Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Reading and Phonics

Letters and Sounds

At Oasis Academy Long Cross, phonics is taught from Nursery to Year Two using Letters and Sounds. Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.

What does phonics include?

Phonics is a way of teaching reading where children are taught to read letters or group of letters by the sounds they represent. There are 26 letters in the alphabet, but they make 44 different sounds. Phonics lessons teach children these sounds which are known as ‘phonemes’. To find out how to pronounce each sound, follow this link to a useful video:

Letters and Sounds teaches the phonemes using six different phases. Further details, including links to the sounds themselves and stories that will help with the teaching of them, can be found below:

Phase Phonic Knowledge and Skills
One (Nursery/Reception)  

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting. Click here to find out more.

Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions. Click here to find out more.
Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, 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. Click here to find out more.
Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks 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. Click here to find out more.
Five (Throughout Year 1) 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. Click here and here to find out more.
Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)  Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.


Tricky words, those common words that can’t always be sounded out, are taught alongside these phases. If you are unsure which phase your child is currently working on, please ask their class teacher who will be more than happy to help!

You may find that your child comes home using a range of new words to describe how they learn. We hope the following glossary is useful to you. Always feel free to come in and talk to us if you require any further support, and look out for our phonics and reading workshops throughout the year!

Key Vocabulary


Blending is the skill of joining sounds together to read words. Children are taught to say the separate sounds in a word and then blend them together to decode the word. (eg: c –a - t = cat)


 Segmenting is the opposite of blending. Children are taught to segment a word into its separate sounds in order to spell it. (eg: cat= c – a – t)


 A digraph is a sound that is represented by two letters e.g. the sound ‘ai' in rain.


 A trigraph is a sound that is represented by three letters e.g. the sound ‘igh’ in high.

 split digraph

 A split digraph is a digraph that is separated by other letters (e.g. the sound ‘a-e’ in snake)


A grapheme is a visual representation of a sound. Some sounds are represented by a single letter whilst others are represented by more than one letter.


 A phoneme is a unit of sound. For example, the word 'cat' contains three phonemes; c - a - t.


Useful Resources:

Here are a number of useful resources to support your child’s learning (click on each to go to the relevant website):

Letters and Sounds

Phonics Play

Teach Your Monster To Read

Oxford Owl

Top Marks


Or make your own phonics games:

Cup builder:                                                               Lego builder:                                                 



Park up:                                                                     Noughts and Crosses:



Four in a row:                                                           Snakes and ladders: