What are phonics? 

Phonics are the building blocks of words for reading and spelling. There are 6 phonics phases that your child progresses through during their time in school. Phase 2 is the point where we first introduce letter sounds, so we’ll use phase 2 as our example:

The sounds are taught in a different order to the order of the alphabet and the letter sound is not to be confused with the letter name. Let’s take ‘S’ for example. Its letter name is ‘ess’ whilst its letter sound is ‘sssssssssss’. The pictures shown with each letter help us to identify the letter sound. Each phonics phase has it’s own group of letter sounds.

In addition, each phonic phase also has a group of ‘tricky’ words which are rule breakers and do not fit the phonic patterns and so these words must be learnt on sight. Tricky words can also be called ‘Super Power Words’ or ‘Sight Words’.

Two key skills involved in early reading using phonics are segmenting and blending:

Segmenting is when we break words down into the individual blocks of sound (e.g. cat is segmented into c  –  a  –  t )

Blending is when we push the individual blocks of sound together in order the read the word as a whole (and hopefully gain meaning)


Have fun with phonics at home!

At the very start of the journey in reading, it is important for your child to build up their familiarity with phonics sounds they are working on in school in order for them to then be able to segment and blend words for reading. There are lots of games you can play to help make phonics learning fun:

If you would like to download a pack that outlines these activities in more detail, please click here.


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