Marlborough Primary School


From Nursery to Year 2, every child participates in daily adult-led phonics sessions. These cover Phases One to Six of the Letters and Sounds programme.

Phonics in Nursery

Phonics teaching begins in nursery. In Phase One, we focus primarily on:

  • Aspect 1: General sound discrimination – environmental sounds  
  • Aspect 2: General sound discrimination – instrumental sounds  
  • Aspect 3: General sound discrimination – body percussion  
  • Aspect 4: Rhythm and rhyme  
  • Aspect 5: Alliteration  
  • Aspect 6: Voice sounds 
  • Aspect 7: Oral blending and segmenting

The daily adult-led phonics sessions consist of practical, multi-sensory activities that we build upon as the children progress through nursery. In addition to the daily adult-led sessions, the children have opportunities to implement their phonic knowledge by leading their own child-led mark making, role play, singing and art based activities.

Phonics in Reception 

As the children progress to Reception, discrete Phase One teaching continues as we begin to introduce Phase Two of phonics. Phases Three and Four are taught as the academic year progresses.

Phase Two

Phase Two begins with a sequence 19 grapheme-phoneme correspondences and builds up to teach the children the skill of decoding which consists of learning to segment and blend to read. Alongside this, children are taught about ‘tricky words’. These are common sight words that cannot be decoded and therefore have to be learnt. 

Phonic Content

Tricky Words

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








Phase Three

Phase Three of phonics covers a further 25 grapheme-phoneme correspondences including the introduction of digraphs (two letter sounds) and trigraphs (three letter sounds). The children will continue to develop their decoding skills to read and write words and captions. They will also learn about more tricky words. The children will begin to spell and read these in their independent learning. 

Phonic Content

Tricky Words

Set 6: j, v, w, x

Set 7: y, z/zz, qu

ch, sh, th, ng

ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, oi, ear, air, ure, er, ow

he     she   

 we   me  

 be   was 

my   you   

her    they  

 all   are


Phase Four

Phase Four of phonics is where the children will have an opportunity to consolidate their knowledge of grapheme-phoneme correspondences, reading of tricky words and further develop their decoding skills for reading. In Phase Four, the children will learn to read words containing adjacent consonants and polysyllabic words. 

Tricky Words

some     one    said   

 come   do      so    

 were    when    have  

 there     out    like   

  little    what


Examples of Polysyllabic Words

handstand        shampoo         lunchbox         helper           starlight           chimpanzee        floating         treetop       thundering 

Examples of Words Containing Adjacent Consonants 

spoon           frog         black           milk          flag          brush            crown            plank           damp        band        hump

Phonics in Year One 

In Year One, daily phonics learning continues with the introduction of Phase Five. In this phase, the children will further expand their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes to read and spell words. In Phase Five, the children will be introduced to some new graphemes, alternative pronunciations for these and some graphemes previously taught. As the children progress through Phase Five, they will be able to recognise multiple graphemes in words and become faster at blending to read. The children in Year One will be able to choose appropriate graphemes to represent phonemes when spelling. They will also begin to spell words correctly and not always phonetically.

Phase Five


Split Digraphs

Alternative Spellings

ay (e.g. day)        ou (e.g. out)

ie (e.g. tie)            ea (e.g. eat)

oy (e.g. boy)         ir (e.g. girl)

ue (e.g. blue)       aw (e.g. saw)

wh (e.g. when)     ph (e.g. photo)

ew (e.g. new)       oe (e.g. toe)

au (e.g. Paul)        

a-e (e.g. make)  e-e (e.g. these)

i-e (e.g. like)        o-e (e.g. home)

u-e (e.g. rule)

i (e.g. fin, find)        o (e.g. hot, cold)

c (e.g. cat, cent)   g (e.g. got, giant)

u (e.g. but, put)    ow (e.g. cow, blow)

ie (e.g. tie, field)   ea (e.g. eat, bread)

er (e.g. farmer, her) a (e.g. hat, what)

y (e.g. yes, by, very) 

ch (e.g. chin, school. chef)

ou (e.g. out, shoulder, could, you)

Tricky Words

oh     their     people     Mr     Mrs      looked      called     asked    could 


The 100 High Frequency word list contains words that children will come across frequently in their reading and writing from Reception to Year One. As the children progress through the phonics phases, they will be able to read these words as most of these words are phonetically decodable. By the end of Phase Five, the children will be able to read all one hundred words either by sight or by applying their decoding skills.

Phonics in Year 2

Phase Six

The aim of Phase Six is to ensure that the children are fluent readers and are using increasingly accurate spellings of words. In Year Two, the children will be able to automatically read familiar words, decode unfamiliar words silently as their blending skills will be well established. The children’s spelling of words will become increasingly accurate as they apply their knowledge of spelling rules and alternative grapheme representation