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At our school we follow the Letters and Sounds phonics scheme and all our indivudal reading books in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are matched accordingly. 


Oxford Owl have produced this handy guide for parents which tells you all about what phonics is:


You can use this weblink to watch a video on how to pronounce the phonemes that your child will learn:

Here is a useful video on how to help your child blend the phonemes to help them read


Key vocabulary that you may find useful:


The sound that is heard


The written representation of the sound


Two letters that make a single sound e.g. ‘oa’ as in goat


Three letters that make a single sound e.g. ‘igh’ as in light

Split diagraph

When two letter make a single sound but are not consecutive in a word – this is always a vowel followed by the letter e e.g. a_e as in cake, e_e as in Pete, i_e as in bike, o_e as in woke, u_e as in flute.


Identifying the individual sounds and combining them to read the word

e.g. b-oa-t


Listening for the sounds in words gives children the best start for improving spelling


A word made of the sequence: consonant, vowel, consonant e.g. cat


A word made of the sequence: consonant, consonant, vowel, consonant e.g. stop


A word made of the sequence:  consonant, vowel, consonant, consonant  e.g. pond


Repetition of the same initial sound at the beginning of a sequence words e.g. the big, bad, bold bear was brave.


A word that contains more than one syllable

Phonics in Reception:

Reception are typically taught phases 2 first before moving onto phase 3 by Easter. They then begin to move onto phase 4 where appropriate.

In Phase 2, letters and their sounds are introduced one at a time. A set of letters is taught each week.

By the time they reach Phase 3, children will already be able to blend and segment words containing the 19 letters taught in Phase 2. Over the twelve weeks which Phase 3 is expected to last, twenty-five new graphemes are introduced (one at a time).

These are taught in the following order.

Phase 2:

Phase 3:

s, a, t, p
i, n, m, d
g, o, c, k
e, u, r, ck,
h, b, f, ff,

l, ll, ss


j, v, w, x

y, z,

zz, qu

ch, sh, th,

ng, nk

ai, ee, oa,

oo, ar, or,

igh, ur, ow, oi,

ear, er air,


When children start Phase Four of the Letters and Sounds phonics programme, they will know a grapheme for each of the 42 phonemes. They will be able to blend phonemes to read CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words and segment in order to spell them.

Children will also have begun reading straightforward two-syllable words and simple captions, as well as reading and spelling some tricky words.

Phonics in Year One:

The main focus in year one is phase 5.  Children entering Phase Five will already be able to read and spell words with adjacent consonants, such as trap, string and flask. They will also be able to read and spell some polysyllabic words.

In Phase Five, children will learn more graphemes and phonemes. For example, they already know 'ai' as in rain, but now they will be introduced to 'ay' as in day and 'a-e' as in make.

Phase 5

ay, ou, ie

ea, oy, ir, ue

aw, wh, ph

oe, au, ew

a_e, e_e, i_e, o_e, u_e

Alternative pronunciations for graphemes will also be introduced, e.g. 'ea' in tea, head and break.

Phase 6

At the start of Phase Six of Letters and Sounds, children will have already learnt the most frequently occurring grapheme–phoneme correspondences (GPCs) in the English language. They will be able to read many familiar words automatically. When they come across unfamiliar words they will in many cases be able to decode them quickly and quietly using their well-developed sounding and blending skills. With more complex unfamiliar words they will often be able to decode them by sounding them out.

Tricky Words

Throughout their phonics learning the children will be exposed to common irregular words that cannot be decoded phonetically. These will be given to the children in sets of varying amount throughout their time in year 1 and reception – also known as their “rocket words”. These are words that the children are expected to read at the end of Reception and spell at the end of year one.  These include:

the ; no  ;  little ;  some


Useful websites:

Here are some links to websites that may help you:


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