Phonics Overview


At Newburgh C.E. School, phonics is taught on a daily basis from Nursery to Year 2, however it may continue to be taught across school to ensure that all children receive a good understanding of phonics to support their reading. Children will learn different phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letters), to enable them to segment and blend words for reading.


At Newburgh we follow the 'Letters and Sounds' teaching approach which has six phases:


Phase 1

Children start this phase as they enter into Nursery. Phase 1 falls largely within the Communication, Language and Literacy area of the Early Years Foundation Stage. It supports children in their ability to listen attentively, enlarge their vocabulary,speak confidently and discriminate phonemes. Phase 1 is arranged into seven aspects which focus on, general sound discrimination, environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting.


Phase 2

Children start Phase 2 as they enter Reception. The purpose of this phase is to teach 19 letters and move children on from oral blending and segmentation to blending and segmentation with letters. By the end of this phase children should be able to read some C.V.C (consonant, vowel, consonant) words and to spell them using magnetic letters or by writing the letters they need to make words. During this phase children will be introduced to some "tricky" words which must be learned as sight vocabulary.


Letter progression (one set per week)


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


Phase 3

Children entering Phase 3 will know around 19 letters and will be able to blend phonemes to read C.V.C words and segment C.V.C words to spell. The purpose of this phase is to teach another 25 graphemes, most of them comprising of two letters (e.g. oa), and some comprising of three letters (e.g. igh). The aim here is that children will be able to represent 42 phonemes (sounds) by a grapheme (written letter/combination of letters). In this phase children will learn letter names and will be introduced to more tricky words.


Graphemes            Sample words                 Grapheme                    Sample words

ch                              chip                                      ar                                  farm

sh                              shop                                     or                                  for

th                              thin/then                              ur                                  hurt

ng                             ring                                        ow                                 cow

ai                              rain                                        oi                                   coin

ee                             feet                                        ear                                 dear

igh                            night                                      air                                  fair

oa                             boat                                       ure                                 sure

oo                             boot/look                              er                                   corner


Phase 4

Children entering Phase 4 will be able to represent each of the 42 phonemes by a grapheme, and will be able to blend and segment C.V.C words. They will know letter names and will be able to read and spell some tricky words. The pupose of this phase is to consolidate children's knowledge of language and word patterns.


Phase 5

This phase is taught throughout Year 1. In this phase, children broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They also learn new graphemes they already know. Children will become quicker at recognising high frequency and tricky words and will read and spell these correctly.


New graphemes for reading:

ay day           oy boy                wh when                 a-e make

ou out           ir girl                  ph photo                 e-e these

ie tie              ue blue              ew new                    i-e like

ea eat            aw saw              oe toe                      o-e home 

                                                 au Paul                    u-e rule


Phase 6

This phase is taught throughout Year 2. By the beginning of Phase 6 children should know most of the grapheme/phoneme correspondence and should be able to read hundreds of words through three approaches:

  1. Reading words automatically.
  2. Decoding words quickly and silently because their blending and segmenting routine is now well established.
  3. Decoding them aloud.


Phonics Screening Check

Each year, children in Year 1 will take a Phonics Screening Test to assess their phonic knowledge. This takes place in school during the month of June. Children who do not achieve the required standard in the test will be re-assessed again at the same time in Year 2.


Our Phonics Screening Powerpoint gives more information about the Phonics Screening statutory assessment.