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Part of the Diocese of Lancaster

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St Cuthbert's Catholic School

St Margaret Mary Catholic Primary School



At our School, we are committed to developing children’s phonic knowledge and abilities to help them to be capable readers. We know this will help them throughout their life and see it as our responsibility and duty to the children to give them the best start that we possibly can.


From the time they enter our school in Nursery or Reception, we ensure that children receive phonics sessions on a regular basis using the “Letters and Sounds” Scheme as our main resource.


Letters and Sounds is a six-phase programme designed to help teach children to read and spell with phonics.


Phase One

The aim of this phase is to foster children’s speaking and listening skills as preparation for learning to read with phonics. Parents can play a vital role in helping their children develop these skills, by encouraging their children to listen carefully and talk

extensively about what they hear, see and do.


Phase Two – Four

Phase Two is when systematic, high quality phonic work begins.


During Phase Two to Four, children learn:

* How to represent each of the 42 sounds by a letter or sequence of letters.

*How to blend sounds together for reading and how to segment (split) words for spelling.

*Letter names e.g. through an alphabet song. There is some debate as to when letter names should be introduced, but it is generally best to leave teaching letter names until children are

secure with the alphabet letter sounds, as these are what are important when learning to read with phonics.

*How to read and spell some high frequency ‘tricky’ words containing sounds not yet learnt (e.g. they, my, her, you).

The Letters and Sounds Programme suggests an order for teaching the letters, and a fast pace of one Set per week. It recognises, however, that children’s personal experience of letters varies enormously. Most importantly, it progresses from the simple to the more complex aspects of phonics at a pace that is suitable for the children who are learning.


Phase Five

Children learn new ways of representing the sounds and practise blending for reading and segmenting for spelling.


Phase Six

During this phase, children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.


Ways you can support your children at home: talking and listening


Make time to listen to your child talking – as you meet them from school, as you walk, or travel home by car, in the supermarket as you shop, at meal times, bath times, bedtimes – any time!


Switch off the TV, radio and mobile phones – and really listen!

Show that you are interested in what they are talking about – look at your child, smile, nod your head, ask a question or make a response to show that you really have been listening.


Make a collection of different toy creatures – for example, a duck, a snake, an alien, say the sound it might make as you play together, for example, ‘quack-quack’, ‘ssssssss’, ‘yuk-yuk’, and encourage your child to copy you.


Listen at home – switch off the TV and listen to the sounds, both inside and outside the home. Can your child tell you what sounds they heard, in the order in which they heard them?


Play-a-tune – and follow me! Make or buy some simple shakers, drums and beaters, then play a simple tune and ask your child to copy. Have fun!


Use puppets and toys to make up stories or retell known ones. Record your child telling the story and play it back to them.


Not all children will learn at the same rate!


Your child should be supported whatever their rate of learning. There is a very close link between difficulty with phonics and hearing so, if your child is making progress more slowly

than might be expected, it would be worth having their hearing checked.

From a very early stage, children develop awareness of different sounds in spoken language. They develop understanding that spoken words are made up of different sounds (phonemes) and they learn to match these phonemes to letters (graphemes). Phonics is about children knowing how letters link to sounds (graphemes to phonemes), for example, c as in ‘cat’, ll as in ‘fell’, ee as in ‘sheep’.


Children use this phonic knowledge when they are reading and writing. This approach has been shown to provide a quick and efficient way for most young children to learn to read words on the page, fluently and accurately. We want children to develop this skill so that it becomes automatic. This also greatly helps them with their spelling.

Phonics Long Term Planning

Phonics Help Videos

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Phonics at Home

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Here is a great example of a phonics session and how they can be delivered outside of the classroom.

Phonics at Home

Still image for this video
Here is a great example of a phonics session and how they can be delivered outside of the classroom.

What do children need to know and when?



Letters taught which children should recognise:

Words children should read and spell:

When children should be secure:

Phase 2

Set 1: s, a, t, p, i, n

Set 2: i, n, m, d,

Set 3: g, o, c, k

Set 4: ck, e, u, r

Set 5: h, b, f, ff, l, ll, s, ss


Read the tricky words: to, the, I, go and no


Blend and segment VC (vowel and consonant) words e.g. if, am, on and up


Children should be able to form most letters correctly.

By the end of October in Reception

Phase 3

Children should recognise and write:


Set 6: j, v, w, x

Set 7: y, z, zz, qu

ch = chip,

sh = shop,

th = thin/then,

ng = ring,

ai = rain,

ee = feet,

igh = night,

oa = boat,

oo/oo = book/look,

ar = farm,

or = for,

ur = hurt,

ow = cow,

oi = coin,

ear = dear,

air = fair,

ure = sure,

er = corner

Read the tricky words: he, she, we, me, be, was, my, you, her, they, all and are.


Read phonically decodable words: will, with, that, this, then, them, see, for, now, down, look and too.


To be able to blend and read CVC words.


To spell the tricky words: to, the, I, go and no


To form all the letters correctly.

By the end of Reception


Phase 4

To give any sound when shown any Phase 2 or Phase 3 grapheme.


To be able to read the tricky words: some, one, said, come, do, so, were, when, have, there, out, like, little and what.

To be able to spell the tricky words: he, she, we, me, be, was, my, you, her, they, all and are.

To be able to write each letter formed correctly.

Children to be secure at this stage before the end of Reception.

Phase 5

For any given sound, write the grapheme

ay = play

ou = mouse

ie = pie

ea = beans

oy = boy

ir = girl

ue = clue

aw = awful

wh = when/who

ph = phonics

ew = new

oe = toe

au = autumn

a-e = cake

e-e = Pete

i-e = kite

o-e = home

u-e = cube

Read and spell most of the 100 High Frequency Words.


Read and spell two and three syllable words.


Form each letter correctly.

By the end of Year 1

Phase 6

Adding ing, ed, er, est, ful, ly, ment, ness and y to words.


Adding s and es to plurals e.g. cats and fishes.

During this phase children become fluent readers and accurate spellers.

Children should be encouraged to read aloud and silently.

To be able to read the next 200 High Frequency words.

To add suffixes to words when spelling.

By the end of Year 2