Your browser doesn't support CSS Grid Layout. Unfortunately, you won't be able to see the examples.
Beecroft Primary School

The Teaching of Phonics

We want our children to become fluent and engaged readers with a love of reading. Reading is taught through repetitive, systematic synthetic phonics and the development of language comprehension through carefully chosen, language-rich texts.

Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It teaches children the relationship between the sounds they can hear and say (phonemes) and the written sounds (graphemes). We call this ‘Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence’ (GPC.) Children are taught to blend the sounds of letters together to read words (c-a-t = cat). Children are also taught to read common, non-decodable ‘harder to read and spell’ words by sight such as was, my, the.

The teaching of phonics begins in Nursery and continues throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. We teach phonics in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 using the systematic, synthetic phonics scheme, Essential Letters and Sounds.

Reception and Key Stage 1 teach whole-class phonics twice daily; the main lesson in the morning and a shorter, revision lesson in the afternoon. Phonics is also incorporated into lessons across the curriculum, throughout the school day.

At the end of year 1, children are asked to demonstrate their phonics knowledge in the Phonics Screening Check. Within this assessment children are asked to read a combination of real and alien (made up) words.

Phonics Phases

Using the Essential Letters and Sounds phonics scheme, teachers follow a clear term by term progression of skills. GPC’s and harder to read and spell words are taught and reviewed systematically, with rigour and repetition.

Phonics is taught through a series of phases.


Phase 1 is covered in Nursery and focuses on seven aspects to develop speaking and listening skills:

  • environmental sounds
  • instrumental sounds
  • body percussion
  • rhythm and rhyme
  • alliteration
  • voice sounds
  • oral blending and segmenting

Phase 2 letters and their sounds, such as s-a-t-p, are gradually introduced from the spring term.


Phases 2 and 3 are taught in Reception during the autumn and spring term. A range of letters and their sounds are taught, gradually increasing in difficulty to two letter sounds (digraphs- ch chip) and three letter sounds (trigraphs- ear fear).

Phases 4 and 5 are then focussed on in the summer term with continual revision of previous phases. In Phase 4, children learn to read and spell words which have adjacent consonants such as trap, string, milk. In Phase 5, children learn sounds with alternative spellings- ai, ay, a-e.

Key Stage 1

In Key Stage 1, children continue to focus on Phase 5 and alternative spellings for previously taught sounds with revision of Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 4.

Decodable Books

Phonetically decodable books are sent home weekly for children to read and are carefully matched to the child’s phonic knowledge and ability. Parents are expected to listen to their child read at least three times a week and record progress in their child’s reading diary. The children also read the decodable books throughout the week in school through guided reading groups and individual reading sessions. Children are provided with a range of texts including fiction, non-fiction and traditional tales.


Download Essential Letters And Sounds Parent Presentation

Essential Letters And Sounds Phase 2
Essential Letters And Sounds Phase 3