Skip to content ↓

Ryhall CE Academy

“Look back with pride and move forward with confidence”

In this section...

Phase 1-3

 Phase 1-3 Phonics Explained - A guide for parents:


Phase 1 is absolutely vital. It is the one phase that shouldn't come to an end. These skills should continue to be developed throughout KS1 and KS2. Phase 1 develops children’s abilities to listen to, make, explore and talk about sounds. Activities concentrate on developing children’s speaking and listening skills, phonological awareness and oral blending and segmenting. No letters are introduced in this phase; it’s about understanding that words are built up of sounds. Phase One activities pave the way for children to make a good start in reading and writing.


Children entering Phase Two will have experienced a wealth of listening activities, including songs, stories and rhymes. They will be able to distinguish between speech sounds and many will be able to blend and segment words orally. Some will also be able to recognise spoken words that rhyme and will be able to provide a string of rhyming words, but inability to do this does not prevent moving on to Phase Two as these speaking and listening activities continue.

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 are encouraged to begin 'blending' the letters into words straight away. Therefore, having been taught to recognise only Set 1, children can make (and read) 'at' / 'sat' / 'pat' etc.

Nonesense words, such as 'tas' (using Set 1) are also acceptable as they allow children to explore sounds freely. Mis-spelt words (that are phonetically correct) are also allowable e.g. 'pas' (with Set 1) although, in time, you would want to point out the correct spelling: 'pass'.

As children learn all the Sets in Phase 2, they will be able to make (and read) an ever growing number of words. The 'Reading Word List' below for Phase 2 shows some of the many words that can be made as each Set is taught.

You will notice that double consonants (ff / ss / ll) are taught early to show children that sometimes more than one letter can represent a single sound. In the case of these letters, it is the same sound as the single letter represents. In Phase 3 children will learn that this is not always the case.

The grapheme 'ck' is taught at this stage as it features in many of the early words that children learn e.g. back / neck / sack.

It is very important that you pronounce these phonemes clearly and correctly using a pure sound. If you don't, children will find it very difficult to blend them together. 


Phase 3 continues in the same way as Phase 2 and introduces more GPCs. In this Phase a further 25 letters and graphemes are taught. The final 2 sets of letters are taught first.

Set 6

j / v / w / x

Set 7

y / z, zz / qu


Once Sets 6 & 7 have been taught children learn about graphemes where more than one letter represents a single unit of sound.                                                                                                                 


ch (as in chip)

sh (as in shop)

th (as in thin)*

th (as in then)

ng (as in ring)

ai (as in rain)

ee (as in feet)

igh (as in night)

oo (as in book)**

oo (as in boot)**

ar (as in farm)

or (as in for)

ur (as in hurt)

ow (as in cow)

oi (as in coin)

ear (as in dear)

air (as in fair)

ure (as in sure)


er (as in her)



*The grapheme 'th' represents more than one sound. You may need to listen carefully to hear the difference.

**The grapheme 'oo' also represents more than one sound.

The children continue to make CVC words. A CVC word is a word with a consonant phoneme, a vowel phoneme and then a consonant phoneme - it is not referring to letters. Therefore hot, bed, boat and ship are all CVC words but cow and toy are not. 

Children entering Phase Three will know around 19 letters and be able to blend phonemes to read VC words and segment VC words to spell. While many children will be able to read and spell CVC words, they all should be able to blend and segment CVC words orally. 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 to spell some of these words.

Get in touch

Ryhall CE Academy

Church Street

Ryhall Stamford