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Phase 1

This begins in Nursery and contains lots of activities to develop children's speaking and listening skills. As it is so important for reading and writing that you can hear and speak the language well, this learning carries on alongside all the 5 following phases.

How can I help my child with Phase 1?

I spy Sound out words Magnetic letters
Help your child to listen to words and begin to know the sound they start with. You can say the words really slowly to help them, like this "mmmmm-u-m". You could then begin to play games such as 'I Spy' using the letter sounds to make it fun.  Once your child has become more familiar with the beginning sounds in words, you can begin to sound out short words and see if they can tell you what they are, such as "m-o-p, c-a-t, p-i-n, d-a-d". You can make it like a game with points, and when they get really sure of themselves, they can sound out words for you to guess.  Magnetic letters on the fridge are so helpful for young children to get to know the letters of the alphabet. If you get a set for your fridge, you can start to get to know them by playing a matching game, such as giving them a letter 'm' and asking them  to find 3 the same in 1 minute. 

Phase 2

Some Nursery children dip into this phase if they are ready to, but the main teaching begins in Reception year. Children learn 18 sounds and letters to begin with, and a set of 'tricky' words that can't be sounded out. Children do lots of work with the first 18 sounds, using them to spell out words and practise writing them. 

How can I help my child with phase 2?

Throughout the Reception year you will get lots of support from the Reception to help your child with phonics. You will be given resources to use at home and homework to practise new sounds.

Try out the phonics play website for some fun phonics games to play.


Phase 2, 3 and 5 sound mat.