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Phonics at Fairmeadows


In Foundation One children begin to learn about sounds. The children learn to:

  • Tune into sounds,
  • Listen to and remember sounds,
  • Talk about sounds.

There are lots of opportunities for the children to develop good speaking and listening skills, identify and distinguish everyday sounds, play with sounds and rhyme, and share quality reading materials in large and small groups though big and small books and online. This is know as 'Phase One'.


In Foundation Two that early phonics knowledge is built on. At Fairmeadows we use 'Letters and Sounds' as a basis for our phonics teaching. In September most children are ready to begin working at Phase 2 of Letters and Sounds; 'they will have experienced a wealth of listening activities, they will be able to distinguish between speech sounds and many will be able to blend and segment words orally.

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 words (it, at, on, up) and some CVC words (man, pot, sit, cup, pen). They will also be taught to read some 'tricky words'; the, to, go, no.

They will then work through 'Phase Three'. This is where children begin to learn some early digraphs (these are sounds made up of two letters such as ch, sh and ee).

In 'Phase Four' the children send lots of time reading and writing words containing familiar sounds.


Most children entering Year One will already be able to read and spell words with adjacent consonants, such as trap, string and flask. They will learn more graphemes and phonemes. For example, they already know ai as in rain, but now they will be introduced to ay as in day and a-e as in make.

At the end of Year One there is a statutory National Phonics Screening Check where children have to read real and pseudo (fake) words through segmenting, blending and applying their phonics knowledge and skills.


During Year Two the children begin 'Phase Six'. At the start of Phase Six of Letters and Sounds, children will have already learnt the most frequently occurring grapheme–phoneme correspondences (GPCs) in the English language. They will be able to read many familiar words automatically. When they come across unfamiliar words they will in many cases be able to decode them quickly and quietly using their well-developed sounding and blending skills. With more complex unfamiliar words they will often be able to decode them by sounding them out.


At this stage children should be able to spell words phonetically although not always correctly.  In Phase Six the main aim is for children to become more fluent readers and more accurate spellers.

In Phase 6 the children are taught about:

  • The past tense.
  • How to add suffixes.
  • Plurals.
  • How to apply their knowledge of spelling to their writing.
  • Reinforcement of decoding skills for reading.


Vocabulary explained:

Phoneme means the smallest unit of sound. There are 44 phonemes in English. Phonemes can be put together to make words.

Grapheme means the way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g ough.

Knowing a GPC (grapheme-phoneme correspondence), means being able to match a phoneme to a grapheme and vice versa.

Blending- This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word. This is the basis of reading.

Oral Segmenting - This is the act of hearing a whole word and then splitting it up into the phonemes that make it. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to segment words for spelling.

Segmenting - This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order. This is the basis of spelling.