy

Metalinguistic Development


Print Awareness


Symbolising and Representation

Phonological Awareness


Supersonic Phonic Friends in Crickets Class

Supersonic Phonic Friends starts in our Nursery Class and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. The focus is on listening and identifying the different sounds we hear in our environment and in songs, stories and rhymes. Once children can hear and differentiate between sounds they are ready to begin exploring how words are made up of sounds and start playing games like ‘I spy’.

The Supersonic Phonic Friends phonics’ curriculum for our Nursery is split up into 7 aspects.


Aspect 1 – General Sound Discrimination – Environmental Sounds

The aim of this aspect is to raise children’s awareness of the sounds around them and to develop their listening skills. Activities suggested may include going on a listening walk, drumming on different items outside and comparing the sounds, playing a sounds lotto game and making shakers.

Aspect 2 – General Sound Discrimination – Instrumental Sounds

This aspect aims to develop children’s awareness of sounds made by various instruments and noise makers. Activities include comparing and matching sound makers, playing instruments alongside a story and making loud and quiet sounds.

Aspect 3 – General Sound Discrimination – Body Percussion

The aim of this aspect is to develop children’s awareness of sounds and rhythms. Activities include singing songs and action rhymes, listening to music and developing a sounds vocabulary.

Aspect 4 – Rhythm and Rhyme

This aspect aims to develop children’s appreciation and experiences of rhythm and rhyme in speech. Activities include rhyming stories, rhyming bingo, clapping out the syllables in words and odd one out.

Aspect 5 – Alliteration

The focus is on initial sounds of words, with activities including I-Spy type games and matching objects which begin with the same sound.

Aspect 6 – Voice Sounds

The aim is to distinguish between different vocal sounds and to begin oral blending and segmenting. Activities may include Metal Mike, where children feed pictures of objects into a toy robot’s mouth and the teacher sounds out the name of the object in a robot voice – /c/-/u/-/p/ cup, with the children joining in.

Aspect 7 – Oral Blending and Segmenting

In this aspect, the main aim is to develop oral blending and segmenting skills.

For example, to practise oral blending, the adult could say some sounds, such as /c/-/u/-/p/ and sees whether the children can pick out a cup from a group of objects. For segmenting practise, the adult could hold up an object such as a sock and ask the children which sounds they can hear in the word sock.

Firm Foundation Phonics Progression

Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

Firm Foundations

Aspects 1 - 3

Firm Foundations

Aspects 1 -3

Firm Foundations

Aspects 4,5,6


Firm Foundations

Aspects 4,5,6


Firm Foundations

Aspect 7

Firm Foundations

Aspect 7


Supersonic Phonic Friends Progression Overview

Supersonic Phonic Friends Progression Overview For EYFS and Key Stage 1 is shown in the document below.

Phonics in Foundation Stage

During the Foundation Stage year children are introduced to phonemes and their corresponding graphemes. We begin to look at single letter sounds and the representing spelling for this – spelling for the sounds.

Each spelling for the sound has a picture and an action, for example “squishy squishy strawberry.”

Children then begin to read and write three letter words; matching the grapheme to the sound they can hear.

As they become confident and fluent readers and writers of CVC words children are then introduced to digraphs; where two letters make one sound. Throughout the whole of the reception year our phonic teaching relies on the firm foundations of orally blending and segmenting and is deep rooted in rhythm and rhyme. By the end of EYFS children should be fluent with all 44 sounds; including one way to represent them.

Phonics in Key Stage 1

In Year 1 children develop their ability to hear and remember more than three sounds in a row and explore adjacent consonants to read CVCC and CCVC words such as ‘think, coast and blink’. They also become fluent at recognising and applying alternative sounds for the 44 graphemes they learnt in Foundation Stage and are introduced to alternative ways to make each of the digraphs they have previously learnt.  Through the use of the characters 'Switch it Mitch' and 'Choose to Use Suze' they recognise spelling patterns and rules to identify which spelling they need to represent the sound. By the end of Year 1 children will have had access to over 100 spellings to make the 44 sounds.

Children learn to read ‘tricky words’ with Tricky Tess.  Tricky words are words that cannot be read by decoding. 

Tricky Tess helps to work out the tricky part of the word, “We need to work out what is the tricky part of the word. If it is in blue I will show you what to do.” 

Children are also introduced to 'Nonsense Nan' who will guide them through how to read alien and real words in preparation for the Year 1 Phonic Screening Check at the end of their time in Year 1.

From Year 2, we continue to explore grapheme phoneme correspondence and learn spelling rules to support our reading and writing development. Supersonic Phonic Friends allows us access to a tailored programme of spelling rules for both children in Year 1 and Year 2. 

Structure of Lessons

All lessons are delivered using a consistent set of slides provided by the phonic scheme. They follow the structure of:

Review and Revisit

During this part of the session, children will recap on the spellings for the sounds and tricky words or high frequency words previously taught and oral blending and segmenting activities.


This is the part of the lesson where new learning takes place. Children will be introduced to the characters who are a key part in the steps in learning.  Helpful phrases with actions are used to engage and stimulate the children, providing a multisensory approach.  The children are orally introduced to a new spelling for the sound and taught how to orally blend and segment words containing that sound. They will be shown the grapheme to represent the sound and then the teacher models blending, reading and writing.


During this section children are given the opportunity to read and write words containing the new spelling for the sound as well as orally spell and blend words with their phonic buddy. They will use a range of resources to embed their new learning; ensuring there is an equal balance of reading and writing.


In every lesson children will be given an application task where they are expected to read and write new words and sounds within a caption or a sentence. This allows children to see their new learning in a context and to further embed their vocabulary and fluency. They will also apply tricky words and high-frequency words to their reading or writing.

Within this structure all children become familiar with the characters and know the roles of their jobs. Children are given an equal balance of reading and writing phonic activities to ensure there is equal weighting to their application of skills.

Reading Scheme

As a school we have a range of texts to support children and their reading development and these are categorised by the spellings for the sounds they contain.

All reading books are matched to the spellings for the sounds children have covered in school to ensure we maximise their ability to apply their new knowledge and these books are read both within school and then sent home for children to further embed the skills.


Supersonic Phonic Friends is a programme rooted in the belief that “wrapping the children in lessons full rhyme will allow children to achieve every time,” and that the careful and rigorous assessment will allow children at risk of falling behind to be pinpointed quickly and teachers can intervene effectively.

Comprehensive assessments take place at the end of each phase using whole class trackers to allow staff to easily identify children who are on track, above or if they require extra support to ‘keep up’ in their phonics and the application of their reading and writing.

Slide Shows and Videos

Supersonic Phonic Friends have created videos to support

  •          Basics 2 Alliterative Rhymes and Actions


  •          Basics 3 Alliterative Rhymes and Actions


  •          Supersonic Phonic Friends Helpful Phrases and Actions


Please visit the website below for more information: