Letters and sounds – Phonics

Welcome to our Phonics help page!

This page should have all the answers you are looking for about how to say each sound, which terminology to use and what is taught when. If you have any questions about anything at all, please speak to Mrs Tighe, Miss Cross or your child’s class teacher.


What is Phonics?

Phonics consists of teaching the skills of segmenting and blending, the alphabetic code and an understanding of how this is used in reading and spelling. Simply put, it is hearing the sounds in a word and writing them down to spell it correctly. When reading, it is sounding out a word and sticking the sounds back together to read the whole word.

Isn’t there a test?

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. Parent briefings on the Phonics check and Key Stage 1 tests are available through the Spring and Summer terms – please see the calendar/ events page.

What will my child learn this year?

Phases 1 , 2 and 3 are taught within Year R. 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. This year we have hosted successful parent workshops on phonics where you will have had the opportunity to take part in a session alongside your child.  Thank you to those who attended. Further opportunities to work alongside your child in Maths are being offered by popular request in the Summer term.

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

Following parent feedback we have provided a helpful video below to help you and your child at home. In the video you will see the Jolly Phonics action sheet and a list of simple words containing the focus sound. You will also be able to hear Mrs Tighe saying the sound correctly so turn the volume up! 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/. Why not join in and say the phonemes (sounds) together?

Phase 2

s a t p i n m d g o c k e u r h b f l

Phase 3

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

Please note that not all phonemes (sounds) in Phase 3 have an attached Jolly Phonics action.

Phase 4

In Phase 4 no new phonemes (sounds) are introduced to the children. Instead, they practise combining the graphemes they already know into new, longer combinations. For example, sounding out and spelling words like scrap and stretch. These words use a combination of vowels (a e i o u) and consonants (all other letters) which can be represented like this:

CVC = Consonant Vowel Consonant (sat)

CVCC = Consonant Vowel Consonant Consonant (taps)

CVCCC = Consonant Vowel Consonant Consonant Consonant (lifts)

Phase 5

ay ou ie ea oy ir ue ue aw wh wh ph ew ew oe au ey a_e e_e i_e o_e u_e

There are no Jolly Phonics actions for the Phase 5 sounds. Some of the digraphs (2 letters that make 1 sound e.g. ew, wh) can make different sounds depending on which word they are in (e.g. clue, venue). Both will be listed on one page together with each sound being said aloud to help you.

Is there any more information I might have missed?

Please find below the latest information leaflet containing key information about each phonics phase and the powerpoint from our phonics information for parents session.



I’m not sure about the terminology of Phonics.


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 diagraph contains two consonants

e.g.          sh             ck             th             ll

A vowel diagraph contains at least one vowel

e.g.          ai              ee            ar              oy

Split Diagraph

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

a-e is a unit of sound (diagraph)- 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.

Is there anything I can do at home to help?

To ensure your child is regularly applying their Phonics skills at home, please ensure that you complete the daily reading challenge so your child can earn as many badges as possible for regular reading (see letters page). It will also be helpful to practise reading and spelling the key words contained in each week’s learning letter (see year group page). Below, please find useful links to other games and activities to support your child at home with phonics.

My question hasn’t been answered – what should I do?

Please speak to your child’s class teacher or Mrs Tighe so we can help you and your child feel confident about Phonics.