This site uses cookies to store information on your computer Please review our cookie policy



 Phonics at Townfield Primary School

'To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.'

Victor Hugh

See the source image


Phonics Intent

We follow the National Curriculum and more specifically the guidance set out in ‘Letters and Sounds’ to teach phonics sessions. The teachers plan lessons using a synthetic approach to teaching ‘pure sounds’ and the skills of segmenting and blending. This equips children with skills that enable them access reading and writing and to tackle unfamiliar words.  A pace and progression document has been developed for the end of each year to show what pupils should know and can do. As the children move to the next year group, the next teacher then knows where to start. 

Phonics is taught though a highly structured programme of daily lessons from nursery Y2 using a variety of fun activities. Expectations are high for all, including those who have SEN and/or disabilities and those who are disadvantaged. Knowledge and skills are constantly revisited and refreshed to ensure that they become embedded.

Summative assessments take place at of each term or phase, whichever is sooner. Each child is presented with their own assessment booklet in Nursery and this booklet follows them as they move through KS1. Subsequent interventions are planned for those children needing extra support. The statutory screening check at the end of Y1 confirms that children have learned phonic decoding to an age appropriate standard. Children who do not meet the required standard for the check in Y1 enter again in Y2 and receive additional intervention support to help them reach the standard. As children enter KS2 provision is made for those children still requiring phonic development.

To enable lots of opportunities for children to practice their phonic skills at home, parent partnership is vital. Parent workshops take place in EYFS and KS1.Teachers share videos, and send home resources, games and activities and parents are encouraged to practice sounds, practice blending and segmenting words and learn by sight tricky words that are sent home.

Our core values: resilience, respect and responsibility are continually developed through all learning experiences. 


Phonics Phases

Phase One

Before they can learn to read, children need to develop their listening and visual skills.

A crucial listening skill is phonological awareness, the ability to discriminate different sounds such as the different endings of the words "cut" and "cup." This develops naturally as children learn to listen to the sounds around them. Music, poems and nursery rhymes and everyday sounds are all key elements in developing this skill.

The visual skills which help children to acquire letter knowledge include shape recognition, and the ability to visually sort and classify objects.

Children generally develop most of these skills naturally through their interactions with parents and caregivers. Their reception year teacher will help them continue developing these skills before introducing them to a formal reading programme.


Here are some photographs of our children in Nursery Class exploring and playing with sounds




Phase Two

Once they have acquired the necessary basic skills, children are gradually introduced to their first graphemes and the sounds they represent. These may be single letters, such as s and n, or pairs of letters, such as ck. These first graphemes consistently represent the same sound. Children are encouraged to blend the graphemes together in order to sound out words (as in our previous example of s + a + m = sam) as soon as they have learnt enough graphemes to do so.


In our Reception class these children are using and applying their knowledge of Phase 2 sounds to read and write

Well done Reception!



Phase Three

Children are introduced to an additional 25 graphemes. These consist of both single letters and digraphs, groups of letters (generally pairs) which represent a single sound. They learn consonant digraphs such as "sh" and "th" first, and then vowel digraphs such as "oa" and "oo".

This is also the stage at which children begin to learn sight words. These are common words that cannot always be sounded out according to the synthetic phonics method. These include words such as she, they, and you among others.


These children are using their knowledge of phase 3 sounds to read questions and decide whether they can answer

'yes' or 'no' to each one


These children are reading a range of real and psudo (nonsense) words and are sorting them accordingly.

They are using their phonic knowledge to read the words which include phase 3 sounds and include digraphs and trigraphs



Phase Four

At this stage children practice the skills they have learnt and learn to blend groups of consonants such as tr, str and lk. They also continue to learn more sight words. 

These children are playing snakes and ladders and reading Phase 4 words


These children are reading a range of real and psudo (nonsense) words and are sorting them accordingly.

They are using their phonic knowledge to read the words which include Phase 4 sounds and include digraphs and trigraphs


We are matching captions to pictures. The children are reading using a range of Phase 3 sounds and knowledge of Phase 4 words

Phase Five

Once children can read words automatically without having to sound them out, they learn more vowel digraphs and different ways to write the same sound. For example, the words wail, way and whale all show different ways of representing the same ay sound. They also learn alternative pronunciations for the same graphemes, such as the ea in tea, head and break. They also continue adding sight words to their repertoire.


Phase Six
At this stage pupils are able to read familiar words automatically, and decode most new words silently without having to sound them out aloud, although they may need to sound out complex unfamiliar words. The goal at this stage is for children to improve their reading fluency by reading a wide variety of material, both fiction and non-fiction, to develop their spelling accuracy and writing skill.


Please see the attached document 'Progression and Pace' in Phonics so that you can visualise the different phases your child will be taught. 


Progression & Phase - Phase 1

Progression & Phase - Phase 2

Information for Parents / Carers

Below is a link to an excellent video which explains clearly and simply how to support your children in learning to read with phonics. The website  (parent section) has lots of advice in the form of videos and animations and also you can access lots of free ebooks to help with reading at home. 

Oxford Owl - Parents Advice

This website can help to ensure that you are helping your child to pronounce the phoenemes correctly.  

Correct Phoneme Pronunciation - Parents Advice

This is a super game to support our phonics first approach to reading and is ideal to play on Ipads, Iphone and Ipod Touch (the PC version is free!)

Teach Your Monster to Read - First Phonics

See the source image

Overview of Phonics Progression

There are documents attached that will provide further information on the Overview of Phonics Progression from Phase 1 to Phase 6 and National Curriculum requirements for Year 1 and Year 2. Please see attached the documents to provide further infomation. 

Please also see Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 5 sound mats which you can use to help your child practise their sounds at home. 

Phonics Phase 2 Sound Mat

Phonics Phase 3Sound Mat

Phonics Phase 5 Sound Mat


Attached is a list of Tricky Words that Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will need to be able to read first and then spell independently. These words will be stuck into the back of your child's reading record and will be highlighted each half term, once words are read by sight.

Activities and ideas on how to help your child at home

Attached is a series of links and activities for Phase 2 - Phase 5. Please use the links to download the documents for the required phase and print the activities as many times as you like.

Reception children should use Phase 2, 3 and 4 documents . 

Year 1 children should use Phase 3,4 and 5 documents.

Phonics Screening Check

Each year, all children in Year 1, in all schools, must take the Phonics Screening Check. Some children in Year 2 are also required to take this screening check either because they did not take it in Year 1 or becuase their Year 1 score did not meet the required standard.  The check usually happens in June each year.

For 2020 / 2021 academic year only, schools will be required to administer a past version of the phonics screening check to all Year 2 pupils during the second half of 2020 Autumn Term.

Y2 children who meet the expected standard in the Autumn check will not

be required to complete any further statutory assessments in phonics.

Y2 pupils who do not meet the expected standard in the Autumn Check

will be expected to take the statutory check in June 2021.

The check will be kept as low key and comfortable as possible for the children and will provide important information about their early reading development. 

We hold a meeting each year to explain the basics of the screening check before it happens so please look out for the date. At the meeting we will show you an example of the kind of words your child will need to read and give examples of how you can support your child at home before the screening takes place. 

For more information the following link will take you to a website which explains things in more detail.


Extra Resources to help support in the teaching of Phonics  

Please find attached more resources to help support your child in their Phoncs development. 

Phonics resources for Parents

Phonics Screening Test Papers

Phonics Milestone Documents


Get in Touch

Townfield Primary School

Townfield Lane, Prenton, Wirral, CH43 2LH

T: 0151 652 8498


Student Login