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 decode and blend words for reading and writing.


At Newburgh we follow the 'Letters and Sounds' teaching approach in Nursery and Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) phonics scheme in Reception and Year 1.


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 Learning Goals. 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 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 23 graphemes and for children to decode and blend words. By the end of this phase children should be able to read some C.V.C (consonant, vowel, consonant) words and to spell them. During this phase children will be introduced to some harder to read and spell 'challenge' words which must be learned as sight vocabulary.


Letter progression (one set per week). There will be consolidation weeks where all graphemes are revised and consolidated:


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 


Phase 3

Children entering Phase 3 will learn a further 29 graphemes, most of them comprising of two letters (e.g.  oa), and some comprising of three letters (e.g.  igh). In this phase children will extend their sounding out and blending skills. During this phase children will be introduced to more harder to read and spell 'challenge' words.


Letter progression (one set per week). There will be consolidation weeks where graphemes are revised and consolidated.


Set 1:   j   v   w   x

Set 2:   y   zz   qu   ch

Set 3:   sh   th   ng   nk

Set 4:   ai   ee   igh   oa

Set 5:   es

Set 6:   oo

Set 7:   ar   ur   oo   or

Set 8:   ow   oi   ear   air

Set 9:   ure   er   ow   



Phase 4

In this phase children will consolidate all previous graphemes taught. Children will learn to blend adjacent consonants alongside extending sounding out and blending skills.


Phase 5

Children will learn further graphemes and alternative spellings for previously taught graphemes. Further harder to read and spell 'challenge' words will also be taught and children will revise all previously taught graphemes.



Set 1:   ay - day   ou - cloud   ie - tie   ea - team

Set 2:   oy - boy   ir - girl   ue - clue   aw - saw

Set 3:   wh - wheel   ph - elephant   ew - few   oe - toe

Set 4:   au - haunt   ey - key   a-e - cake   e-e - even

Set 5:   i-e - shine   o-e - home   u-e - tune   c - city

Set 6:   y - baby   al - walk

Set 7:   a - acorn   ey - they   ea - great   eigh - weight   a - father   e - he   i - find   y - by

Set 8:   o - go   a - was   u - push  u - music   ch - school   ch - chef   ea - head

Set 9:   or - world   ear - learn   ou - soup   oul - shoulder   ie - brief   ve - have   y - gym

Set 10:   are - care   ere - there   ear - pear   tch - catch

Set 11:   o - brother

Set 12:   g - gem   ge - fringe   dge - bridge   st - listen

Set 13:   ce - fence   se - house   gn - sign   kn - knee   wr - wrap   mb - lamb

Set 14:   se - cheese   ze - freeze   eer - cheer   ere - here   ti - patient   ti - station

Set 15:   al - half   augh - caught   ss - session   si - vision   ti - scrumptious   ci - delicious


By the end of Year 1 most children should know all of the grapheme/phoneme correspondences and should be able to read many words using a range of approaches;

  • Reading words automatically.
  • Decoding words quickly and silently because their blending and segmenting skills are well established.
  • 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.