Phonics at Friars

Phonics is a systematic way of teaching children the sounds (phonemes) that are made by the letters (graphemes) of the alphabet. It is separated into 6 phases. It begins in Nursery with phase 1 activities and continues throughout Reception and Key stage 1.

Phase 1


Phase 1 consists of developing children’s listening skills and ability to discriminate between different sounds. Children participate in activities such as going on listening walks, exploring the sounds of musical instruments, sound bingo and I spy type games.

Phase 2


In phase 2, children are introduced to the letters of the alphabet and the sounds that they make. They are taught 19 letters grouped into 5 sets. One set is taught each week.


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



Children work on blending and segmenting sounds together to with 2 or 3 letters. eg. in cat dog.

Phase 3

In phase 3 children are taught more sounds (phonemes.) They are introduced to digraphs (2 letters making 1 sound) and trigraphs (3 letters making one sound.) They practise blending and segmenting words with 2 or 3 sounds containing all the phonemes that they have learnt so far. eg. chip light cow.


Set 6 – j v w x


Set 7 – y z zz qu

ch as in chop
sh as in shop
th as in this
th as in thumb

igh as in light
oa as in boat
oo as in moon
oo as in book

ow as in cow
oi as in coin
ear as in hear
air as in chair

The digraphs and trigraphs

ng as in song
ai as in rain
ee as in seen

ar as in card
or as in corn
ur as in hurt

ure as in pure
er as in her

Phase 4


In phase 4 there are no new phonemes to learn. Children practise blending and segmenting words with more than 3 sounds containing the phonemes they have learnt so far. For example crab, pond, drum, train, hand.

Phase 5


Phase 5 introduces the children to alternative ways of making the sounds they have already learnt. For example, they have learnt the digraph ‘ai’ and now they learn that ‘ay’ can also make the same sound.

ay as in play
ou as in cloud
ea as in bean
ie as in tie
oy as in toy
ir as in dirt
ue as in blue

ue as in due
aw as in saw
wh as in when
ph as in phil
ew as in screw
ew as in stew
oe as in toe

au as in autumn
ey as in donkey
a-e as in came
e-e as in these
i-e as in pine
o-e as in bone
u-e as in June

They also learn the different ways that sounds they have learnt can be pronounced. eg. ch can be pronounced in different ways - chop, chef, chemist. They also learn about word endings such as –ed, -es

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Phase 6

Phase 6 consists of learning the different spelling rules and building children’s fluency in reading and writing. They are taught about the spelling rules for adding plurals, changing tenses of words and adding prefixes and suffixes. They learn about silent letters and homophones (same sound, different spelling, different meaning. eg. hair/hare.)

useful links – some free games are available to play at home. – a free phonics game your child can play on the PC. – a video showing the correct pronunciation of the phonemes.

Useful Documents


To help your child learn to form letters correctly we teach handwriting in letter families - e.g letters that can be written in a similar way. At Friars,  we have 4 different letter families. Click on the links to download the vocabulary that we use:

l,  i,  t,  j,  u,  y

c,  o,  a,  d,  g,  q,  s,  e,  f

r,  n,  m,  h,  b,  k,  p

z,  v,  w,  x