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Phonics Reception/ Year 1


As the children enter their reception year at Church Lench First School, they start their journey into becoming readers and writers. The first step along this new path is through the teaching of phonics. We teach phonics from the EYFS through to the end of Year 2. Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language. As well as using the skill of decoding sounds to help to read, understanding phonics will also help children know which letters/sounds to use when they are writing words.

We teach phonics using the most commonly used approach, synthetic phonics. This is where the teaching of reading in which phonemes (sounds) associated with particular graphemes (letters) are pronounced in isolation and blended together (synthesised). For example, children are taught to take a single-syllable word such as cat apart into its three letters, pronounce a phoneme for each letter in turn /k, æ, t/,  (c, a, t) and blend the phonemes together to form a word. We use a mixture of ‘Letters and Sounds’ and ‘Jolly Phonics’ to teach these phoneme-grapheme correspondences.

The teaching of phonics is split into ‘Phases’. On entry to school, most children are ready to start at Phase 2 which contains most of the single letter sounds and includes the teaching of high frequency words e.g. ‘and’ as well as ‘tricky words’ (where the word cannot be ‘sounded out’ accurately) such as ‘my’. By the end of their first term at school, the majority of children will have completed Phase 2 and will be beginning to read and write CVC words e.g. cat, dog. We begin Phase 3 teaching in the children’s second term. Phase 3 teaches children the remaining single letter sounds as well as new consonant (e.g. sh, th, ch) and vowel diagraphs (e.g. ai, ee, oo) while continuing to teach high frequency and tricky words. By the end of this period, children are becoming more independent in their reading and writing of simple sentences.

Children who have worked through Phase 2 and 3 and are confident in their skills will be moved onto Phase 4. This phase teaches no new sounds but aims to give children the increasing ability to segment and blend longer words that include consonant clusters e.g. sn, br, sp, dr and words that have a larger number of sounds. Some children who have progressed well through their phonics teaching will begin Phase 5 in their Reception Year. In Phases 5 and 6 (taught mainly in Year 1 and Year 2 respectively), children learn further new graphemes including more complex split diagraphs (a-e as in cake) as well as patterns of spelling and alternate pronunciations e.g. ‘ow’ in cow as well as ‘ow’ in snow. At this point, children are becoming confident, independent readers, able to access longer and more complex texts. Their spelling shows much more maturity at the end of Key Stage 1 having learnt spelling patterns as well as relying on phonetic sounds.

Our teaching of phonics strongly links to our school reading scheme. We have coloured book banded books that follow the progressive phonics teaching using a mixture of different schemes such as ‘Floppy’s phonics’, ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ and ‘Reading stars’. The book bands do have some overlap. Please see the information in the table below:





Coloured book band:

Phonics phase:

Lilac (EYFS)

Phase 2

Pink (EYFS)

Phase 2

Red (EYFS)

Phase 2/3

Yellow (EYFS)/Year 1

Phase 3/4

Blue Y1

Phase 4/5

Green Y1

Phase 5

Orange Y1

Phase 5

Turquoise Y1/2

Phase 5/6

Purple Y2

Phase 6

Gold Y2

Phase 6

White Y2

Phase 6