At Our Lady of Lourdes we follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme for teaching phonics. We also use some ‘Jolly Phonics’ resources to supplement this. The Letters and Sounds programme is split into 6 phases.

In Foundation Stage, most children will complete phases 2-4 and in Key Stage 1 most children revise phase 4 and then begin phases 5 and 6. Below is a brief description of the key learning in each phase:

Phase 1

This phase concentrates on developing children’s speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.

Phase 2

The purpose of this phase 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 this phase many children should be able to read and spell some VC and CVC words.

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


Phase 3

The purpose of this phase is to teach another 25 graphemes, most of them compromising two letters (e.g. oa), so the children can represent each of about 42 phonemes by a grapheme.  Children will also continue to practise CVC blending and segmentation in this phase and will apply their knowledge of blending and segmenting to reading and spelling simple two-syllable words and captions.

Set 6 j   v   w   x
Set 7 y   z   zz   qu
Consonant digraphs ch  sh  th  ng
Vowel digraphs ai  ee  oa  oo  ar  or   ur  ow  oi  er
Vowel trigraphs igh  ear  air  ure


Phase 4

The purpose of this phase is to consolidate children’s knowledge of graphemes in reading and spelling words containing adjacent consonants and polysyllabic words.

Phase 5

The purpose of this phase is for children to broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for the graphemes they already know, where relevant.

Set 8 ay   ou   ie   ea
Set 9 oy   ir   ue   aw
Set 10 wh   ph   ew   oe   au
Set 11 a-e   e-e   i-e   o-e   u-e


Phase 6

During this phase, children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers. Children will be taught the past tense, investigating and learning how to add suffixes and the teaching of spelling long words.

Suffixes -s  -es  -ing  -ed 
-er  -est  -y
-ful  -en  -ment


Alongside phonics, your child will also learn by sight ‘tricky’ words such as ‘was’ that can’t be decoded using phonics.

Please don’t worry if words like ‘graphemes’ and ‘segmenting’ don’t mean anything to you when your child first starts school! As your child progresses through Foundation and Key Stage 1, there will be lots of chances for you to find out more about how phonics is taught, what the different phonics jargon means and, most importantly, how you can support your child with phonics. Your child will also bring home a sheet each week telling you what phonemes and tricky words they have been learning about in phonics sessions. Similarly, when your child starts Year 1 you will be given the chance to attend a transition meeting where you will be given lots of helpful information about how phonics is taught and how you can support your child. We also have an open-door policy so if you need advice about helping your child with phonics, just ask.

Phonics is taught every day in Foundation and Key Stage 1. In Foundation, your child will take part in guided reading sessions as part of a small group to help improve their reading fluency and comprehension. In Year 1 and 2, your child will continue to take part in guided reading sessions and will also read on a 1:1 basis with the class Teacher or Teaching Assistant.