Skip to content ↓


Phonics in Reception:

At Leighton we use the DFES document ‘Letters and Sounds’ alongside ‘Jolly Phonics’ action rhymes to aid the teaching of Phonics. Phonics is the correspondence between spoken sound (phoneme) and the written letter (grapheme). ‘Letters and Sounds’ is a systematic phonics programme that aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right, as well as, preparing children to learn to read and become fluent readers. Phonics is taught in six Phases where new letters and sounds are learnt alongside ‘tricky troll’ words through a range of multi-sensory teaching and learning experiences.

Teaching of Phonics in Reception takes place daily and leads into our adult led teaching and the children’s busy learning which enables them to apply their learning. Each session is 20 minutes long and follows the revisit, teach, practice, apply sequence. Children are grouped according to their individual needs throughout the Reception unit to ensure that they are challenged and learning at their own pace. These groups are fluid and assessed at regular intervals to ensure teaching matches the needs of the children.

Phase 1

This phase largely falls within the areas of ‘Communication’ and ‘Language and Literacy’ in the Early Years Foundation Stage.  The focus is on high quality play activities that provide children with the opportunity to enrich their language across all areas of the curriculum. This phase looks at environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion, rhyme and rhythm, songs, alliteration, voice and oral blending and segmenting. We teach the children to ‘hear’ the sounds before they can read and spell words.

Phase 2

In this phase the children will be taught 23 letter sounds below. They move on from oral blending and segmenting (hearing the sounds) to reading and spelling words by sounding them out. The children will be taught how to read and write simple captions. During Phase 2 the children will also be introduced to some ‘Tricky troll’ words that are learnt on sight and cannot be decoded with phonics and high frequency words that are common place when reading or writing in English .

Set 1: s a t p                        I                  a      am    at    and

Set 2: i n m d                       no                big    can     cat    dad   dog

Set 3: g o c k                        go                for     get   in    is   it   look

Set 4: ck e u r                       to                mum    of     on    play

Set 5: h b f, ff l, ll ss            the               see     up    yes


Phase 3

In this phase the children learn the remaining single letter sounds (Phonemes) and the sounds comprising of 2 or 3 letters (Digraphs and Tri-graphs) By the end of this phase children should be confident when reading and spelling decodable words. Children will also be practising reading and writing captions, as well as continuing to learn some more ‘Tricky troll’ and high frequency words.

Set 6: j v w x              he   she                 by  down  for  from

Set 7: y z, zz qu           me   we                 I’m  love  made  now

ch  sh  th/th ng           be   you                 old  see  that  them

ai ee igh oa                  all   are                 then  this  too  with

oo/oo ar or ur             her   was

ow oi ear                     they   my

air ure er

Phase 4

By the time that children progress to Phase 4, they will be confident when reading and writing words containing all of the sounds that they have already learnt.This phase focuses on practising reading and writing words, captions and sentences accurately.

Phase 5

Some children may begin to explore Phase 5 learning in Reception and this will be continued throughout Year 1.

Useful websites with interactive games for all phases include: