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Greystoke Primary School

Icold Road Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0TP


In nursery and reception children are introduced to Phase 1 of the letters and sounds programme. Phase One supports the development of speaking and listening and awareness of sounds. Our aim is to teach your children the important basic elements of letters and sounds such as oral segmenting and blending of familiar words.


The purpose of Phase 2 is to teach at least 19 letters, and move children on from oral blending and segmentation to blending and segmenting with letters. By the end of the phase many children should be able to read some VC and CVC words and to spell them either using magnetic letters or by writing the letters on paper or on whiteboards. We use Jolly Phonics to implement letter/grapheme recognition and letter sounds/phonemes

Watch and sing along to the Jolly Phonics songs here


At Greystoke we follow the DFES Letters and Sounds phonics programme

Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children 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 starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.

There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance

Phase Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One 


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

(Reception) up to 6 weeks

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

(Reception) up to 12 weeks

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. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four

(Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

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)

Now we move on to the "complex code". 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.

Phase One - finding, listening and making sounds in the environment

Phase 1 - Exploring sounds all around us

Phase Two - Recognising, saying and writing letters through fun practical activities

Phonics Games and Activities

Activities to enjoy at home:

  • Play eye spy
  • Phonics hunt - find objects in the house beginning with __
  • Magnetic letters - build VC, CVC and HFW
  • Singing rhymes and songs
  • Making up silly alliterative sentences (Sammy snake slithered slowly through spaghetti)
  • Reading and talking about pictures in story books