At St John’s we use Letters and Sounds as a basis for teaching phonics to our children. We have been fortunate to have the support from the English Hub based at St John Vianney Primary School in Blackpool. This has provided funding for us to purchase new guided reading books matched to phonic phases, a plethora of phonic resources to provide consistency within KS1 and training for staff on the delivery of phonics and guided reading. This has had an impact on raising standards in phonics and reading and this year (2020/2021) 79% of our Year 2 children passed the phonics screening which was delayed from June 2020 due to COVID.


Phonics Teaching

Our phonic lessons and small groups follow the format of :

  • Revise – Previous phonemes are looked at again
  • Teach – eg a new phoneme, how to spot it in a word,
  • Practise – reading and writing words together through a game modelled by the teacher.
  • Apply – children read and write words or sentences independently.


This helps to embed learning and provide children with the basic tools needed for reading.

The information below shows a summary of each phase and when it is taught.


Reception -Term 1

Phase 1

Early phonics teaching is usually done in pre-school and nursery. We recap this at the beginning of Reception as it focuses on listening skills, vocabulary and speaking skills which provide the foundations for future language development.

Children are taught about:

  • Environmental sounds
  • Instrumental sounds
  • Body percussion (e.g. clapping and stamping)
  • Rhythm and rhyme
  • Alliteration eg words beginning with the same sound eg Sammy’s six snakes.
  • Voice sounds
  • Oral blending and segmenting (e.g. hearing that d-o-g makes ‘dog’)


Reception - Term 2

Phase 2

In Phase 2, children begin to learn the sounds that letters make (phonemes). St John’s use their own short songs to help learn these, some of which are taken from Jolly Phonics.


By the end of Phase 2 children should be able to read some vowel-consonant (VC) and consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words, and to spell them out. Oral blending and segmenting is still used regularly to model blending together before children do it independently. They also learn some high frequency ‘tricky words’.

Reception - Term 2 /Term 3

Phase 3

Phase 3 introduces children to the remaining, more difficult and/or less commonly used phonemes. They are mainly made up of two letters such as /ch/, /ar/, /ow/ and /ee/ which we call digraphs and some three letter phonemes such as /air/,/ear/ which are trigraphs.

St John’s have devised their own simple phrases and actions to help children remember these new phonemes.

Phase 3 is taught for around 12 weeks. By the end, children  should be able to say the sound made by most, or all, Phase 2 and 3 graphemes (ie the way the phoneme is written down), blend and read CVC words made from these graphemes, (oral blending and segmenting is still used regularly to model blending together before children do it independently), read more new tricky words and write letters correctly when given an example to copy.

Year 1 - Term 1

Phase 3 recap

Although our aim is to start Phase 4 straight away in Year 1 Phase 3 is often needed as a starting point after the Summer Holidays and recapped over the first half term to revisit prior knowledge and provide a solid base on which to build.


Year 1 - Term 1

Phase 4

In Phase 4 phonics, children will, among other things:

  • Practise reading and spelling CVCC . Eg milk, tent or CVCC words Eg crab, twin
  • These words may include phase 3 phonemes Eg .toast, start
  • They get more complex and include CCVCC words Eg crust, blink.
  • They may also contain multi syllable words eg giftbox, handbag
  • Practise reading and spelling high frequency words.


Children should now be blending more confidently to work out new words. They should also be able to write every letter, mostly correctly.


Year 1 - Term 2 and 3

Phase 5

Phase 5 starts introducing alternative spellings for sounds, like /ee/    Eg   /ea/    or /ey/

Children learn new graphemes  and alternative pronunciations for these: for example, learning that the grapheme ‘ow’ makes a different sound in ‘snow’ and ‘cow’. 

They become quicker at blending, and are encouraged to try to do it ‘ in their head’ if they are able.

They learn about split digraphs such as the i-e in ‘bike.’

They’ll start to choose the right graphemes when spelling, and will learn more tricky words.

St John’s have devised their own simple phrases and actions to help children remember these graphemes as far a split digraphs.

By the end of Year 1, children should be able to:

  • Say the sound for any grapheme they are shown#
  • Write the common graphemes for any given sound (e.g. ‘e,’ ‘ee,’ ‘ie,’ ‘ea’)
  • Use their phonics knowledge to read and spell unfamiliar words
  • Form letters correctly

At the end of Year 1, all children are given a Phonics Screening Check to ensure they have mastered the appropriate knowledge.


Year 2

Phase 6

In Year 2, elements of Phase 6 are covered which coincide with the Year 2 spelling curriculum.


We try to stick to the structure shown above, however this may depend on the abilities in the year group. Groups of children may repeat phases/ remain on them longer or go at a slower pace if needed. This will be taught by a TA within the phonics session, and often refreshed with individuals at another point in the day. All phonic sounds are revisited and recapped often throughout KS1.



Children who did not pass the phonics screening at Year 1 will continue to receive phonics teaching in Year 2. They will be retested at the end of Year 2. Children who do not pass will continue to have phonics intervention. This may be using a scheme such as Fast Track Phonics or an individualised programme to suit the child.