How we teach Phonics

The Forge Trust’s policy is to use the Letters and Sounds Framework to plan for phonics. We believe that the Letters and Sounds document, published in 2007, describes ‘effective teaching and learning’.

Phonics at The Forge Trust is based on the key principle of effective teaching and learning. It provides a flexible model that gives teachers opportunities to plan and resource lessons matched to children’s learning needs and current interests whilst also ensuring all children are exposed to age-related teaching content.

We have a clear structure for teaching and learning that provides frequent opportunities for practise and consolidation alongside new learning and acknowledges the importance of building on proficiency with reading to become accurate at spelling.

By the time children enter Year 3 at The Forest View Academy, most will have mastered phonics for fluent reading and will be able to choose an appropriate reading for pleasure book with guidance from their class teacher. Children who join Forest View who still struggle with phonics for reading, including those who failed the Year 2 retake of the phonics screening test, receive a 10 minute one-to-one intervention every day with a phonics specialist teacher.

Over a cycle of 2 weeks, the phonics interventions follow an adapted model of the Letters and Sounds lesson structure – Review, Teach, Practice and Apply. This process is outlined in more detail below:

Review – The children are assessed on GPC recognition, decodable word reading and common exception word reading. Through this assessment, gaps in the children’s knowledge are identified and will inform the focus of the next stages for this two-week cycle.

Teach – Gaps in the children’s GPC recognition are taught during 10 minute daily interventions, with a variety of activities focusing on one GPC. This includes activities focusing on decoding words containing the focus GPC and building fluency in reading those words.

Practice – Practice of the focus GPC takes place as part of the activities in the intervention. One intervention session per week will also recap the GPC’s and words from the previous sessions before moving on.

Apply – Children take home a decodable reading book each week that is matched to the GPCs they have worked on.

The Review section of the next two-week cycle will asses the children on the GPCs and words they have covered in the previous 2 weeks.


‘Letters & Sounds’ is the government programme for teaching phonics and high frequency words.
It is split into 6 phases:
Phase 1: Children learn rhymes. Keep rhythms and start to relate letter sounds to (starting in Nursery) words. E.g. b for bag.
Phase 2: Children learn initial letter sounds and build 3 letter words.
Phase 3: Children learn all 44 phonemes and blend sounds to read and write words.
Phase 4: Children blend consonants together to read difficult words e.g. blue, grab.
Phase 5: Children learn how to spell letter sounds in more than one way e.g. rain, day, make.
Phase 6: Children learn how to spell word specific spellings. E.g. turned, beautiful, shopping.

Phase 1

This paves the way for systematic learning of phonics and usually starts in nursery or playgroup.
Teachers plan activities that will help children to listen attentively to sounds around them, such as the sounds of their toys and to sounds in spoken language.
Teachers teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs. They read good books to and with the children.
This helps to increase the number of words they know – their vocabulary – and helps them talk confidently about books.
Things to try at home:
• Play games like ‘I Spy’
• Sing songs and rhymes together
• Share books together

Phase 2

In Phase 2, they will also be taught the phonemes (sounds) for a number of letters (graphemes).
Your child will be taught how to pronounce the sounds (phonemes) correctly to make blending easier. Try to avoid saying ‘buh’, ‘cuh’ encourage your child to say the pure sound.
s a t p i n m d
g o c k ck e u r
h b f ff l ll ss
and be able to read 5 tricky words…
the to I no go
They should be able to orally blend (sound talk) cvc words e.g. when you sound out c-a-t, they can tell you the word is cat, and also orally segment cvc words e.g. when you say mum, they can pick out the sounds m-u-m.
Spelling is harder than reading. During this phase they will use lots of alternatives to pencil and paper (eg magnetic letters, writing in sand, using paint)

Phase 3

The purpose of this phase is to teach 25 graphemes (letters) most of them comprising of two letters (e.g. oa) so the children can represent each of the 42 phonemes (sounds). Your child will continue to blend and segment for reading and spelling (e.g. pool)
j v w x y z zz qu ch
jug van wig box yes zip buzz quit rich
sh th ng ai igh oa oo oo ar
shop moth king rain high loaf look moon park
or ur ow oi ear air ure er
port burn town boil hear pair pure hotter
and 12 more tricky words to read…
he she we me be was
my you her they all are
They should now, also be able to spell the 5 tricky words from phase 2.

Phase 4

In Phase 4, children continue to practice previously learned graphemenes and phonemes and learn how to read and write:
CVCC words: tent, damp, toast, chimp
For example, in the word ‘toast’,
t = consonant, oa = vowel, s = consonant, t = consonant.
and CCVC words: swim, plum, sport, cream, spoon
For example, in the word ‘cream’,
c = consonant r = consonant ea = vowel, m = consonant.
and 14 more tricky words are added too…
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. During Phase 4, sounds with adjacent consonants or initials and final blends are taught e.g. bl, dr, sc, ft, so. These can be sounded out but recognising them.

Phase 5

The purpose of this phase is for children to broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling.
ay ou ie oe ea oy ir ue
play soup tried goes heat boy shirt value/blue
au aw wh ph ew ey
author lawn when/who Phillip blew honey
a_e e_e i_e o_e u_e
same these pine bone cube
They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know, where relevant. E.g. the phoneme ‘a’ can have alternative phonemes: hat/acorn/was also.
‘Y’ can have alternative phonemes: yes/by/gym/very.
There are many alternatives which the children will investigate during the phase.

Phase 6

Phase 6
In Phase 6, the focus is on learning spelling rules for word endings or suffixes.
They learn how words change when you add certain letters. There are 12 different suffixes taught…
The children are also expected to be able to read and write the ‘next 200 commons words’.
-s -es -ing -ed
-er -est -y -en
-ful -ly -ment -ness



Please click on and off the Drop Down Bars to view all detail on the different categories of teaching methods with regard to Phonics.