At John Henry Newman Academy we teach phonics by following the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme of phonics teaching. Within Letters and sounds there are six overlapping phases as set out below:


Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One (Nursery/Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two


Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three


The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions.

Phase Four


No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five

(Throughout Year 1)

Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six

(Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.


Children will progress through the phases at different rates, however this is a guide as to when the children will be taught each phase.

In Reception ‘Jolly phonics’ is used alongside ‘Letters and Sounds’ as this teaches children a song and action to help them remember each sound. Look up Jolly Phonics on YouTube to find all the songs.

More information about each phase can be found below. Here are some key terms that you may come across:

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

Grapheme- the written representation of sounds.

Digraph – two letters that make one sound.

Trigraph – three letters that make one sound.

Segment – to break a word down into its separate sounds.

Blend – to put the sounds together to make a word.

Tricky word - a word which cannot be sounded out

VC word - a word made up of a vowel and consonant (it, as)

CVC word - a word made up of a consonant, vowel, consonant. These can be sounds made up of more than one letter. (cat, shop, wait)


Phase 1

Phase 1 activities are arranged under the following seven aspects:

  •          Aspect 1: General sound discrimination – environmental sounds.
  •          Aspect 2: General sound discrimination – instrumental sounds.
  •          Aspect 3: General sound discrimination – body percussion.
  •          Aspect 4: Rhythm and rhyme.
  •          Aspect 5: Alliteration.
  •          Aspect 6: Voice sounds.
  •          Aspect 7: Oral blending and segmenting.

This phase is an important phase as it gives children the foundations on which to build upon. It is designed to help children.

  •          Listen attentively;
  •          Enlarge their vocabulary;
  •          Speak confidently to adults and other children;
  •          Discriminate phonemes;
  •          Reproduce audibly the phonemes they hear, in order, all through the word;
  •          Use sound-talk to segment words into phonemes.


Phase 2

In Phase 2, letters and their sounds are introduced one at a time, in the following sequence:

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

The children will begin to learn to blend the sounds together in order to read words. They will also begin to segment the sounds to be able to spell. This will begin with simple VC and CVC words such as: it, pen, sat.





Children will also learn to read some ‘tricky’ words.


Phase 3

In Phase 3 another 25 graphemes are introduced, most of them comprising of two letters. These are taught one at time.

Set 6: j, v, w, x

Set 7: y, z, zz, qu

Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng

Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er

During this phase children will continue to practice blending and segmenting CVC words and apply their knowledge to reading and spelling simple two-syllable words and captions.

Children will learn to read some more ‘tricky’ words:














Letter names will also be introduced and the spelling of the Phase two ‘tricky’ words.

Phase 4

In Phase 4 children consolidate their knowledge of graphemes taught in phase 2 and 3. No new sounds are taught.

Children are taught how to read and spell longer words using the graphemes taught so far. Here are some examples of the types of words children are taught:

CVCC words: went, milk, shelf, roast.

CCVC words: from, plum, clown, train.

CCVCC words: crisp, drank, crunch, shrink.

CCCVC words: spring, string, street, scrap.

Children will learn to read and write more complex sentences and will learn to read some more ‘tricky’ words:
















The spelling of the Phase three ‘tricky’ words will also be taught.

Phase 5

In Phase 5 children will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know. When spelling words children will learn to choose the appropriate graphemes to represent phonemes.

ay - day

oy - boy

wh - when

a-e - make

ou - out

ir - girl

ph - photo

e-e – these

ie - tie

ue - blue

ew - new

i-e – like

ea - eat

aw - saw

oe - toe

o-e – home



au - paul

u-e rule

New Graphemes:


Children will learn more ‘Tricky’ words:










They will also be taught how to write the phase four ‘tricky’ words.

Phase 6

Children should be able to read all of the sounds from the previous phases.

In spelling children are introduced to the adding of suffixes and how to spell longer words.  Throughout the phase children are encouraged to develop strategies for learning spellings.

They should move on to recognising the next 200 high frequency words.

Ideas for home:

  •          Eye spy with my little eye something beginning with…
  •          Writing letters/sounds in different media such as mud and bubbles in the bath.
  •          Sound out a word at the end of a sentence E.g. Can you get your b-a-g / c-oa-t?
  •          Read magazines, comics, signs and labels together. Point out tricky words.
  •          Encourage independent writing such as shopping lists, postcards, invitations and cards.

We have also found various Phonics activities for you and your child to try together, please click on the links below and explore the sites.


Please take a look at the "Guide to Phonics" booklet below for Key Stage 1 and print these flash cards. If you do not have access to a printer, please pop in to see us and we can print any resources for you.