Letters and Sounds FAQs

What does the Letters and Sounds DfE validation mean?

Smart Kids Letters and Sounds programme has been validated by the British Department for Education (DfE). This means that our resources and decodable books have been reviewed by an independent panel of experts and meet all the criteria of an effective systematic synthetic phonics programme. 

Which sets or books should I use if I use the Letters and Sounds planning?

We have 3 different series of readers that can all be used separately or at the same time as they all follow the same Letters and Sounds progression: 

  • L&S Validated Fiction and Non-Fiction books provide a consistent and highly effective approach to teaching phonics. Recently updated in sassoon print. Sold in sets of 8 books.
  • Pocket Rockets are effective fun books or booklets that introduce one phoneme at a time. Sold in sets of 18 or 26 books or 180 booklets.
  • Mog and Gom books also cover one phoneme per book. Children love the continuing story line and development of the characters. Split into 12 units with 6 books per unit.


Which mnemonic cards should I use?

A mnemonic is a simple device used to assist memory. We offer two types of mnemonics and your choice comes down to personal preference:

The photo mnemonics used in the Letters and Sounds resources provide a clear memorable example of the sound that is associated with each letter and may be more suitable for those with special needs.

The illustrated mnemonics provided in the Mog and Gom resources follow the same shape as the letter so that a patter can be provided to aid with letter formation. The Mog and Gom books and resources have been designed to be used with the Letters and Sounds progression, guidance, daily lesson plans and assessment. 

To ensure fidelity please only choose one type of mnemonic, do not use a mix of both.

How is the phase 5 progression different from the original Letters and Sounds?

We have updated our Phase 5 progression so that new spellings are taught as 'Alternative Spellings' not 'Alternative Pronunciations'. We have been careful to keep the same progression so that teachers can still use their existing sets of boxed flash cards. You can download our latest updated guidance here.

We have done this so we can limit the introduction of new spellings to one a day as much as possible while covering all the phonemes outlined in the DfE example progression 2021

Our progression covers all the same GPCs as the DfE progression and all the content required for the Phonics Screening Check. We chose our progression in order for us to have as large a vocabulary as possible to choose from in order to write more interesting books. e.g. /ee/ spelt ey is found in many common words so we teach it a little bit earlier at Reception Summer 2nd Half.