Phonics and Reading schemes at KS1

Phonics at St Bartholomew’s

Phonics is a method for teaching the reading and writing of the English language by developing learners’ phonemic awareness – the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate phonemes (sounds) in order to teach the correspondence between these sounds and the spelling patterns (graphemes) that represent them.

At St Bartholomew’s we follow a systematic approach to teaching phonics with timetabled daily phonics sessions from Reception to Year 2 following the Letters and Sounds programme. We ensure the teaching and learning of phonics is fun and child-centred. In Early Years we use Big Cat Phonics (a systematic synthetics phonics programme) and in both Reception and Key Stage 1 we use PhonicsPlay. There are lots of free activities for children and parents on their website:

The letter sounds taught are divided into Phonics Phases. In Reception children revisit Phase 1 (which they have often encountered at pre-school) and then they are taught Phases 2, 3 and 4.

Phase 1 happens at nursery, home or pre-school and continues throughout the primary years.

Aspect 1: Environmental sounds

Aspect 2: Instrumental sounds

Aspect 3: Body percussion

Aspect 4: Rhythm and Rhyme

Aspect 5: Alliteration

Aspect 6: Voice sounds – for example:

Make your voice go down a slide – wheee!

Make your voice bounce like a ball – boing, boing

Sound really disappointed – oh

Hiss like a snake – ssssss

Keep everyone quiet – shshshsh


Phase 2 happens in the Reception Class in the Autumn Term


The purpose of this phase is to teach at least 19 letters, and children start by

oral blending and segmenting. Oral blending and segmenting means sounding out words like d-o-g   aloud without seeing the word.


The next step is to blend and segment using letters, either written or magnetic.

By the end of the phase many children should be able to read some VC (vowel-consonant) and CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words, like at or duck and to spell them either using magnetic letters or by writing the letters on paper or on whiteboards.





s a t p  
i n m d  
g o c k  
ck e u r  
h b f  ff l  ll ss


They also need to learn by sight the high frequency words, is, it, in, at, and, the, to, no, go, I

Phase 3 happens in Reception in the Spring Term


The purpose of this phase is to teach another 2 sets of letters and consonant and vowel digraphs.  Children will learn to blend for reading and segment for spelling and letter formation.

j v w x y
zz qu ch sh th
ng ai ee igh oa
oo ar or ur ow
oi ear air ure er




They also need to learn by sight the high frequency words, no, go, I, the, to, he, she, we, me, be, was, my, you, they, her, all, are.


Phase 4 happens in Reception in the Summer Term


The purpose of this phase is to teach adjacent consonants like step, clap, strap, dress. The children also need to have the blending skills to read unknown and made up words, even if these do not make sense. These might be words like fot, keb, veen, quorg.


Children also have to know by sight the high frequency words said, so, he, she, we, me, be, have, like, some, come, was, you, were, there, little, one, they, all, are, do, when, out, what, my, her.

Phase 4 continues in Year One

Children move through Phase 5 and are beginning to enter Phase 6 by the end of the year.

Phase 6 is completed in Year 2 with a strong focus on spelling and grammar.




Year 1 phonics screening check


In September 2011 the Government introduced a statutory phonics screening check for all children in Year 1. The purpose of the phonics screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard.


Children who have not reached this level will get extra support in school to ensure they can improve their decoding skills. These pupils will retake the phonics screening check in Year 2.