Belle Vue Primary & Nursery School

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At Belle Vue we believe that phonics should be taught in a systematic way within lessons that are engaging, interactive and enjoyable for all of our children.  Learning phonics is an essential skill used in reading and writing. The roots of reading and writing can be found in phonics and our children’s ability to make links between spoken and written language.  Being well equipped with phonic understanding and strategies to decode and access the world around them, allows our children to experience growth, contributing to their successes in reading and writing.

What is phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching your child to read and write by helping them to hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another.

Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words

In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:

  • GPCs: They are taught GPCs. This stands for grapheme phoneme correspondences. This simply means that they are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p.
  • Blending: Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.
  • Segmenting: Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.

Phonic Phases

At Belle Vue Primary, we use a systematic phonics programme called Letters and Sounds. This is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. Children are taught within the phases that best matches their developing skills. This is regularly assessed by staff and therefore children may move within groups depending on their confidence and ability to apply skills taught.

Letters & Sounds Phase Approximate Teaching Time Scale.

Phonics Teaching

Tricky Words

Phase 1

Throughout Nursery and Reception

This phase supports the importance of speaking and listening and develops children’s discrimination of sounds, including letter sounds.

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.

Each aspect contains three strands: Tuning in to sounds (auditory discrimination), Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing) and Talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension).

These activities  are intended to continue throughout the different phases to build the children’s  will confidence in their phonic knowledge and skills.


Phase 2

6 weeks

Children are taught the Phase 2 phonemes in the following order alongside the written grapheme


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


Children to be taught to orally blend and segment CVC words using the phase 2 phonemes

the, to, I, no, go


Phase 3


12 weeks

Set 6 – j, v, w, x

Set 7 – y, z, zz, qu (last of Letters and Sounds ‘sets’)

Consonant digraphs:

- sh, th, ch, ng

Vowel digraphs and trigraphs:

 - ai, ee, long oo, short oo

 - oa, ar, or, igh

- ur, ow, oi, ear

 - er, air, ure

This completes the teaching of the alphabet and moves on to sounds represented by more than one letter. The children will learn letter names and how to read and spell some tricky words

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

Phase 4

4 – 6 weeks

The children learn to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants o Children to revise and recall all Phase 2 and 3 phonemes.  Children to read and write CCVC and CVCC words.

said, so, have, like, some, come, were, there, little, one, do, when, out, what

Phase 5

Throughout Year 1

The children broaden their knowledge of sounds for use in reading and spelling. They will begin to build word-specific knowledge of the spellings of words.

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

oh, their, people, Mr, Mrs, looked, called, asked

Phase 6

Throughout Year 2 and beyond

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


Read Write Inc. Phonics Mnemonics

Although we are not a Read Write Inc. school, to support the teaching of phonics, we use Read Write Inc. Phonics mnemonics. These mnemonics are rhymes that are easily remembered and give a small bank of words (linked to the sounds) that the children can read and spell.

A copy of Phase 3 and Phase 5 rhymes will be shared with you via your child’s class teacher.

For further information click here

Assessment of Phonics

Progress in phonics is continually reviewed to ensure that children access work at an appropriate level and their needs in phonics are being met.

Within EYFS and  Key Stage 1, assessment of phonics against the Letters and Sounds phases is carried out on a regular basis or when a child completes a phase (whichever is sooner).

During the Spring term, children in Year 1 complete assessment where they are asked to read a mixture of real words and pseudo-words.

A statutory phonics screening check is carried out in June of Year 1. The purpose of the screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age appropriate standard.
The phonics screening check contains 40 words divided into two sections of 20 words. Both sections contain a mixture of real words and pseudo-words.

Children who do not meet the required standard for the check in Year 1 will enter again in Year 2.

How can parents help at home?

There are many engaging activities and games that you can enjoy playing with your child at home.
You will receive regular updates from your class teacher to find out more about your child’s next steps in phonics and how you can help at home.

Enjoy reading and completing a phonics activity together on a regular basis. Reception and Year 1 children receive phonics books weekly. You will find at the back of the book tips and ideas for you to work through.

One of the best ways to support your child’s understanding of phonics is to share traditional nursery rhymes and stories and talking together about the words that rhyme.

Encourage your child to read the 'tricky words'. Tricky words contain letters that don't represent their normal sounds and these are taught separately. Children can use their phonics to help them read part of the words, but tricky parts will need to be learned by sight.

Resources to support home learning

There are a range of online resources that provide fun and engaging games and activities for children to complete with you at home.

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