P h o n i c s

Letters and Sounds is a phonics scheme written by the government that we use in school to support the teaching of phonics. A link to Letters and Sounds can be found here.

You can find a copy of our spelling mat here. This contains all of the words children are expected to spell by the end of Year 1. It also has examples of graphemes and how they are used in words.

Click here to download the Department for Education's official Year 1 Phonics Screening Check past papers."

Games

There are lots of phonics games that you can find online. Some links can be found below:

Phonics Play

Falling Phonics

Deep Sea Phonics (Worksheet)

Phase 1

In Phase 1 children learn to listen to sounds discriminate between different sounds. This is about sounds in everyday life, not just about sounds in speech. Phase 1 gives children essential skills for all the teaching that follows. If children can't hear and differentiate between sounds, they will then struggle to understand that words are made of sounds that can be decoded.

Phase 1 is usually taught in nurseries and the beginning of Foundation Stage. However, if your child is a little older but struggles to 'hear the separate sounds' in words then it will be very beneficial for them to return to some of the activities found in letters and sounds. See Letters and Sounds for more.

Phase 2

In Phase 2 children learn that each sound is represented by a different letter or group of letters (a grapheme). In Phase 2, we teach 19 letters grouped into 5 sets. The aim is for one set to be covered each week, slowly building children's repertoire of sounds.

Set 1:   s / a / t / p
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 / ss

Children are taught to blend the letters into words straight away, using skills they have been taught in Phase 1. Once children have been taught Set 1, they can already read and spell words such as 'at' , 'pat' , 'tap' , 'sat'.

Alien (or Nonesense) words, such as 'tas' are important for children to experience as they allow them to explore sounds in unknown words. Misspelt words (that are phonetically plausible) are also allowable at this phase e.g. 'pas'. These are corrected in subsequent phases.

As children learn all the sets in Phase 2, they will be able to spell and read more and more words.

Double consonants are also taughtin this phase (ff / ll / ss) to show children that sometimes more than one letter represents a single sound. In the case of these letters, it is the same sound as the single letter represents. In Phase 3 children learn that this is not always the case.

Phase 3

In phase 3 children learn another 25 graphemes and phonemes. In the first two weeks, the final two sets of letters are taught:

Set 6: j / v / w / x
Set 7:   y / z, zz / qu

By week 3, children will start to learn about graphemes where more than one letter represents a single unit of sound. This is called a digraph.

ch (as in chop) ar (as in car)
sh (as in ship) or (as in for)
th (as in thin)* ur (as in turn)
th (as in this)* ow (as in how)
ng (as in thing) oi (as in coin)
ai (as in pain) ear (as in fear)
ee (as in sheet) air (as in hair)
igh (as in night) ure (as in pure)
oo (as in look)   er (as in letter)
oo (as in moon)  
Phase 4

As children progress through Phase 4 they become increasingly confident in reading and spelling longer words.

In Phase 4 children continue to read and write the letters and graphemes they have been taught so far. Up to this point the majority of words presented have contained one syllable (monosyllabic).In Phase 4, children are introduced to polysyllabic words, such as midnight, desktop and shampoo.

Other Phase 4 words are often described in relation to how many vowels and consonants they contain. A "C" is a consonant and a "V" is a vowel:

The word 'pat' is a CVC word. This means the word contains one consonant, followed by a vowel and then another consonant. Some CVC examples are; dad, not & Tim.

The word 'crab' is a CCVC word. This means the word contains two consonants, followed by a vowel and then another consonant. Other examples are; trip, flat & plop.

The word 'help' is a CVCC word. This means the word contains one consonant, followed by a vowel and then two consonants. Other examples are; fist, milk & test.

Phase 5

Phase 5 sees children introduced to more new graphemes. By now the children have learnt at least one way of representing the 44 sounds in the English language. Therefore, in Phase 5, children begin to learn alternative ways of representing these sounds.

For example, in Phase 2 children were taught 'ai' as the grapheme for the phoneme /a/ (as in pain). In Phase 5, children are taught that this phoneme can also be represented by the graphemes 'ay' (as in 'play') or 'a-e' (as in 'make'). These variations must be taught as they are common in our langauge system.

The new graphemes in Phase 5 are:

a-e (as in came) ir (as in girl)
au (as in Paul) o-e (as in bone)
aw (as in saw) oe (as in toe)
ay (as in day) ou (as in out)
e-e (as in these) oy (as in boy)
ea (as in sea) ph (as in phonics)
ew (as in chew) u-e (as in June)
ew (as in stew) u-e (as in huge)
ey (as in money) ue (as in clue)
i-e (as in like) ue (as in due)
ie (as in pie)

wh (as in when) 

Phase 6

Towards the end of Year 1 and into Year 2 children move into Phase 6.

Phase 6 introduces the idea that many graphemes can sometimes represent more than one sound. For example, the letter 'a' can be pronounced as a short vowel (as in 'pan') or a long vowel (as in 'acorn' and 'Amy'). The 'ie' grapheme may be long (as in 'tie') or short (as in 'field').

These nuances are studied in phase 6. Children learn that some are frequent than others and that many follow spelling patterns. For example, the letter 'y' often makes a long /e/ sound at the end of words (such as 'funny' and 'happy') but a different sound at the beginning (such as 'yes' and 'yoghurt').

As children progress through year 2 they begin to learn and apply more formalised spelling patterns in their reading and writing.



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