At St Margaret’s at Hasbury, we teach phonics every day to all of our children (Nursery to Year 2). Both teachers and teaching assistants have been trained to teach phonics to a high standard. 


What is Phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and effectively. Our children are taught how to:

  • Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes

  • Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make- such as ‘ch’ or ‘ea’

  • Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.

"High quality phonics teaching gives children a solid base on which to build as they progress through school. Children who master the mechanics of reading are well-placed to go on to develop a love of reading." 

Department for Education

We follow Letter and Sounds programme, (government programme) which progresses the children through a series of 6 phonic phases. The phases are divided into the following groups

Phase 1: Nursery children are taught in groups
Phase 2: Nursery

Phase 2-4: Reception

Phase 5: Year 1

Phase 6: Year 2

Each child is given the provision that they specifically need irrespective of the year group that they are in. Classroom displays are used effectively to support children in their phonics throughout other areas of the curriculum. The table below outlines the content of each phonic phase

Helping Your Child With Phonics

Phonics works best when children are given plenty of encouragement and can gain a love of reading. Family members play a very important part in helping with this.

The following tips will help your child progress further through their phonics:

  • With all books, encourage your child to ‘sound out’ (segment and blend) unfamiliar words and then blend the sounds together from left to right rather than looking at the pictures to guess. Once your child has read an unfamiliar word you can talk about what it means and help him or her to follow the story. 

  • Try to make time to read with your child every day. Grandparents and older brothers or sisters can help, too. Encourage your child to blend the sounds all the way through a word. 

  • Word games like ‘I-spy’ can be a really enjoyable and fun way of teaching children about sounds and letters. Letting your child read words from your shopping list or signs around the Halesowen area also helps to practise phonics.

Phase 1

This phase starts in nursery and continues throughout all phases 2-6.

Children will: 

Show awareness of rhyme and alliteration, distinguishing between different sounds in the environment and phonemes, exploring and experimenting with sounds and words and discriminating speech sounds in words. Beginning to orally blend and segment phonemes.

NB: NO letter sounds are taught at this stage. Children need to develop their listening skills to distinguish between environmental and other sounds

Phase 2

Up to 6 weeks.  Nursery and Reception

Children will:

Use common consonants and vowels. 

Blend for reading and segmenting for spelling simple CVC (Consonant – Vowel – Consonant) words 

e.g. c-a-t.

Know that words are constructed from phonemes (sounds) and that phonemes are represented by graphemes (written letters).

Letter progression:
s, a, t, p, i, n, m, g, o, c, ck (clock), h, b, f, d, k, e, u, r ff (huff), l, ll (full)

Phase 3

Up to 12 weeks - in reception.

Children working within this phase will be working on knowing one grapheme for each of the 43 phonemes

Children will:

Read and spell CVC words using letters and short vowels.

Letter progression: j, v, w, x, y, z, zz (fizz), qu (quiz). Each of these sets is taught over the course of a week.

Read and spell CVC words using a wider range of letters, short vowels, some consonant digraphs and double letters.

Consonant digraphs (Sounds made up of 2 letters, the first being a consonant): ch (chip), sh (shop), th (that), ng (sing)

Read and spell a wide range of CVC words using all letters from phase 2 and less frequent consonant digraphs and some long vowel phonemes.

Graphemes: ear (hear) , air (fair), ure (pure), er (hammer), ar (car), or (torn), ur (turn), ow (cow), oi (coin), ai (train), ee (sheep), igh (night), oa (boat), oo (boot/look)

Phase 4

Up to 6 weeks - in reception

No new phonemes or graphemes are introduced in this phase. Children consolidate their knowledge of graphemes in reading and spelling words containing adjacent consonants (e.g. went: w-e-n-t) and polysyllabic words (words with more than one syllable).

Children will:

Blend adjacent consonants in words and applying this skill when reading unfamiliar texts.

Segment adjacent consonants in words and apply this in spelling.

Phase 5

Approximately 1 year. A child making expected progress will be working on this phase during Year 1. 

Children will broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know, where relevant.

Children will:

Read phonically decodable two-syllable and three-syllable words.

Use alternative ways of pronouncing and spelling the graphemes corresponding to the long vowel phonemes.

New graphemes for reading:
ay (day) ou (out) ie (tie) ea (eat) wh (when) ph (photo) ew (new) oe (toe) oy (boy) ir (girl) ue (blue) aw (saw) ey (honey) a-e (make) e-e (these) i-e (like) o-e (home) u-e (rule) au (Paul) 

Known graphemes for reading: alternative pronunciations will also be taught.

Phase 6

Glossary of Terms

Your child may come home and use the following terms:

  • CVC words: Words that consist of a consonant-vowel-consonant as in c-a-t and b-i-g

  • Phoneme: The smallest unit of sound in a word

  • Grapheme: A symbol of a phoneme, that is, a letter or group of letters representing a sound. There is always the same number of graphemes in a word as phonemes

  • Segmenting and blending: Segmenting and blending are reversible phonic skills. Segmenting consists of breaking words down into their constituent parts to spell. Blending consists of building words from their constituent phonemes to read

  • Split digraphs: A split digraph has a letter that splits, i.e. comes between, the two letters in the digraph as in make, where ‘k’ splits the digraph ‘ae’ which represents the phoneme /ai/

  • Vowel digraph: A phoneme that is made up of two graphemes, the first of which is a vowel as in ‘ai’ and ‘oy’

  • Consonant digraph: A phoneme that is made up of two graphemes, the first of which is a consonant as in ‘wh’ and ‘ng’.

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