Phonics

Phonics at Biggin

Phonics is taught from FS1 (Nursery) through to Year 2 and is taught discretely within Literacy. Children have daily 20 minute sessions. We follow the Letters and Sounds government document to support the teaching of phonics and Jolly Phonics. There are 6 phonics phases which the children work through at their own pace and phonics progresses onto learning spelling rules.

Below you will find what children will learn during each phase. Your child should know what phase they are on but if they are unsure please speak to your child’s teacher.

Year 1 Phonics Screening

The national phonics screening test was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils.  It is a short, statutory assessment to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.  It aims to identify the children who need extra help so that they can be given support by school to improve their reading skills. The phonics test is usually taken in June.

Please find lots of information about the phonics stages on this page and useful websites that you can use to help your child at home.

Please click here to download some more information about what is included on the phonics screening test.


What is Phonics?

Phonics is all about using……

Learning phonics will help your child to become a good reader and writer.

Phonic Terminology

  • Phoneme: The smallest units of sound that are found within a word e.g. c
  • Grapheme: The spelling of the sound e.g. th
  • Diagraph: Two letters that make one sound when read e.g. ee
  • Trigraph: Three letters that make one sound e.g igh
  • CVC Words: CVC stands for consonant, vowel, consonant e.g cat
  • Segmenting: Breaking up a word into sounds e.g s-ee-n
  • Blending: Putting the sounds together to read a word
  • Split Diagraph: Is a two letter sound broken up by a constant e.g i_e in the word like
  • Tricky Words: Words that cannot easily be decoded
  • Common Exception Words: Similar to tricky words, introduced in the new curriculum

Letters and Sounds Phases

Phase 1

Getting ready for phonics!

  1. Tuning into sounds
  2. Listening and remembering sounds
  3. Talking about sounds –
    • Music and movement
    • Rhythm and rhyme
    • Sound effects
    • Speaking and listening skills

Phase 2

Learning phonemes to read and write simple words!

Children will learn their first 19 phonemes:

  • Set 1:  s  a  t  p   
  • Set 2:  i   n   m  d
  • Set 3:  g  o  c  k   
  • Set 4:  ck (as in duck)  e  u  r
  • Set 5:  h  b  l  f  ff (as in puff)  ll (as in hill)  ss (as in hiss)

They will use these phonemes to read and spell simple “consonant-vowel-consonant” (CVC) words:

  • sat, tap, dig, duck, rug, puff, hill, hiss – All these words contain 3 phonemes.

Sounds should be articulated clearly and precisely.

Tricky words in Phase 2

In each phase there are a few words that need to be learned by sight as they cannot be blended or segmented because they are irregular. The Phase 2 words are:


Phase 3

Learning the long vowel phonemes!

Children will enter phase 3 once they know the first 19 phonemes and can blend and segment to read and spell CVC words. They will learn another 26 phonemes:

  • j, v, w, x, y, z, zz, qu
  • ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er

They will use these phonemes (and the ones from Phase 2) to read and spell a variety of words e.g. boat, boot, look, farm, fork, burn, town, coin, dear, fair, sure

Tricky words in Phase 3


Phase 4

Introducing consonant clusters: reading and spelling words with four or more phonemes!

Children move into phase 4 when they know all the phonemes from phases 2 and 3 and can use them to read and spell simple words (blending to read and segmenting to spell).

Phase 4 doesn’t introduce any new phonemes, it focuses on reading and spelling longer words with the phonemes they already know. These words have consonant clusters:

  • at the beginning: spot, trip, clap, green, clown
  • or at the end: tent, mend, damp, burnt
  • or at the beginning and end:  trust, spendtwist

Tricky words in Phase 4


Phase 5

Introducing new graphemes and alternative pronunciations of graphemes.

New graphemes for reading:

  • ay, ou, ie, ea, oy, ir, ue, aw, wh, ph, ew, oe, au,
  • a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e (Split Diagraphs)

Alternative pronunciations of graphemes (the same grapheme can represent more than one phoneme):

  • Fin/find  
  • hot/cold
  • cat/cent
  • got/giant
  • but/put
  • cow/blow
  • tie/field
  • eat/bread
  • farmer/her
  • hat/what
  • yes/by/very
  • chin/school/chef
  • out/shoulder/could/you

Tricky words in Phase 5


Phase 6

Phase 6 focuses on spellings and learning rules for spelling alternatives. Children look at syllables, base words, analogy and mnemonics. Children will also learn suffix spelling rules and about past tense, rules for adding ‘ing’ and irregular verbs.

The aim of phase 6 is for children to become more fluent readers and more accurate spellers.

Useful websites for helping your child with phonics at home (click on any to be directed to the site)

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