“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr Seuss

Starting Phonics at Southill: Parents’ Guide


At Southill, we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Phonics is the process that is used to help children break down words into sounds, as well as building letter and word recognition. This can then enable children to use unknown words in the future. Children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend sounds to read the words.

We have a rigorous, systematic approach to delivering phonics to our children. This begins as soon as children enter Reception and continues throughout the school. Phonics at Southill follows the Department of Education approved document “Letters and Sounds”. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be progressive from Reception up to Year 2 as well as allowing children’s listening and speaking skills to develop. In Reception, Phonics is taught through whole class teaching input, small group activities and reinforced through continuous provision. Whole class and group teaching continues into Year 1 and 2. Children in Y2 follow ‘No nonsense spelling’ to continue the teaching of phonics for spelling. Where extra intervention is necessary, this is provided for children throughout Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.


Reading books used to support early readers have been organised to match the progression of phonics teaching. These books are matched closely to children’s phonic ability and introduced to the children individually and also during guided reading sessions. Children will have books to take home to match their needs and to develop other important reading skills beyond decoding.

There are six phases within the Letters and Sounds programme: –

Phase 1 – Activities are divided into seven aspects. Environmental Sounds, Instrumental Sounds, Body Sounds, Rhythm and Rhyme, Alliteration, Voice Sounds and finally Oral Blending and Segmenting.
Phase 2 – Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting sounds into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase 3 – The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as “ch”, “oo” and “th” representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
Phase 4 – No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Phase 5 – Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase 6 – Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.
Right from their first day at Southill, children are provided with lots of opportunities to engage with books that fire their imagination and interest, motivating and exciting them to learn Phonics and become confident readers.

Here are some useful links to explain some of the aspects of learning phonics: