Direct Phonics is a research based synthetic phonics programme for those children who struggle with basic literacy. There are four teaching manuals.


BOOK ONE: Children learn single letter sounds, c-v-c words (e.g. cat, dog) and a small selection of 'tricky sight words' for sentences.   From the very start, they use the letters to blend and segment words and to read and write the words in short sentences.


BOOK TWO: Children read and write words containing adjacent consonants, e.g. fast, stick, clock, track, sweet and revise sh and ch. They learn words with the following phonemes: ee, ay, ar, ow, oo, ea, qu, ng.

A few additional 'sight' words enable them to use the words in sentences.


BOOK THREE: Children read and write words containing many syllables – polysyllabic words (e.g. fan-tas-tic). Children also learn words made of two shorter words (e.g. sea-shell). All activities draw on the themes and vocabulary of stories included in the manual.


BOOK FOUR: Children continue with ee, ea, ay from Book Two. They learn words with the following new phonemes: oa, ai, ou, a-e, o-e, i-e, u-e, ur, igh, oi, ea(d), aw, ir, ew, or, oy and practise using them in sentences for both reading and spelling.


We have found that Direct Phonics works because:

  • The content is cumulative and very repetitive
  • Frequent checks of progress ensure that children have learnt what has been taught
  • The teaching method follows a routine of ‘model-lead-check’
  • Children listen, speak, read and write in each lesson
  • Each lesson has the same predictable pattern and takes about 20 minutes
  • The clear instructions can be followed by both teachers and teaching assistants

The manuals require no additional teaching materials other than a whiteboard or flipchart. Each book has 10 blocks of lessons with 6 lessons in each block, i.e. a total of 60 lessons per book.


The blocks of lessons are self-contained in that they have their own summary lesson notes, pupil sheets, sentences for dictation, words for assessment and certificates/recognition of achievement.