Welcome to the Phonics section. Here we will give you information about phonics and what/how we teach it here at Horton Kirby Primary.

Systematic Synthetic Phonics

Phonics is the key to teaching children how to read and write, providing them with strategies to decode words. The alphabet contains only 26 letters. Spoken English uses about 44 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by letters.

At Horton Kirby Primary School our children have daily Letter and Sounds lessons to teach reading and writing through a systematic approach. There are six phases that we teach in phonics. We will put the new sounds that we have taught in class in the children’s Pink Phonic Books to go home. Please go through these sounds with your child.

Supporting Phonics at Home

Here are some links to websites which will help your child practise and consolidate their learning from school in a fun way. 

Mr Thorne on Youtube:

Teach your monster to read:

Phonics Play:

In EYFS we teach:

Phase 1 –  Developing listening and speaking skills. Children are taught:

  • Environmental sounds
  • Instrumental sounds
  • Body percussion
  • Voice sounds

Phase 2 – Begin to introduce phonemes and graphemes. We begin with a small selection of common consonants (s, t, p, n) and vowels (a, e, i, o, u) and begin to put them together to read and spell CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant).

Phoneme – When you say the sound.

Grapheme – When you write the sound.


Phase 3 –  Introduces 25 new graphemes one at a time.

Children link sounds to letters, naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet. They hear and say sounds in order they occur in the word and read simple words by blending the phonemes from left to right.

Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th (voiced and unvoiced), ng

Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi

Digraphs – two letters that make one sound – er

Tri-graphs – three letters that make one sound – igh, ure, ear, air

In Year 1 we revisit Phase 3 and then we introduce:

Phase 4 – We teach children to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants. Children will be able to blend and segment these words and apply this skill when reading and spelling.

Adjacent Consonants – Two or more consonants appearing next to each other.


They move from CVC words (pot, sheep) to CVCC words (pots) and CCVC words (spot) and then CCVCC words (spots). They will also explore polysyllabic words (shampoo, helper).

Polysyllabic – a word which has more than one syllable.

Phase 5 We teach children alternative spellings for sounds they have already learnt. For example they will learn that the phoneme ‘ai’ can be spelt  ‘ay’ ‘ey’ and the split digraph ‘a_e’.

The children will also learn how the phonemes they have already learnt can sometimes be pronounced differently in different words. For example there is a hard ‘c’ sound in ‘cat’ but in the word ‘city’ you would use a soft ‘c’ sound.

By the end of Year 1, children should be able to:

  • Say the sound for any grapheme they are shown.
  • Write the common graphemes for any given sound (e.g. ‘e,’ ‘ee,’ ‘ea’)
  • Use their phonics knowledge to read and spell unfamiliar words of up to three syllables.
  • Read all of the 100 high frequency words, and be able to spell most of them.
  • Form letters correctly.

In Year 2 we will revisit Phase 5 and then we introduce:

Phase 6 We do not introduce any new sounds. During this phase, children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers. They will be taught suffixes and prefixes.

Phonics Screening Check

Children in Year 1 throughout the country will all be taking part in a Statutory Phonics Screening Check in June. Children in Year 2 will also take the check if they did not achieve the required result when in Year 1 or they have not taken the test before. The phonics screening check is designed to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding and blending skills to an appropriate standard.

What Happens During the Screening?

The test contains 40 words. Each child will sit one-to-one and read each word aloud to their teacher. The test will take approximately 10 minutes per child, although all children are different and will complete the check at their own pace. The list of words the children read is a combination of 20 real words and 20 pseudo words (nonsense words).  The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. This provides the children with a context for the pseudo word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have. Pseudo words are included because they will be new to all pupils; they do not favour children with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. We prepare children by introducing them to ‘alien’ words throughout their daily lessons using sounds that they have learnt. The pass mark last year was 32/40.

Phonics Information and documents

Phonics Information Powerpoint

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