Message sent from:


Phonics teaching is the teaching of the relationship between letters and sounds in English. Our alphabet is comprised of 26 letters which we call graphemes. However, there are 44 different sounds which we call phonemes. From this, letters can make different sounds and some sounds are made up of 1, 2 or 3 different combinations of letters. This can make our language seem quite complicated, as there is not one letter to one sound. 

In our school phonics teaching focusses on two areas - phonics knowledge and phonic skills. Phonics knowledge is about children knowing which letters and combinations of letters (graphemes), make which sounds (phonemes). Phonics skills are about teaching the children how to use their knowledge for reading and for writing. 

At our school, we use a number of strategies to help teach this but we follow the Letters and Sounds guidance from the Department of Education alongside a fantastic website called Phonics Play. From these, there is a systematic programme that ranges from phase 1 to phase 6 that builds on reading and spelling skills.

Please see below the attached PowerPoint from letters and sounds to explain the phases in more depth. 

Please click on this link to take you to phonics play

Nursery and EYFS

Children in Nursery should be taught Phase 1 though a differentiated approach within the setting on a daily basis. Staff will teach phase 2 to any children identified as secure at phase 1. 

Reception will be taught a high quality discrete phonics session daily as a whole class. They will also have a differentiated booster phonic session once a week. Phonics skills are embedded in writing and reading tasks in English sessions. During the apply section, the activities will be differentiated to ensure that all children are reaching their full potential within a challenging and supportive environment. Continuous provision and the outdoor learning environment in EYFS support children in closing the gap and consolidating their phonic knowledge. Phonics phase mats (see below) should be freely available in each area of learning and outdoors.

Embedded into the children's environment, here are some photos of what phonics looks like in EYFS


Key Stage 1

Children in Year 1 have access to high quality daily differentiated phonics sessions. The applied activities will be differentiated to ensure all children reach their full potential. The underlying aim of Year 1 should be to ensure all children have completed Phases 4 and 5 and be ready to begin Phase 6 upon entry into Year 2. They additionally have daily Phase 5 teaching in January to ensure they have plenty of practice in recognising ‘Alien’ or pseudo words, in readiness for the Phonic Screening Check and to give them the confidence to read any word. Phonics phase mats are freely available in all writing too. 

Children at Goldstone in Year 1 have extended phonics activites placed into their OWL (Our Wonderful Learning) time as an option to complete like in Foundation Stage free flow. 

Children in Year 2 continue to have access to high quality daily differentiated phonics lessons according to gaps three times a week ranging from phase 3-phase 6. For the other two days Year 2 follow a no nonsense spelling programme that teaches them phase 6.

Children aspire to read and write all the common exception words for Years 1 and 2 (see below) and we ask grown-ups at home to help practice with these.

Please see below the Common Exception words that we teach children to spell in KS1

Why don't you print these out for your fridge?

YR1 common exception words(1)
YR2 common exception words(1)

What does phonics look like in KS1?

Magnus and Sidney 2Magnus and Sidney 3PaddyPadraig (paddy) 2Valentina 2Valentina

Phonic phase mats - these are used throughout EYFS, KS1 and Year 3

We use these phonic mats below to help children understand what sound or spelling they need when they write a word. For example: The word "ship". Children would sound talk sh  i   p. In order to write this they can look at their sound mat and find sh for shoe, i for ink and p for parcel. This then aids them to correctly spell a word. If you would like to do any writing at home with your child e.g. write a recipe for a cake, recount of your weekend or write instructions then please print these sound mats out to help your child. 

Phase 2 Soundmat Image(1)Phase 4 Soundmats (1) image
Phase 3 soundmat imagePhase 4 Soundmat (2) image
Phase 5 soundmat image

What happens after the children know their sounds from Phase 2-5?

At Goldstone, when children are secure in their phonic knowledge of phase 1-5 we begin to teach the children alternative spellings for the sounds they know. This may be in Year 1 or Year 2 or not until Year 3. 

For example the sound "ai" in train has many different spellings 
"ay" in play
"a" in baby
"a-e" in snake
"eigh" in eighty

Throughout Year 3 the children move from learning phonics to learning spelling rules using the approach of a 'have a go' page where the children practise writing the word in 3 ways using the alternative sounds and try to recognise the correct spelling.

Please see below the different spellings for each sound that we teach. When your child is ready please print these out at home to reinforce this. 

Below are some examples of the Sound Families we teach at Goldstone. Please print these if your child would like to practice these.

My sound families2021-03-09 08_42_46-My sound families ks2.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (32-bit)
Hit enter to search