Our Approach To Teaching Phonics

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Teaching of Phonics in Early Years and Key Stage One

We have been using ‘Letters and Sounds’ as our primary planning guidance for teaching phonics since its introduction in 2008 although it is not a statutory requirement to use this particular resource. Updated Government SSPs (systematic synthetic phonics) now do not include 'Letters and Sounds' and this programme is currently under review at Stithians C P School

Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.

This guidance combined with a variety of multi sensory resources and creative and interactive activities means that children in all 3 classes make excellent progress within a fun and stimulating environment.

Our weekly timetable ensures that there is a balance of adult and child led/ initiated activities. We follow the suggested 5 part sequence of teaching phonics which is revisit/review, teaching, practise, apply and assess resource.


 Letters and Sounds Phase 1 to 6


Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One (Nursery/Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segent longer words with adjacet consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)

Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.


For more information check out the website http://www.letters-and-sounds.com/.


Here are just a few examples of activities that the children encounter during phonic activities in our Reception Class. 

Example 1

Match decodeable phrases to pictures

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Example 2

Recognise the sound associated with both lowercase and capital letters

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Example 3   

To be able to segment and blend decodeable words. This can be completed verbally but can also be combined with written activities.

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Example 4

To hear the sounds and identify the the correct grapheme to match. Magnetic letters are a good resource to use.

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Example 5                                                  

Working together to read sentences.

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Example 6

Read environmental text and that written by others (e.g list)

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Our Reception classroom interactive phonics display.  The children can use the resources throughout the day to support their learning.  The resources include word mats, grapheme cards, phrases, question cards, decodeable words, tricky and high frequency words.