Letters and Sounds

‘Letters and Sounds’ is a phonics resource that was published by the Department for Education and Skills. The programme is designed to develop children’s speaking and listening skills as well as preparing children to learn how to read. There are 6 phases in the programme.


How can I help at home?

Please click here to explore the slides shared at our EYFS Phonics Workshop in November. 

If you have any questions, please speak with a member of the Foundation Team who will be happy to help.

Phase 1

Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects.

Aspect 1 – General sound discrimination – environmental (going on a listening walk)

Aspect 2 – General sound discrimination – instrumental sounds (using instruments to make loud and quiet sounds)

Aspect 3 – General sound discrimination – body percussion (songs and action rhymes)

Aspect 4 – Rhythm and rhyme (rhyming stories)

Aspect 5 – Alliteration (matching objects which begin with the same sound)

Aspect 6 – Voice sounds – distinguish between different vocal sounds and begin to blend and segment (robot voice – /h/-/a/-/t/ hat)

Aspect 7 – Oral blending and segmenting


Phase 2

In Phase 2, the children learn graphemes (written representation of sounds) and their phonemes (sounds) in a particular sequence. The children are taught how to pronounce the sounds correctly to make blending easier.

Children are encouraged to use their knowledge of letters and sounds to blend and sound out CVC words (s-a-t to make sat, p-i-n to make pin). The children will also be taught to start to segment words. This would mean working out which sounds make up that word (tap is made up of t-a-p).

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

In Phase 2, there are five tricky words (words that cannot be sounded out) that the children are taught to sight read.

the     to     no     go     I


Phase 3

Phase 3 introduces 25 graphemes (written representation of sounds) most of which are digraphs (two letters that make one sound) and trigraphs (three letters that make one sound). The children will continue to blend and segment using all sounds taught. Children will also learn letter names during Phase 3.

Set 6: j, v, w, x
Set 7: y, z, zz, qu
Consonant digraphs ch, sh, th, ng
Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er

In Phase 3, there are 12 tricky words (words that cannot be sounded out) that are introduced.

he     she     me     we     be     was     you     they     all     are     my     her

The children should now be able to spell the 5 tricky words from Phase 2.


Phase 4

In Phase 4, no new graphemes are taught. Children will continue to consolidate previously learned graphemes and phonemes. The children will learn to read and spell words which have adjacent consonants.

CVCC words: damp, chest, chimp

d = consonant, a = vowel, m = consonant, p = consonant

CCVC words: swim, frog, step

s = consonant, w = consonant, i = vowel, m= consonant

In Phase 4, 14 more tricky words are introduced.

some     come     one     said     do      so     were     when     have     there     out     like     little      what

The children should now be able to write the Phase 3 tricky words.


Phases 5 and 6 will be taught in Year 1.