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How we teach phonics

Teaching Phonics at St. Martin's

Below are some details about how we teach phonics (one aspect of reading) at St Martin's CE Primary School.
You will also find resources and website links.  To find a printable copy of this information, go to our Downloads section.

When teaching phonics we use a government-produced scheme of work called Letters and Sounds. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as preparing them for reading by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. 
It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.

Letters and Sounds is broken down into 6 phases which are worked through from nursery to the end of year 2.

Phase 1 
Showing an awareness of rhyme and alliteration. Distinguishing between sounds in the environment and phonemes. Exploring and experimenting with sounds and words. Discriminating speech sounds in words. Beginning to orally blend and segment phonemes.


Phase 2

Blending for reading and segmenting for spelling simple cvc words.

Letter sets

Set 1 - s, a, t, p,

Set 2 - l, 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

Knowing one grapheme for each of the 43 phonemes.


Letter sets:

Set 6 - j, v, w, x

Set 7 - y, z, zz, qu



ear, air, ure, er, ar, or, ur, ow, oi,

ai, ee, igh, oa, oo

Consonant digraphs:

ch, sh, th, ng.


Phase 4

This is a consolidation unit. There are no new graphemes to learn but the children learn how read longer words such as stamp, plug, flag, twig.

Phase 5


ay, ou, ie, ea, oy, ir, ue, aw, wh, ph, ew, oe, au, a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e.


Alternative pronunciations  for:

i, o, c, g, u, ow, ie, ea, er, a, y, ch, ou

Phase 6 

At this stage children should be able to spell words phonemically although not always correctly. The main aim of this phase is to help children become more fluent readers and more accurate spellers.