This page provides full information and free training for the ‘No Nonsense Phonics Skills’ series.

The series is part of the suite of the ‘DfE validated’ Phonics International programme. The Phonics International programme, provided online for all ages, has been ‘DfE validated’ since 2011.

The No Nonsense Phonics Skills programme provides a comprehensive step-by-step method for teaching reading, handwriting and spelling. Author Debbie Hepplewhite guides the teacher and the learner through a series of carefully designed routines to master the complex English Alphabetic Code.

The programme is suitable for mainstream class teaching, targeted support or intervention – and whether English is the mother tongue or new or additional language. The resources and guidance are underpinned by the international research on reading and leading-edge practice and experience, for example: The ‘Five Pillars of Literacy’, the ‘Simple View of Reading’ and the ‘Two-pronged systematic and incidental phonics teaching and learning’ approach.


Feedback following a 2-day consultancy & training event at a very big primary school where Debbie introduced the
No Nonsense Phonics Skills materials to the staff:

“The difference is amazing. So, 6 weeks after you first visited – there are some incredible things happening at our school. We have seen children make phenomenal progress – the Say the Sounds sheets – say it all. For some children it is like a switch has been flicked. I think you would enjoy seeing how the Teaching Assistants are using the Intervention boxes – we have three – they use the teacher books as a reference document, interventions are specific and targeted at the children’s “gaps”. It has become a treasured resource. There is still a way to go and we are finding our feet, trying things out and consistency is not there yet, we might need to have a staff Skype or “Ask Debbie” session and we will definitely need you to come back and help us improve on what we have begun, but you have made a difference in such a short time. Child H today was working with a TA; He has been to 4 schools, loves school and learning, but he has struggled with reading and writing in the past. There were lots of gaps when we first looked at our Say the Sounds assessment (Sept 2016). The gaps have disappeared! H is writing and reading with confidence. H is one of many.”

Mrs Oriana Dalton
Headteacher, England


Each Pupil Book (Books 1 to 9) is rich in content, providing phonics instruction and exercises (print-to-sound for reading, and sound-to-print for spelling) with cumulative alphabetic code (letter/s-sound correspondences), and cumulative words and meaningful texts. Learners develop their language comprehension and build up their knowledge of new vocabulary and spelling word banks. High-frequency words, tricky words and additional letter/s-sound correspondences are drip-fed into the teaching and learning sequence. Mini Stories throughout the books bring all the different strands of the programme together.

The No Nonsense Phonics Skills programme:

– Provides the ‘overview’ of the complex English Alphabetic Code whilst building up the code in steps via cumulative Alphabetic Code Charts, with guidance for adults, in the front of each Pupil Book

– Provides the overview of the Alphabet and teaches capital letters along with lower case letters ‘as code for’ the same sounds

– Provides systematic and rigorous phonics teaching and practice with a rich vocabulary – with incidental phonics teaching as required

– Teaches handwriting linked to both the English Alphabetic Code and the Alphabet

– Applies and extends phonics to reading and writing cumulative text, developing language comprehension and evoking imagination – the learner is the illustrator

– Involves and engages the learner fully and routinely in self-annotating and formative assessment

– Enables ample revision and repeat reading as required and ongoing marking and monitoring that is tangible to everyone

– Informs parents/carers/support staff and promotes ‘working in partnership’ as appropriate


No Nonsense Phonics Skills in Action with a Year One class (5 – 6 years old)!

Example of most of ‘No Nonsense Phonics Skills’ Teacher Book 2 which includes Pupil Book 2 – the answers and further guidance: Click HERE

Teaching Phonics: a no nonsense approach to change (Click to view article)
Kate Flowerdew charts the journey and benefits enjoyed by her school in adopting this method


A  critique of the video footage above from A. Steel – Literacy Consultant:


Watch out for Debbie talking about: 

  • The 5 Pillars of Literacy
  • The Simple View of Reading
  • The 3 Core Phonics Skills
  • The Teaching and Learning Cycle

Then teacher Kate demonstrates with her class: 

  • Revisit and review
  • Individual revision at code level
  • Individual revision with cumulative word banks
  • Teacher led – the blending routine
  • Teacher led – the spelling routine
  • The phonemic awareness puzzle
  • Individual practice blending a bank of new words
  • Individual apply and extend to the mini-story

Once you’ve watched the video through once, why not watch it again -but this time I’d like you to notice and reflect upon the following 20 important points: 

  • The quantity of words the children are exposed to in the lesson – lots!
  • The level of the language in the word banks and texts – rich and full, high expectations!
  • Children are sitting at desks, using paper and pencils – they look comfortable!
  • All the children are engaged in the learning – you can see the cogs whirring!
  • The children are working individually (but still supporting one another) – they are taking ownership over their own learning!
  • The children are using a routine of circling unknown words for the teacher to help them with later!
  • The children are not upset or bothered when they can’t read a word (they know they will be helped)!
  • The teacher talks about the meanings of words throughout – always thinking about vocabulary enrichment and language development!
  • The children read with blending when needed and without blending when not needed – natural progression!
  • The class is being taught as a whole rather than small ability groups!
  • The children are all accessing the same activity irrelevant of their ability – differentiation is through the children’s own pace of working and teacher support!
  • They are using worksheets – with loads of fit for purpose content to practise all the phonics skills!
  • There are no mini-whiteboards in sight – the children have a record of their learning to revisit later in school or at home, and it leaves a trail of evidence rather than being wiped away!
  • The teacher is directly and actively teaching!
  • The teacher is calm and clear!
  • The teacher models writing letters on lines!
  • The teacher’s whiteboard is clean and spacious so the children can see clearly what she is teaching them!
  • The teacher uses an appropriate handwriting style to model writing as she remembers that the children will emulate her!
  • The children point and track with a finger when reading – they know this keeps their eyes focused on the text!
  • The children are happy, engaged and learning!

What do you think? 

Does this look like the type of phonics lesson you would like to teach? 

Which parts would you like to know more about?


Debbie Hepplewhite’s No Nonsense Phonics Skills Box Set includes the complete range of nine Pupil Books in sets of six copies of each book, one copy each of the nine Teacher Books, six copies of a tabletop Alphabetic Code Chart and a wide range of additional complementary material and video footage provided through a USB stick.

The programme is suitable from beginner infants (4+) and beyond infants (primary) – according to the needs of the learners.

The Box Set provides an ideal pick-up-and-go range of practical material for trialling the No Nonsense Phonics Skills programme from the perspective of the teacher, any other supporting adults, the learners – and learners’ parents and carers.


Below are three PowerPoint presentations. The first is a set of slides to flick through to enable quick, transparent review of the No Nonsense Phonics Skills rationale and resources. The second is an audio-video presentation with the same slides – suitable for teachers to hear more about the programme including suggestions for best use and differentiation. The third PowerPoint has been created by Jamie Hallums. We are grateful that Jamie has contributed his PowerPoint as it is an excellent resource for CPD.

Here is a PowerPoint presentation to enable very quick transparent review of the
No Nonsense Phonics Skills programme’s rationale and contents:

Click HERE to download a high quality PowerPoint presentation.


Here is the full PowerPoint presentation video with audio commentary for training/CPD in the
No Nonsense Phonics Skills programme (1 hr 15 mins).

This third PowerPoint has been created by Jamie Hallums.

“We have been using No Nonsense Phonics Skills for two terms now and are very pleased with how it is going. We started using it as an intervention for two children in Year 3, and noticing its effectiveness in supporting the children, we have broadened its use across the school to Years 1, 2, 4 and 6. This presentation has been designed with teaching assistants in mind, but is for anyone who needs to quickly understand how to use the programme.”
Jamie Hallums, Assistant Headteacher, Kobi Nazrul Primary School, Tower Hamlets

Click HERE to download a high quality PowerPoint presentation.

The No Nonsense Phonics Skills series includes selected core resources from the online Phonics International programme. Read more about Debbie’s full Phonics International programme HERE (Annual Licence only £20 plus VAT).