The Weatheralls Primary School

Phonics Teaching

At Kennett primary School, from the Early Years Foundation Stage through to Year 2 the skill of reading and writing letters and words is taught through synthetic and systematic phonics lessons which follow the Department for Education (DfE) Letters and Sounds Programme.  

For a complete look at the DfE Letters and Sounds planning programme you can click on this picture.

Here is also a comprehensive guide which explains this programme in more detail, click on the image!

Alongside our structured programme, phonics is taught in a completely interactive and multi-sensory way using many games and resources to enhance this teaching. For example, during a child's time in the EYFS the children learn actions and songs linked to  'Jolly Phonics' which is a fun and child centred approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics.

With actions for each of the 42 letter sounds, this multi-sensory method is very motivating for children and teachers, who can see their students achieve. Click on the Jolly Phonics picture for the actions!

This is a guide to 'Jolly Learning' which also offers useful advice to help your child at home.

Another very useful tool that offers interactive computer games and printable resources that the children access in school and you can also try at home is the fun interactive website

Within the teaching of decoding words the children will also come across many 'Tricky words'. These are those words which cannot be sounded out correctly using the 42 phonemes (sounds).  The only way these words can be read and spelt correctly is by learning them and having plenty of practise. At Kennett we call these words 'tricky troll words' as they try to trick us but we will not let them! We have to train our brains to remember them.  

Click on this picture for a range of tricky words the children will encounter.


What is the phonics screening check in Year 1?

The national phonics screening check was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils. It is a short, statutory assessment to ensure that children are making sufficient progress in their phonics skills to read words and will be on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning.

The check consists of a list of 40 words, half real words and half nonsense words, the nonsense words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have.

At Kennett, from the start children are being prepared for this check through fun games such as 'Buried Treasure' which you can find on the Phonics Play website or make yourself using real sand! These games show a 'nonsense' word and a 'real' word which the child attempts to decode and then they decide to throw in the bin or the treasure chest.  In the EYFS we call these words 'Beegu alien words'.  This links to the story 'Beegu by Alexis Deacon' and makes this learning more meaningful for the children - it is a way for the baby alien to communicate. 

.An outline of each teaching phase is shown in the table below.

Phase 1 


  • Show awareness of rhyme and alliteration
  • Distinguish between different sounds in the environment and phonemes
  • Explore and experiment with sounds and words and discriminate speech sounds in words
  • Begin to orally blend and segment phonemes

Phase 2


  • Use common consonants and vowels. Blending for reading and segmenting for spelling simple CVC words
  • Know that words are constructed from phonemes and that phonemes are represented by graphemes
  • Letter progression

Phase 3


  • Read and spell a wide range of CVC words using all letters and less frequent consonant digraphs and some long vowel phonemes
  • Learning further graphemes / trigraphs
  • Read and spell CVC words using a wider range of letters, short vowels, some consonant digraphs and consonant clusters
  • Read and spell CVC words using letters and short vowels
  • Further letter progression

Phase 4


  • Segment consonant clusters in words and apply this in spelling
  • Blend consonant clusters / adjacent consonants in words applying this skill with reading unfamiliar texts

Phase 5

Year 1

  • Read phonically decodable two-syllable and three-syllable words
  • Use alternative ways of pronouncing and spelling the graphemes corresponding to the long vowel phonemes
  • Spell complex words using phonically plausible attempts

Phase 6

Year 2

  • Recognise phonic irregularities and become more secure with less common grapheme-phoneme correspondences
  • Apply phonic skills and knowledge to recognise and spell an increasing number of complex words


Children apply their phonics skills they have learnt through the love and enjoyment of books which ultimately allows children to access information independently.

 Our aims are to ensure that phonics teaching promotes confidence and positive attitudes to reading at home and at school.  

Through delivering high quality phonics teaching from the beginning and ensuring that children continue to apply these skills across the entire curriculum our high expectations is for all children to progress in their learning of phonics and spelling throughout the school.


Glossary of terms in Phonics learning

  • Phoneme - The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 42-44 phonemes in English (it depends on different accents). Phonemes can be put together to make words.
  • Grapheme - A way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g ough
  • GPC - This is short for Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence. Knowing a GPC means being able to match a phoneme to a grapheme and vice versa.
  • Digraph - A grapheme containing two letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).
  • Trigraph - A grapheme containing three letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).
  • Oral Blending - This involves hearing phonemes and being able to merge them together to make a word. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to blend written words.
  • Blending- This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word. This is the basis of reading.
  • Oral Segmenting - This is the act of hearing a whole word and then splitting it up into the phonemes that make it. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to segment words to spell them.
  • Segmenting - This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order. This is the basis of spelling.