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Children in KS1, follows a six-phrase Teaching Programme called Letters and Sounds.


What is Letters and Sounds programme?


Letters and Sounds is designed to help practitioners and teachers teach children how the alphabet works for reading and spelling by:

*fostering children’s speaking and listening skills as valuable in their own right and as preparatory to learning phonic knowledge and skills;

*teaching high quality phonic work at the point they judge children should begin the programme. For most children, this will be by the age of five with the intention of equipping them with the phonic knowledge and skills they need to become fluent readers by the age of seven.

Making a good start – Phase One

Environmental Sound

The aim of this aspect is to raise children’s awareness of the sounds around them and to develop their listening skills. Activities suggested include going on a listening walk, drumming on different items outside and comparing the sounds, playing a sounds lotto game and making shakers.

Instrumental Sounds

This aspect aims to develop children’s awareness of sounds made by various instruments and noise makers. Activities include comparing and matching sound makers, playing instruments alongside a story and making loud and quiet sounds.

Body Percussion

The aim of this aspect is to develop children’s awareness of sounds and rhythms. Activities include singing songs and action rhymes, listening to music and developing a sounds vocabulary.

Rhythm and Rhyme

This aspect aims to develop children’s appreciation and experiences of rhythm and rhyme in speech. Activities include rhyming stories, rhyming bingo, clapping out the syllables in words and odd one out.



The focus is on initial sounds of words, with activities including I-Spy type games and matching objects which begin with the same sound.

Voice Sounds

The aim is to distinguish between different vocal sounds and to begin oral blending and segmenting. Activities include Metal Mike, where children feed pictures of objects into a toy robot’s mouth and the teacher sounds out the name of the object in a robot voice – /c/-/u/-/p/ cup, with the children joining in.

Oral and Segmenting

In this aspect, the main aim is to develop oral blending and segmenting skills.

To practise oral blending, the teacher could say some sounds, such as /c/-/u/-/p/ and see whether the children can pick out a cup from a group of objects. For segmenting practise, the teacher could hold up an object such as a sock and ask the children which sounds they can hear in the word sock.

The activities introduced in Phase 1 are intended to continue throughout the following phases, as lots of practice is needed before children will become confident in their phonic knowledge and skills.

  Letters and Sounds – Phase 2


The purpose of this phase is to teach at least 19 letters, children will be blending and segmenting with letters.


s    a    t    p    i    n    m    d    g    o    c    k     ck    e    u    r    h    b    f    ff    l    ll    ss

Phase 2 Tricky Words

to   the   no   go   I

Letters and Sounds – Phase 3


The purpose of this phrase is to teach another 25 graphemes, most of them comprising two letters (e.g. oa). Children also continue to practise CVC blending and segmentation in this phase and will apply their knowledge of blending and segmenting to reading and spelling simple two-syllable words and captions. They will learn letter names during this phase, learn to read some more tricky words and also begin to learn and spell some of these words.


j   v   w   x   y   z   zz   qu   ch   sh   th   ng   ai   ee   igh   oa   oo   ar   or   ur   ow   oi   ear   air   ure   er

Phase 3 Tricky Words to read

he   she   we   me   be   my   was   you   they   her   all   are

Phase 3 Tricky Words to spell

the   to   no   go   I

  Letters and Sounds – Phase 4


The purpose of this phase is to consolidate children’s knowledge of graphemes in reading and spelling words containing words with adjacent consonanants and words with more than one syllable.

CVCC words e.g. tent, bend.

CCVC words e.g. spin, track

CCVCC words e.g. stand, crisp

CCCVC words e.g. spring, strap

CCCVCC words e.g. scrunch

Phase 4 Tricky Words to read

said   so   have   like   some   come   were   there   little   one   do   when   out   what

Phase 4 Tricky Words to spell

he   she   we   me   be   was   you   they   all   are   my   her


Letters and Sounds – Phase 5


Children entering Phase Five will already be able to read and spell words with adjacent consonants, such as trap, string and flask. They will also be able to read and spell some polysyllabic words.

In Phase Five, children will learn more graphemes and phonemes. For example, they already know ai as in rain, but now they will be introduced to ay as in day and a-e as in make.

Alternative pronunciations for graphemes will also be introduced, e.g. ea in tea, head and break.

New Graphemes for Reading

ay – day   ou – out   ie – tie   ea –  eat   oy – boy

Letters and Sounds – Phase 6

At the start of Phase Six of Letters and Sounds, children will have already learnt the most frequently occurring grapheme–phoneme correspondences (GPCs) in the English language. They will be able to read many familiar words automatically. When they come across unfamiliar words they will in many cases be able to decode them quickly and quietly using their well-developed sounding and blending skills. With more complex unfamiliar words they will often be able to decode them by sounding them out.

At this stage children should be able to spell words phonemically although not always correctly. In Phase Six the main aim is for children to become more fluent readers and more accurate spellers.