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Banks Methodist SchoolLearning Together with Resilience and Faith

Welcome toBanks Methodist SchoolLearning Together with Resilience and Faith


Phonics - Letters and Sounds


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.


At Banks Methodist we use the Letters and Sounds phonics programme which aims to build upon children's speaking and listening skills as well as preparing them for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by the age of seven. Letters and Sounds is split into 6 phases. 



What will my child learn this year?

Phases 1 , 2 and 3 are taught within Nursery and Reception. 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.



Overview of Letters and Sounds

Below is a chart showing the order that children will be taught the sounds



Phase 1

  • Listening to and for sounds.
  • Rhythm and rhyme
  • Alliteration

Phase 2

  • Sounds taught: s, a, t, p, I,n, m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r ,h, b ,f ,ff ,l ,ll , ss
  • Tricky words: the, to, go ,no,


Phase 3

  • Sounds taught: 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
  • Tricky words: no,  go,  I,  the,  to,  he,  she,  we,  me,  be,  was,  my,  you,  they, her,  all , are


Phase 4

  • Recap all previous sounds.
  • Teach reading and spelling tricky words: said,  so, he,  we , me,  be,  have,  like,  some,  come, was,  you,  were,

little,  one,  they,  all,  are , do,  when , out,  what,  my,  her

  • Read and write words with initial and/or final blends: st, nd, mp, nt, nk, ft, sk, lt, lp, tr, dr, gr, cr, br, fr, bl, fl, gl, pl, cl,

sl, sp, st, tw, sm, nch, shr, str, thr



Phase 5

  • Learn new phoneme zh
  • Teach 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
  • Teach reading words oh, their, people, Mr, Mrs, looked, called, asked, water, where, who, again, thought, through,

work, mouse, many, laughed, because, different, any, eyes, friends, once, please.

  • Teach spelling words said, so, have, like, some, were, there, oh, their, people, Mr, Mrs, looked, called, asked.
  • Teach alternative spellings for ch, j, m, n, r, s, z, u, i, ear, ar, air, or, ur, oo, ai, ee, igh, oa, y/oo, oo, sh


Phase 6

  • Understand and apply suffixes - ed, ing, ful, est, er, ment, ness, en, s, es
  • Understand the rules for adding ing, ed, er, est, ful, ly, y
  • Investigate how adding suffixes and prefixes changes words
  • Introduce the past tense


Phoneme- the smallest unit of speech-sounds which make up a word.

Grapheme- the written representation of sounds.

Tricky word- word which can’t be sounded out

Keywords- high frequency words

vc word- vowel consonant word (it, as)

cvc word- word made up of a consonant, vowel, consonant (cat, dog)

Initial sound- first sound in word






Below is a sound mat which includes all of the sounds that will be taught in phase 2 and phase 3.  There are also links to videos which demonstrate pronouncing the individual sounds.  It is important to enunciate the sounds correctly and to 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?




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.