Home Page

Milford-on-Sea Church of England Primary School Academy Trust

We 'CARE' Courage, Aspire, Respect, Explore


Phases of Phonics


Phase 1

Phase One phonics concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase Two. The emphasis during this stage is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.
Phase One is divided into seven aspects:


1: To discriminate sound – environmental sounds

2: To discriminate sound – instrumental sounds

3. To discriminate sound – body percussion

4: Rhythm and rhyme

5. Alliteration

6. Voice sounds

7: Oral blending and segmenting


Each aspect is then broken down into three strands:

Tuning in to sounds (auditory discrimination),

Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing) 

Talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension)


Phase 2

When children start Phase Two, they will already have experience of a range of listening activities, involving songs, stories and rhymes. For example, they will generally be able to distinguish between speech sounds, blend and segment words orally, recognise rhyming words and suggest rhyming words.

The primary objective of this phase is to read and write 19 letters (see sound mat below), read and spell some simple words (for example; at, cat, it, pit), read two-syllable words (such as sunset) and begin to read simple captions. They will also learn to read some high-frequency ‘tricky’ words: I, no, the, to, go, into.



Phase 3

In Phase Three, children learn a further 25 graphemes, most of them comprising two letters (a 'digraph' - e.g. oa), so the children can represent each of about 42 phonemes by a grapheme.
Children become more confident at blending and segmenting words and reading captions



The children also learn to read some more tricky words (they also begin to learn to spell some of these words): 

he, she, we, me, be, you, are, her, was, all, they, my


Phase 4

This phase teaches children to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants. The children consolidate knowledge of learned graphemes by reading and spelling words containing adjacent consonants and polysyllabic words, such as belt, flag, skunk, string.



The children also learn to read some more tricky words (they also begin to learn to spell some of these words): 

said, have, like, so, do, some, come, little, one, were, there, what, when, out


Phase 5

Phase Five teaches a set of new graphemes, alternative pronunciations for graphemes already known and alternative spellings for phonemes, whilst broadening existing knowledge and helping the children become quicker at recognising and recalling graphemes for use in reading and spelling.

New graphemes and alternative pronunciations for know graphemes are introduced; for example, the children will already know ai as in rain, but now they will be introduced to ay as in day and a-e as in make.



More tricky / common words will be introduced, including: 

oh, Mrs, people, their, called, Mr, looked, asked, could


Phase 6

Phase Six phonics is taught throughout Year 2 and is dispersed throughout the KS1 Spelling Curriculum. It is useful to teach children these spelling rules from the outset, as these are essential for accurate spelling, particularly with regards to writing in the past tense which is common in story writing.

At this stage, children should know most of the common grapheme–phoneme correspondences (GPCs) (i.e. the sound letters make), they should be able to read familiar words automatically, decode other words quickly and spell words mostly phonetically accurately. Spelling usually lags behind reading, as it is more complex! 

During Phase Six, children become increasingly fluent readers and accurate spellers, using spelling guidelines to improve accuracy. For example, to recognise that the position of a phoneme in a word may rule out certain graphemes for that phoneme. Children also begin to use strategies for gaining independence, such as proofreading and use of dictionaries. They will learn less common spelling patterns, including w-a, w-or, al, ve, schwa ‘a’ and use spelling rules to spell prefixes, suffixes, contractions and homophones. 




A few free phonics websites


Phonics Play


Oxford Owl - Phonics made easy.


ICT games - A great selection of games that link well with games in Letters and Sounds.


Letters and Sounds 

A phase by phase guide to the phonics programme used in school.