Home / Curriculum / Phonics


English is a very tricky language! Despite having 26 letters in the alphabet, within the spoken language there are 44 phonemes (sounds) and these can be represented in the written language by over 200 graphemes (ways of writing the sound). This is our highly complex alphabetic code.

We use the popular and well-established Read Write Inc. as our phonics scheme. Like all phonics schemes, it teaches children the sounds in English, the letters that represent them, and how to form the letters when writing. Read Write Inc. Phonics includes reading books written using only the letters they have learnt at each level (and a small number of separately taught tricky words). The children will quickly feel confident and successful. Please click on their logo to access their ‘Parent’s Guide to Read Write Inc. Phonics.’

In Early Years and Key Stage 1, children are systematically taught the phonemes that enable us to read and then spell words. During phonics sessions, children are taught to identify all the grapheme-phoneme correspondences in a particular order beginning with s,a,t,p,i,n. They are taught to blend, where they say the sounds that make up a word and merge them together until they can hear what the word is – this is a vital skill of early reading. Children are also taught to segment, which is the opposite of blending, by saying the word and breaking it up into the correct phonemes – this skill is a key aspect for early spelling.

Is there an assessment?

Yes, there is a National Phonics Screening in Year 1 where the children have to read 20 real words and 20 ‘alien’ words. This is conducted in a very child-friendly way by the class teachers. At every parents evening you will be informed of your child’s progress in Phonics and at the end of Year 1 the school report will inform you if they have passed or not. If your child does not pass in Year 1 they will be given additional support throughout Year 2 to enable them to pass the next year. Further information can be found here.

What will my child learn this year?

Phases 1, 2 and 3 are taught within Reception. Phases 4 and 5 are taught in Year 1. All phases are then revisited as part of Year 2, alongside phase 6 to develop the children’s spelling understanding. From Year 2 on-wards the children will follow and complete the Read Write Inc spelling programme.

How do I know if my child is saying the sounds correctly?

It is important to enunciate the sounds correctly and try to encourage your child not to add on the /uh/ sound, for example saying /t/ not /tuh/. You can hear how to say each sound here.

Key Terminology


A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word.

Feel/watch how your mouth changes when you say a word, every time your mouth moves/changes shape you are saying a new phoneme, e.g. b-r-i-ck

There are 44 phonemes in the English language


Graphemes represent how a phoneme is spelt. Each grapheme is a unit of sound regardless of how many letters there are.

e.g. The word b-r-igh-t is made up of 4 phonemes; the igh phoneme is represented by 3 letters but only makes one phoneme.

A grapheme can represent more than one phoneme e.g. C = cat and city


Two letters, which makes 1 phoneme. e.g. duck

A consonant digraph contains two consonants

e.g. sh ck th ll

A vowel digraph contains at least one vowel

e.g. ai ee ar oy

Split Digraph

A digraph in which the two letters are not adjacent e.g. make

a-e is a unit of sound (digraph), it is being ‘split’ by the constant k.


Three letters, which make 1 phoneme. e.g. light

Oral blending

Hearing a series of spoken phonemes and merging them together to make a spoken word without corresponding to any graphemes (no text is needed). e.g. teacher says “b-u-s” children say “bus”

Blending (links to reading)

Recognising the letter sounds in a written word and merging them together in the order they are written to pronounce the word. e.g. c-u-p = cup

Segmenting (links to writing)

Identifying the individual phonemes in a spoken word and writing them down to form a word.