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St Chad's Church of England Primary and Nursery School



At our school we start our reading journey using phonics. Phonics means learning about the different sounds in the English language, and the letters and groups of letters that represent them.  Learning sounds and letters, and knowing how to blend sounds together is a key skill in learning to read.

In our school we teach children phonics every day, from Nursery through to year 2, using the systematic and structure phonics programme ‘Floppy’s Phonics’. Floppy’s Phonics is a step-by-step synthetic phonics reading scheme. It introduces the children to the letters and sounds – the alphabetic code – that will become the foundation of their reading and writing.

Initially children's listening skills are developed through the use of music, environmental sounds and rhyme. During their journey through the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 they are taught the 44 phonemes (sounds) that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter 'b as in bed' and those that are made by two 'ai as in rain or three letters 'igh as in high'. 

Children are taught the key skills of blending sounds together for reading and segmenting (breaking up) words for spelling. 

As the children grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound, eg 'ee' can be represented as 'ee, as in bee', 'ea as in tea', 'e-e as in theme' and 'e as in we'. They also learn when to apply simple spelling rules and use verbs in the correct tense. 

We ensure that our teaching of phonics is rigorous, structured and enjoyable. In Reception to Year 2, children have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they are introduced to new phonemes, explore, practise and revise previous learning and have plenty of opportunities to apply the knowledge they have. 



Phonics Terminology



A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word.

Feel/watch how your mouth changes when you say a word, every time your mouth moves/changes shape you are saying a new phoneme, e.g. b-r-i-ck

There are 44 phonemes in the English language


Graphemes represent how a phoneme is spelt. Each grapheme is a unit of sound regardless of how many letters there are.

e.g. The word b-r-igh-t is made up of 4 phonemes; the igh phoneme is represented by 3 letters but only makes one phoneme.

A grapheme can represent more than one phoneme e.g. C = cat and city


Two letters, which makes 1 phoneme. e.g. duck

A consonant diagraph contains 2 consonants

e.g.          sh             ck             th             ll

A vowel diagraph contains at least one vowel

e.g.          ai              ee            ar              oy

Split Diagraph

A diagraph in which the two letters are not adjacent

 e.g. make - a-e is a unit of sound (diagraph)- it is being ‘split’ by the constant k.


Three letters, which make 1 phoneme. e.g. light

Oral blending

Hearing a series of spoken phonemes and merging them together to make a spoken word without corresponding to any graphemes     

e.g. teacher says “b-u-s” children say “bus”

Blending (links to reading)

Recognising the letter sounds in a written word and merging them together in the order they are written to pronounce the word.

e.g. c-u-p = cup

Segmenting (links to writing)

Identifying the individual phonemes in a spoken word and writing them down to form a word.

To reinforce the phonics teaching in school, your child may bring home some books and activities to share with you. This includes:

  • Fully decodable phonics book linked to the sounds/phase they are learning in school.

  • Floppy Phonics Activity sheet

  • 'Need to Know' words

  • Grapheme and picture tiles


Reading Books

Children will be sent home with a decodable reading book each week. The children are expected to read their decodable book as often as possible. We will also send home a sharing book to promote the love of reading. These may need to be read to the children so it is a perfect opportunity to read some great books together.


Useful Websites


Oxford Owl – have over 100 free e-books for children aged 3-11 years old



Oxford Owl videos to help parents understand phonics and tips for reading
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