St John's C of E Primary School

Phonics at St John's

Reading is given the utmost priority and woven into all aspects of the Early Years curriculum.  The systematic teaching of phonics ensures that children write and read well. 

We follow the DfE accredited systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) scheme, ‘Little Wandle,’Letters and Sounds Revised, which complements our whole school reading programme.  

Staff have been trained in the delivery of the SSP scheme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.  Daily sessions of systematic teaching of phonics are consistent, well-structured and pace-appropriate following progression in order; direct teaching is in frequent small cumulative steps to avoid cognitive overload. Four new sounds are taught each week.

Staff ensure the books our children read match the sounds they are learning. This enables them to develop phonemic awareness rapidly and embed phonic knowledge into long-term memory from working memory. Practice makes permanent.


St John's Phonics Policy can be located here
Little Wandle Phonics Website Glossary of terms can be found here

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Programme Progression

Reception and Year 1 overviews

This programme overview shows the progression of phonics and tricky words that we teach term-by-term. The progression has been organised so that children are taught from the simple to more complex graphemes and phonemes, as well as taking into account the frequency of their occurrence in the most commonly encountered words. All the graphemes taught are practised in words, sentences, and later on, in fully decodable books. Children review and revise graphemes and phonemes and words, daily, weekly and across terms and years, in order to move this knowledge into their long-term memory.

Children need to learn to read as quickly as reasonably possible, so they can move from learning to read, to reading to learn, giving them access to the treasure house of reading. Our expectations of progression are aspirational yet achievable. Children who are not keeping up with their peers are given additional practice immediately through keep-up sessions.



Autumn 1 Phase 2 graphemes

New tricky words

s a t p i n m d g o c k ck e u r h b f l

is I the


Autumn 2 Phase 2 graphemes

New tricky words

ff ll ss j v w x y z zz qu ch sh th ng nk

•    words with –s /s/ added at the end (hats sits)

•    words ending in s /z/ (his) and with –s /z/ added at the end (bags sings)

put* pull* full* as and has his her go no to into she push* he of we me be

*The tricky words ‘put’, ‘pull’, ‘full’ and ‘push’ may not be tricky in some regional pronunciations; in which case, they should not be treated as such.


Spring 1 Phase 3 graphemes

New tricky words

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

•    words with double letters

•    longer words

was you they my by all are sure pure


Spring 2 Phase 3 graphemes

No new tricky words

Review Phase 3

•    words with double letters, longer words, words with two or more digraphs, words ending in –ing, compound words

•    words with s /z/ in the middle

•    words with –s /s/ /z/ at the end

•    words with –es /z/ at the end

Review all taught so far


Summer 1 Phase 4

New tricky words

Short vowels with adjacent consonants


•    longer words and compound words

•    words ending in sufflxes:

–ing, –ed /t/, –ed /id/ /ed/, –est

said so have like some come love do were here little says there when what one out today


Summer 2 Phase 4 graphemes

No new tricky words

Phase 3 long vowel graphemes with adjacent consonants


•    words ending in sufflxes:

–ing, –ed /t/, –ed /id/ /ed/, –ed /d/ –er, –est

•    longer words

Review all taught so far


Year 1


Autumn 1

Review tricky words Phases 2–4

Review Phase 3 and 4

Phase 5

/ai/ ay play

/ow/ ou cloud

/oi/ oy toy

/ea/ ea each

Phases 2–4: the put* pull* full* push* to into I no go of he she we me be was you they all are my by sure pure said have like so do some come love were there little one when out what says here today

*The tricky words ‘put’, ‘pull’, ‘full’ and ‘push’ may not be tricky in some regional pronunciations; in which case, they should not be treated as such.


Autumn 2 Phase 5 graphemes

New tricky words

/ur/ ir bird

/igh/ ie pie

/oo/ /yoo/ ue blue rescue

/yoo/ u unicorn

/oa/ o go

/igh/ i tiger

/ai/ a paper

/ee/ e he

/ai/ a-e shake

/igh/ i-e time

/oa/ o-e home

/oo/ /yoo/ u-e rude cute

/ee/ e-e these

/oo/ /yoo/ ew chew new

/ee/ ie shield

/or/ aw claw

their people oh your Mr Mrs Ms ask*

could would should our house mouse water want

*The tricky word ‘ask’ may not be tricky in some regional pronunciations; in which case, it should not be treated as such.


Spring 1 Phase 5 graphemes

New tricky words

/ee/ y funny

/e/ ea head

/w/ wh wheel

/oa/ oe ou toe shoulder

/igh/ y fly

/oa/ ow snow

/j/ g giant

/f/ ph phone

/l/ le al apple metal

/s/ c ice

/v/ ve give

/u/ o-e o ou some mother young

/z/ se cheese

/s/ se ce mouse fence

/ee/ ey donkey

/oo/ ui ou fruit soup

any many again

who whole where two school call different

thought through friend work


Spring 2 Phase 5 graphemes

New tricky words

/ur/ or word

/oo/ u oul awful could

/air/ are share

/or/ au aur oor al author dinosaur floor walk

/ch/ tch ture match adventure

/ar/ al a half* father*

/or/ a water

schwa in longer words: different

/o/ a want

/air/ ear ere bear there

/ur/ ear learn

/r/ wr wrist

/s/ st sc whistle science

/c/ ch school

/sh/ ch chef

/z/ ze freeze

schwa at the end of words: actor

once laugh because eye

*The tricky words ‘half’ and ‘father’ may not be pronounced as this in some regional pronunciations; in which case, they should not be treated as such.


Summer 1: Phonics screening check review – no new GPCs or tricky words


Summer 2 Phase 5 graphemes

New tricky words

/ai/ eigh aigh ey ea eight straight grey break

/n/ kn gn knee gnaw

/m/ mb thumb

/ear/ ere eer here deer

/zh/ su si treasure vision

/j/ dge bridge

/i/ y crystal

/j/ ge large

/sh/ ti ssi si ci potion mission mansion delicious

/or/ augh our oar ore daughter pour oar more

busy beautiful pretty hour move improve parents shoe

 Phonics Reading Books

 When your child first comes to school, they will be reading books that are closely matched to their phonetic ability. The colours used are the same that we use across the school.

 Phonics Phase


Phase 1 Wordless boks

Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds concentrates on developing children’s speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.

Phase 1 focuses on: 

  • environmental sounds
  • instrumental sounds
  • body percussion
  • rhythm and rhyme
  • alliteration
  • voice sounds
  • oral blending and segmenting


Phase 2  Sets 1-5

 In Phase 2, children begin to read books containing the letter sounds they have been taught. These books will be sent home once they are secure in recognising the relevant sounds and can blend them together to read words.


The sounds covered in Phase 2 are:

Set 1 - s, a, t, p, i, n

Set 2 - m, d

Set 3 - g, o, c, k, ck

Set 4 - e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss

Set 5 - j, v, w, x, y, z, zz, qu, ch, sh, th, ng, nk


The tricky words covered in Phase 2 are:

I, the, put, pull, full, and, her, no, go, to, into, she, push, he, of, we, me, be.


Phase 3

Sets 1-2 

In Phase 3, children build on their phonic knowledge from Phase 2 and are introduced to a range of vowel digraphs. They also continue to learn new tricky words.

The sounds covered in Phase 3 are: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, er.

The tricky words covered in Phase 3 are: was, you, they, my, by, all, are, sure, pure.


Phase 4

Sets 1-2

In Phase 4, there are no new sounds to learn. Instead, children consolidate their learning and recap the letter sounds from Phases 2 and 3. They also practise blending and segmenting longer words, including words that contain adjacent consonants. The children will learn some new tricky words within this Phase.

The tricky words covered in Phase 4 are: said, so, have, like, some, come, love, do, were, here, little, says, there, when, what, one, out, today.


Phase 5

sets 1-5

In Phase 5, children learn a variety of new digraph sounds, including alternative sounds and spellings. New tricky words continue to be introduced. Phase 5 books feature longer words and sentences, enabling the children to extend and practise their phonic knowledge and skills.

As alternative sounds are introduced, some of the tricky words from previous Phases become decodable.

The sounds covered in Phase 5 are:

Set 1: ay (play) ou (cloud) oy (toy) ea (each) ir (bird) ie (pie) ue (blue) ue (rescue) u (unicorn)

Set 2: o (go) i (tiger) a (paper) e (he) a-e (shake) i-e (time) o-e (home) u-e (rude) u-e (cute)  e-e (these) ew (chew) ew (new) ie (shield) aw (claw)

Set 3: y (funny) ea (head) wh (wheel) oe (toe) ou (shoulder) y (fly) ow (snow) g (giant)

ph (phone) le (apple) al (metal) c (ice) ve (give) o-e (some) o (mother) ou (young) se (cheese) se (mouse) ce (fence) ey (donkey) ui (fruit) ou (soup)

Set 4: or (word) u (awful*) oul (would) are (share) ear (bear) ere (there) au (author) aur (dinosaur) oor (floor) al (walk) tch (match) ture (adventure) al (half) a (father*) a (water)

a (want) ear (learn) wr (wrist) st (whistle) sc (science) ch (school) ch (chef) ze (freeze) 

Set 5: eigh (eight) aigh (straight) ey (grey) ea (break) kn (knee) gn (gnaw) mb (thumb) ere (here) eer (deer) su (treasure) si (vision) dge (bridge) ge (large) y (crystal) ti (potion) 

ssi (mission) si (mansion) ci (delicious) augh (daughter) our (pour) ore (more)

The tricky words covered in Phase 5 are: their, people, oh, your, Mr, Mrs, Ms, our, any, many, who, whole, two, thought, through, friend, work, once, laugh, because, eye, busy, beautiful, pretty, hour, move, improve, parents, shoe. 

You can support your child at home by:

  • modelling the processes of reading from left to right and following with your finger
  • encouraging them to sound out and blend the words
  • identifying any ‘tricky’ words, which cannot be fully decoded and discussing the tricky parts within those words
  • if they notice a repeated word, or if they are confident with blending in their head, ask them to read a word automatically (without overt sounding out)
  • use the inside of each book front cover for helpful reading prompts and questions
  • ask what some words from the text mean, to help them build a rich vocabulary
  • give your child time to recognise and correct their own mistakes
  • ask them to talk about what’s happening in the book, encouraging them to make links to events on previous pages