Phonics and Spelling


From Nursery to Year 1 we teach phonics. This supports the children's spelling and reading. Phonics is taught in 5 phases, with certain phonemes (sounds) taught in each phase and tricky words (words which cannot be decoded using phonics knowledge) being taught alongside these. We follow the Letters and Sounds scheme, using Phonics Play to support this. Your child's class teacher will be able to tell you which phase of phonics your child is working on.

The children are taught how to segment (split words down into phonemes/sounds) and blend (say sounds together to make a word) to help them with spelling and reading.

It is important that children hear the correct pronunciation of each sound, in order to help them learn how to say and use it. When saying a sound, think how it sounds in a word. For example, f is said ‘fff’ like in fluff, not ‘fuh’. To hear the correct way of saying each sound, you may find it useful to watch the following video: - Phase 2 sounds - Phase 3 sounds


We follow the Essential Letters and Sounds Programme for phonics, which uses a consistent format to teach the phonic code that the children need to become fluent readers. 


Phase 1

Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in phase 2. The emphasis during phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.

Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects. Each aspect contains three strands: tuning in to sounds (auditory discrimination), listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing) and talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension).


Phase 2

In phase 2, letters and their sounds are introduced one at a time. A set of letters is taught each week, in the following sequence:

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: ss         Set 6: h, b, f, ff, l, ll


Within the phonics session, children are encouraged to use their knowledge of letter sounds to sound out words, blending and segmenting to read and spell simple CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words.For example, they will be encouraged to segment the word sat as s-a-t to read it, or to blend the sounds p-a-ss to write pass.

Alongside learning new phonemes, the following tricky words will be introduced in phase 2:

to, the, no, go, I, into, put, of, is, pull, as, his


Phase 3

When children are secure with the phonemes from phase 2 they will move on to phase 3. During phase 3 twenty five new graphemes (the written representation of sounds) are introduced, one at a time.

Set 7: j, v, w, x         Set 8: y, z, zz, qu,

Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng, nk

Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, ow, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er

During phase 3, children will also be introduced to letter names and will learn the 'alphabet song'. However, letter sounds will be used for reading and spelling.

Alongside learning new phonemes, the following tricky words will be introduced in phase 3:

he, she, buses, we, me, be, push, was, you, they, all, are, my, her, ball, tall, when, what


Phase 4

In phase 4, no new graphemes are introduced. The main aim of this phase is to consolidate the children's knowledge and to help them learn to read and spell words which have adjacent consonants, such as trap, string and milk.

During phase 4, the following tricky words are introduced:

said, have, like, so, do, some, come, were, there, little, one, when, out, what, children, love


Phase 5

 In phase 5, children will learn different ways of representing the same sound (phoneme). For example, they already know the 'ai' representation for /ai/, but they will now learn that this sound can be spelt as 'ay' or 'ae'. They will also learn alternative ways of pronouncing the same grapheme. For example, they will learn that 'ea' has different pronunciations, such as in tea, head and break.



From Year 2 to Year 6 we follow the 'No Nonsense Spelling' scheme. This scheme covers the National Curriculum objectives for spelling. Your child will be given spellings to learn each week, which will link to the teaching taking place in class.


Children must also learn the word list for their key stage. Click the links below for PDFs of the word lists for your child's key stage: