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At The Pines, we follow Letters and Sounds.  This is an approach to phonics teaching written and produced by the Department of Education. 

When teaching children to link sounds to letters, we use Jolly Phonic images and actions.  By using this multi-sensory approach, all learning styles are catered for.

When teaching phonics, we use technical, subject specific language;


Phoneme - the sound a letter/s make

Grapheme - the way a sound is represented in writing

Digraph - 2 letters that make one sound e.g. sh in shop

Trigraph - 3 letters that make one sound e.g. ear in beard

Split Digraph - where 2 letters make one sound, but a letter is in between them e.g. a-e in cake

Blend - the skill putting sounds together to say a word e.g. c/u/p is cup

Segment - the skill of separating a word into it's separate sounds e.g. pot is p/o/t


Letters and Sounds is split into 6 Phases which are taught from Nursery to Year 2.  The usual progression for children is as follows;


Phase 1 - Nursery

Phase 2 - Reception

Phase 3 - Reception

Phase 4 - Reception

Phase 5 - Year 1

Phase 6 - Year 2


Some children may be working at a Phase outside of their year group, depending on their needs and next steps for learning.


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.  Phase 1 is divided into 7 Aspects;


Aspect 1: General Sound Discrimination (environmental)

Aspect 2: General Sound Discrimination (instrumental sounds)

Aspect 3: General Sound Discrimination (body percussion)

Aspect 4: Rhythm and Rhyme

Aspect 5: Alliteration 

Aspect 6: Voice Sounds

Aspect 7: Oral Blending and Segmenting 


In Phase 2, letters and their sounds are introduced.  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: h b f ff l ll ss


Children learn to blend (read) and segment (write) cv and cvc words and captions.


Children also learn the tricky (non-decodable words): the, to, no, go & I


Over the twelve weeks which Phase 3 is expected to last, twenty-five new graphemes are introduced;


Set 6: j v w x

Set 7: y z zz qu

Consonant digraphs: ch sh th ng

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


Children also learn letter names by singing the alphabet song.


More tricky words (which can't yet be decoded) are introduced: he, she, we, me, be, was, you, they, all, are, my & her


In Phase 4, no new graphemes are introduced.  The main aim of this phase is to support children to read and spell words with adjacent consonants e.g. stop, jump, train, roast


The following, non-decodable, tricky words are introduced; said, have, like, so, do, some, come, were, there, little, one, when, out & what.


In Phase 5, children learn new graphemes for phonemes: ay, ou, ie, ea, o-e, oy, ir, ue, wh, ph, aw, ew, oe, au, zh, ey.


They learn to read and write words with split digraphs: a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e & u-e


They learn alternative spellings for phonemes and some general spelling rules e.g. ai in the middle of rain and ay at the end of stay.


They learn more non-decodable tricky words: oh, their, people, Mr, Mrs, looked, called, asked & could.


In Phase 6, the main aim for children is to develop their fluency as a reader and increase their accuracy when spelling.  Children will be able to sight read a large number of words.


Children also learn spelling rules for adding suffixes and prefixes to root words: -ing, -ed, -er, -est, -ful, -ly and -y.  


During Phase 6, children will also learn some rarer graphemes for phonemes.


Some useful links to support phonics learning at home:

Recognition and pronunciation of phonemes

A guide for parents and carers.

Blending for reading

A guide for parents and carers.

Segmenting for writing

A guide for parents and carers.

If you have any comments or questions linked to your child's phonics learning, please feel free to get in touch with myself, Mrs Lansley (Phonics Lead).