At Sandford Hill Primary School, we have developed a systematic synthetic phonics programme which is based upon the principles of Letters and Sounds. Our programme consists of daily phonic lessons from Nursery – Year 2 and aims to develop confident and motivated readers.


In Early Years and Key Stage 1, children’s reading books are closely matched to their phonic ability. Children who are just beginning to learn the letter/sound correspondences use books which do not have any words in. These books develop the children’s speaking skills as the children re-tell the story from the pictures. This is crucial in the development of spoken language and vocabulary and it is a necessary stepping stone towards becoming an accomplished reader and writer. The children then move onto books with letters and words in which are matched to the sounds that they have previously learned in class. The children use ‘Bug Club’ phonic reading books and ‘Floppy Phonics’ both of which have been matched up with what your child will have learned in their phonic lessons. These books enable the children to consolidate and apply the phonic knowledge they have learned in class as well as increasing their reading fluency.

Our programme is split into 6 progressive phases which are taught from Nursery – Year 2. 

Phase 1

Phase 1 is the very first phonic phase and is vital in developing the children’s listening skills. This phase begins in our Nursery and continues throughout your child’s learning journey at Sandford Hill Primary School. In this phase, our youngest children begin to develop their ability to listen, make, explore and talk about sounds. The phase is split into 7 aspects that are explored and developed through fun, interactive games.

Phase 4

The main focus in this phase is to help our children to blend and segment longer words such as those with adjacent consonants e.g. truck, help. In Phase 4 children are taught to blend to read and segment to spell longer words using the phonemes that were taught in Phase 2 and 3.

Phase 2

During Phase 2, children are introduced to their first sounds (phonemes) which are represented by letters (graphemes). The phonemes are introduced in a systematic way and are supported visually using Jolly Phonics actions and picture cards. After lots of practical and visual experiences, our children begin to blend sounds together to make words, segment words into their separate sounds, begin to read simple captions and write the relevant letters.

Phase 2 Phonemes

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 s ss

Phase 5

In Phase Five, children will learn more sounds (phonemes) as well as new letter combinations which make these sounds within a word (graphemes). For example, they already know ‘ai’ as in rain, but now they will be introduced to new letters that also make that sound within a word such as ‘ay’ as in day and ‘a-e’ as in make. Alternative pronunciations for graphemes are introduced in Phase 5, e.g. ‘ea’ in tea, head and break all use the same letters (grapheme) but each have a different sound (phoneme).

Phase 5 is a tricky, lengthy phase but with daily practice, speed at recognising and blending graphemes greatly improve.

Phase 3

Phase 3 continues in the same way as Phase 2 and introduces more sounds (phonemes). By the end of Phase 3, the children will know one way of writing down each of the 44 phonemes. As with Phase 2, the children will also be taught to blend all 44 sounds together to make words, segment words into their separate sounds, read simple sentences and correctly form the relevant letters.

Set 6 – j v w x

Set 7 – y z zz qu

Consonant digraphs (2 letters making one sound) – ch sh th ng

Vowel digraphs and trigraphs (3 letters making one sound)- ai ee igh oa oo ar or ur ow oi ear air ure er


Phase 6

Phase 6 reinforces much of the learning from Phase 5 and starts to explore spelling rules and conventions e.g. adding -ing and –ed suffixes to words the children can already spell. Once children reach Phase 6, we work on helping them to move away from blending and segmenting to develop fluency in their reading and spelling.