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What is phonics and how do we teach it at Newhall Park Primary School?


Phonics is all about sounds!

It is a method of teaching children to read and write. There are 44 sounds in the English language, which we put together to form words. Some sounds are represented by one letter, like ‘s’ and some by  two or more, for example ‘sh’ in ship and ‘igh’ in night

Phase 1

The Foundation Stage and phonics


In Nursery, children are taught listening skills in a variety of ways. They use musical instruments, play games such as I spy and sing along to Jolly phonics action songs to tune into the sounds around them. Children will play listening games where they will blend sounds to make words but this is all done orally, for example, the teacher may ask the children "Can you find the c-a-t?" The children have to blend the sounds to work out what she wants them to find.


Phase 2

In Reception, children are taught the phonemes (letter sounds) to match the graphemes (the written letters). The order that phonemes are taught is laid out in the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document. Phonics is taught using songs, actions and fun multi-sensory activities. During the phonics sessions children are taught to blend sounds, to read words and to segment (break up) words to hear single sounds for spelling. They are also taught ‘tricky’ words which do not follow the phonic rules.


Phase 2 Phonemes

Below are a list of the phonemes your child will learn in Reception. It’s important that your child learns the sound each letter makes to help them blend, but they also need to understand that every letter has a name.   For example its name is A (as in ai)  its sound is a, its name is B (as in be) its sound is b. Singing the alphabet song and matching upper and lower case letters is a good activity to help children with this.  Please be aware it is very important your child knows the letter C is not a curly c but a C (as in see) and a K is not a kicking k but a K (as in kay).  See the letter name and sound video below.


Phase 2

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


All the phase 2 sounds and how to say them.


Phase 3

Phase 3 digraphes (two letter sounds) and trigraphes (three letter sounds).

Click on the video to hear how the sounds are pronounced.


Set 6 j v w x
Set 7 Y z,zz qu  


Grapheme Sample Word Grapheme Sample Word
ch chip ar farm
sh shop or for
th thin/then ur hurt
ng ring ow cow
ai rain oi coin
ee feet ear dear
igh night air fair
oa boat ure sure
oo boot/look er corner


All the phase 3 sounds and how to say them.


Phase 4 

Phase 4 is a consolidation phase where no new phonemes are introduced but some new tricky words are. This phase also helps children to learn to read and spell bigger words. They think more about the syllables in words. 


Phase 5

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.


Grapheme Sample Word Grapheme Sample Word Grapheme Sample Word
ay crayon aw saw a_e snake
ea bead ey monkey e_e these
ou cloud ie pie i_e like
oy boy oe toe o_e bone
ew pew ue queue u_e cube
ew screw ue glue u_e flute
ir girl au haunted wh whale
ph phone        



All the phase 5 sounds and how to say them.


Phase 6 

In phase 6 children will learn and practice spelling more difficult words. In this phase we see the transition from phonics to spelling. 


Phonics runs alongside other teaching methods such as Guided Reading and Shared Reading to help children develop other vital reading skills and encourage a love of reading.


At Newhall Park Primary school we follow Letters and Sounds for phonics.  We also use Rapid Phonics as an intervention program for those children who do not meet the required standard in Year 1.


For more help with phonics in school please see you child's class teacher or our Phonics Co ordinator, Mrs Tobin.

Useful Videos and Games: