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At Beech Street we recognise the huge importance that phonics plays in teaching our young children to read and write. As the Early Years Lead, I am particularly passionate about phonics as it allows us to see a huge amount of progress in such a short space of time. To watch our young children start school with little phonic awareness and within a few months, be inquisitive about sounds and letters and even beginning to read and write words...It's amazing! 

As well as teaching discreet phonics lessons through the letters and sounds programme, we immerse our children in lots of different phonic activities throughout the day. We also make phonics an intrinsic part of our "Five a Day" commitment to reading 5 stories a day to our children in EYFS and Year 1, deliberately choosing books about sounds, rhyme or alliteration.                      

Implementation of the different phases of phonics

The table below shows how and when we implement the different stages of phonics and the main elements within each phase. Whilst it suggests which phase is taught in which year group, it is very much dependent on where the child is at within their reading and writing journey. 


Through phonics we aim to build children's speaking and listening skills as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven. The children’s learning includes developing letter and sound recognition, word building and word recognition as part of their phonic, spelling and handwriting development. During the lessons we also teach children to have phonemic awareness, aural discrimination of sounds and rhyme awareness when reading, writing and spelling.


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) 

 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) 

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 (Year One) 

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

Phase Five (Year One) 

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. 

Phonic Screening Check

At the end of year one, all the children take a compulsory phonic screening check. Click the image to the right for a video to hear about what the check involves and what it means for your child.

How to help at home

At the start of each phase, the child's teacher will send home a pack of resources that will enable you to help practice phonics with your child. This will include a sound mat (see above) from the specific phase they are being taught and a set of tricky words. Also, click any of the images below to access different websites and youtube videos which contain useful information for parents and carers, and great phonics games for your children.