How We Teach Phonics


From Nursery until the end of Year Two, children have a daily discrete phonics lesson.  We use the Letters and Sounds programme.  We teach using the mastery approach, with the expectation that all children will progress.  For this reason, we teach whole class with no setting groups.


Children spend the initial few weeks settling into Nursery, learning the routines.  Once the class are settled, the children enjoy a 10 minute very practical phonics session every day.  Throughout the year, Nursery work through Phase One of the Letters and Sounds programme.  This phase develops and builds upon the children’s speaking and listening skills.  It helps to develop their ability to concentrate, hear and discriminate between sounds.  This lays the foundation for the phonics learning the children will experience in Reception.


In Reception, the children have a 20-minute discrete phonics session every day.  For the first few weeks, as the children are settling into the new routines of the Reception class, they revise Phase One of the Letters and Sounds programme.  For the rest of the Reception year, they work through Phase Two to Phase Four.  Each phase contains a set of phonemes for the children to learn to read and spell.  The expectation is that the children will be able to apply their growing phonic knowledge to sounding out words in books to read, and sounding out words to spell as they independently write sentences.


October to December

January to May

June to July

Phase One

Phase Two

Phase Three

Phase Four


Our expectation is that children will keep up with the phases as the class progress through them.  Additional support will be given to children at other times of the day to help them to keep up with their class.

For children who are learning very quickly, we give them plenty of opportunities to apply their growing knowledge in reading and writing. 

Key Stage One

Children continue to have a 20 minute discrete phonics session every day, building on their learning from the EYFS. 

Year One complete Phase Five of the Letters and Sounds programme. 

Year Two complete Phase Six.



The following information is from the Letters and Sounds website:


Phonic Knowledge and Skills

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) up to 6 weeks

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) up to 12 weeks 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 (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

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 (Throughout Year 1) 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.



Useful links

Further information on the Letters and Sounds programme can be found here:

You can find useful materials to print off and use here:

There are some engaging games here: