An introduction to phonics for parents of Reception and Year 1

An introduction to phonics for
parents of Reception, Year 1 and 2
Phonics teaches children the link between
the written letter and the sound that the
written letter/s makes.
Children can use this knowledge to spell and
read words
How do we teach phonics in school?
Through a systematic teaching programme called Letters and Sounds.
Systematic – phonics is taught daily and the sounds are taught in a particular order.
There are 6 phases of phonics starting in nursery and working through year 2.
Nursery = Phase 1
Reception = Phase 2, 3, 4 (with phase 1 running alongside)
Year 1 = Phase 5
Year 2 = Phase 6
Phase 1
Taught in nursery
Provides the foundations for phase 2, 3 and 4 in reception
Is very much based on speaking and listening
Children are taught to:
•Be aware of sounds
•Listen and remember sounds – distinguish between sounds etc
•Talk about sounds.
These skills are taught through a focus on Environmental sounds (general everyday sounds around us)
Instrumental sounds (Musical instruments)
Body percussion (Clapping, stampinh etc)
Rhythm and Rhyme (Rhyming words, songs, stories)
Alliteration (Words beginning with the same sound, tongue twisters)
Voice sounds (Difference in voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting)
Phase 2
Starts in reception, although Phase 1 activities will run
alongside Phase 2.
This is the stage where children begin to learn the letters
names, the sound the letters make and how to write the letters.
Children learn to segment (break up a word into sounds)
and blend (blend the sounds back together) using the sounds they
have learnt.
Phase 2 sounds and examples of
Set 1: s, a, t, p
at, as, sat, pat, tap
Set 2: i, n, m, d
pin, sit, pan, tin
Set 3: g, o, c, k
gap, dog, cot, cap
Set 4: ck, e, u, r
Set 5: h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss
tick, duck, rag
hit, bin, fin, kiss
Phase 3
Completes the teaching of all the letters of the alphabet.
Children begin to learn sounds that are represented by two
letters - digraphs (sh, th, ee) and three letter tri-graphs (igh, ear)
Continue to practise blending and segmenting words which
also include the phase 3 sounds.
Phase 3 sounds and words.
Set 6: j, v, w, x
Set 7: y, z, zz, qu
Two/three letters, one sound
ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee, ight, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er
Examples of phase 3 words:
jam, wish, sheep, night, ring, cow, van
Phase 4
Consolidation of phase 2 and 3.
No new sounds learnt
Practise blending and segmenting with longer words such as
‘flag’ (with 4 sounds)
Examples of phase 4 words:
brush, crack, bring, brown
High frequency words (HF)
High frequency words are the most common words that children
encounter in their early reading. There are 100 in total. The 100 words
can be split into the phases depending on which sounds they are made
up of.
Phase 2 HF words contain the sounds from Phase 2 (for example it, in,
is, an, off)
Phase 3 HF words contain the sounds from Phase 3 (for example will,
that, this, then)
Tricky words
These are the words that we cannot segment. If we do, the word doesn’t
sound like it should.
Example: ‘the’ – if this word was read as it sounded put th-eh, it would
be wrong.
Unfortunately there is no easy way to learn these tricky words. Regular
practise at reading and writing these words, along with explanations of
why the words are ‘tricky’ is what helps children to remember them and
eventually read them as the whole word, rather than try to sound out
the word.
How can you help at home?
Learning the letter sounds:
Eye spy – for sounds
Sound hunt – look for letters around us, say the sound.
Flash cards/sound mats
Reading school reading books daily
Robot talk words
Magnetic letters – say a word, children find the letter to represent
the sounds in the word
Reading words – encourage children to sound out the words
Robot talk a word, children blend back together
I’m thinking of a word….with the sounds m,a,t – children say the
Magnetic letters – say the sounds, push the letters together and
Other games suggestions
Eye Spy – Lay out the cards and say ‘I spy with my little eye….the word he/she/that etc
Put the flash cards on the stairs; say the word as you stand on the step
Word hunt – Hide the cards around the room, children go and hunt for the words. Ask them ‘what word
have you found?’
Quick read – Put the flash cards face down in a pile, turn one over and children read the word. Time them
– how fast can they read all the words?
Im thinking of a word – tell the children ‘I’m thinking of a word in your pile that begins with the letter
sound ‘w’ – which word am I thinking of?’ Children find the card with the matching letter then read it
Useful websites

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