Phonics is the science of decoding words by recognising the symbols (graphemes) we use to represent sounds (phonemes). Sometimes several letters can make just one sound (ar, igh,) and sometimes a letter can make more than one sound (think how many different sounds can be represented by 'a'!

Phonics teaching develops the habits and rules which produce skillful and adaptable speakers, readers and writers. We teach Phonics at Norwood throughout Reception and Key Stage One , run interventions for gaps in knowledge in Key Stage 2 and it continues to be a useful strategy for spelling and reading right into Year 6.

Contents and Expectations of Phonics teaching at Norwood

At Norwood Primary School, all children in YR and Y1 receive a daily phonics lesson. During Y2 it is expected that most pupils will begin Y2 secure at phases 1-5. However, it is still good practice for a daily phonics session to be delivered in Y2. Our planning, for these lessons, is based on the DfE Letters and Sounds document. This document breaks the teaching of phonics in to a six phase teaching programme. Phase One concentrates on activities to promote speaking and listening skills, phonological awareness and oral blending and segmenting. Phases 2 – 6 focus on high quality phonic work, providing advice and activities to ensure that by the end of Key Stage 1 children develop fluent word reading skills and have good foundations in spelling.

Phase 1

Phase 1 falls largely within the Communication and Language Area of Learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Children will have experienced many activities within phase 1 if they attended a pre-school or nursery setting. At Norwood, we continue with phase 1 during the first half of the Autumn term, as part of our continuous provision. Phase 1 covers the following aspects;

Environmental sounds

Instrumental sounds

Body percussion

Rhythm and rhyme


Voice sounds

Oral blending and segmenting

These aspects are designed to help children:

Listen attentively

Enlarge their vocabulary

Speak confidently

Discriminate phonemes

Reproduce audibly the phonemes they hear, in order, all through the word

Use sound-talk to segment words into phonemes

Phase 2

At Norwood we aim to begin this phase in Reception as soon as the children are full-time. This phase can last up to 6 weeks, longer if necessary. The purpose of this phase is to teach at least 19 letters, and move children on from oral blending and segmenting with letters. By the end of the phase many children should be able to read some VC (vowel consonant) and CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words and to spell them either using magnetic letters or by writing them. During the phase they will be introduced to reading two-syllable words and simple captions. They will also learn to read some high-frequency ‘tricky’ words: the, to, go, no and into

Letter progression:

Set 1: s a t p

Set 2: i n m d

Set 3: g o c k

Set 4: ck e u r

Set 5: h b f,ff l,ll ss

Phase 3

Most children will move on to phase 3 in the Spring term in Reception. This phase can last up to 12 weeks). Any child who is not secure at phase 2, will receive targeted support to ensure they are keeping up with their peers. The purpose of phase 3 is to teach another 25 graphemes (written letter sound), most of them comprising two letters (e.g. oa), so that the children can represent each of about 42 phonemes (oral letter sound) by a grapheme. Children also continue to practise CVC blending and segmenting to read and spell simple two-syllable words and captions. They will learn letter names during this phase, learn to read more ‘tricky’ words, and also begin to learn how to spell some of these words.

Letter progression:

Set 6: j v w x

Set 7: y z,zz qu

Graphemes taught:

ch sh th ng

ai ee igh oa

oo ar or ur

ow oi er ur

ear air ure

Tricky words taught:

He, me, she, we, be, was, my, you, her, they, all, are

Phase 4

Reception children will be taught this phase during the summer term. At the start of year 1 we will begin with a recap of this phase, as well as revision of phases 2 and 3. This phase lasts between 4-6 weeks. The purpose of this phase is to consolidate children’s knowledge of graphemes in reading and spelling words containing adjacent consonants.By the end of phase 4 children should:

  • give the sound when shown any phase 2 or 3 grapheme
  • find any phase 2 or 3 grapheme from a display when given the sound
  • be able to blend and read words containing adjacent consonants, e.g. trip
  • be able to segment and spell words containing adjacent consonants
  • be able to read the tricky words, some, one, said, come, do, so, were, when, have, there, out, like, little, what
  • be able to spell the tricky words, he, she, we, me, be, was, my, you, her, they, all, are
  • write each letter correctly

Phase 5

Phase 5 is taught throughout year 1, with some children recapping earlier phases if they were not secure.  The purpose of this phase is for the children to broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and the graphemes that they already know, where relevant.

Graphemes taught:

ay ou ie ea

oy ir ue aw

wh p hew oe au

a-e  e-e  i-e  o-e- u-e (split digraphs)

By the end of phase 5 children should:

  • give the sound when shown any grapheme that has been taught
  • for any given sound, write the common graphemes
  • apply phonic knowledge and skills as the prime approach to reading and spelling unfamiliar words that are not completely decodable
  • read and spell phonically decodable two or three syllable words
  • read automatically all the words in the list of 100 high frequency words
  • accurately spell most of the words in the list of 100 high-frequency words.
  • form each letter correctly

Phase 6

This phase is taught throughout Year 2 and concentrates on spelling skills. Any child who is not secure at any of the earlier phases, and did not pass the phonics screening assessment in year1, will receive further teaching and support with these phases, also.

During this phase, children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers. At phase 6 the children move from learning to read, to reading to learn. Children read for information and for pleasure. The following aspects of spelling will be taught throughout this phase;

  • Introducing and teaching the past tense
  • Investigating and learning how to add suffixes
  • Teaching the spelling of long words
  • Finding and learning the difficult bits in words
  • Children gaining independence in their reading and writing

Helping your child at home

Two simple habits which will help your child:-

When you practice phonics or help your child read a decodable book:

1) Say the sound the letter makes, not its name ('mmm', not 'Em').

2) Don't add any extra voicing to the sound (e.g. for M say mmmm, not 'muh'

There is lots more information on the sites below, including how to pronounce all the letter sounds that the children are taught;


We assess as we go, regularly looking to see if pupils are applying their phonics skills in their reading and writing. We also assess formally, every half-term to check on the children's ability to recognise every phoneme taught, read and write words containing the phonemes taught, and recognise the 'tricky' words taught. Following our assessments, we ensure every child is being given targeted support for their stage of development in their phonics skills. This is done via a range of simple interventions completed in class, as well as ensuring that their reading books match their phonic skills precisely.

The Phonics Screening Check

Children complete a word-reading check at the end of Year 1, so that parents can be confident that their children are being taught to read successfully. Children read 40 words, a mixture of real and pseudo (nonsense) words containing the letter sounds taught throughout Reception and Year 1. It takes between two and five minutes, and is completed individually with their class teacher. If they do not manage to read 32 of the words, they will be given additional support and then repeat the check at the end of Year 2. The 'pass' mark of 32 is subject to change by the government. Schools will be informed of this years pass mark sometime during June.

The screening check for this year will take place in the week commencing Monday 6th June 2022. We politely request that parents ensure that children in Year 1, and those in Year 2 who are retaking the assessment, are in school during the administration of the Phonics Screening Check. The results of the screening check will be shared with parents alongside their end of year report.


Phonics Policy

Please see document below.





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Head Teacher: Lee Dumbell
Norwood Crescent
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