Phases of Phonics

The Letters and Sounds framework is a phonics framework used in lots of School around the UK. You can download the document here

There are 6 phases within the framework running from Phase 1 in pre-school to Phase 6 generally in Year 2.

I’ve created a brief outline of the phases below.

Phase 1

This phase starts in pre-school but should run alongside all the phases. Your child will take part in listening and rhyming games, play games with alliteration, identify words that start with the same sound and build up to being able to listen to sounds in words and orally blend them together, for example you say the sounds m-a-t and they blend those sounds together to make the words ‘mat’.

Phase 2

This phase generally starts in Reception (4 years old) and children are taught all the sounds that each letter of the alphabet makes. It’s important that you use the ‘pure sound’ when saying the sounds as this provides your child with the best opportunity to be able to blend those sounds together. If you visit the Facebook page there is a video of me pronouncing the phonemes for Phase 2 and 3. See here and here

The letters are taught in particular sets within Phase 2. This is so that once they know just Set 1 they can begin to blend those sounds together to make words. Just by using the Set 1 sounds you can make the words at, pat, sat, tap

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

Tricky Words: I, to, no, go, the, into

Children will take part in games where they practice identifying these letters and sounds, and become skilled at blending and segmenting simple CVC words and captions.

Phase 3

Children are taught the sounds that digraphs (two letters that make one sound) and trigraphs (three letters that make one sound) make. Lots of practice again with blending and segmenting words with these graphemes in and reading and writing sentences.

Set 6: j, v, w, x

Set 7: y, z, zz, qu

Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng

Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er

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

Phase 4

No new graphemes are taught within this phase but it is just as important as all the rest. Children recap a lot of the graphemes taught in Phase 3 and really hone their blending and segmenting skills. During this phase children will practice reading words with adjacent consonants. These are two consonants that make two separate sounds. This is to avoid mistakes in writing. Often children will not ‘sound out’ words with adjacent consonants properly and will write ‘wet’ for ‘went’ or ‘fog’ for ‘frog as they haven’t segmented the words carefully enough. They will also continue to learn some tricky words during this phase.

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

Phase 5

Phase 5 is a very big phase and generally covers the whole of Year 1 (6-7 years old). They will learn that different graphemes can be represented by the same sounds, for example ‘ai’ and ‘ay, and that different phonemes can be represented by the same grapheme, for example the ‘ea’ in ‘tea’ and the ‘ea’ in ‘bread. They will also learn 5 split digraphs. These are digraphs, for example ‘ie’ that have been split and a consonant has been placed in the middle (like, time, pine). The 5 split digraphs taught are:
a_e like in cake
i_e like in time
o_e like in home
e_e like in theme
u_e like in tube

Tricky Words: oh, Mrs, people, their, called, Mr, looked, asked, could

Phase 6

Children become more fluent in their reading and more accurate in their spelling. They learn spelling rules for adding suffixes and add prefixes to words.

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