Yew Tree Primary School

‘Learning Without Limits’

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Phonics at Yew Tree


At Yew Tree, phonics is introduced through Letters and Sounds when children join nursery and progression is planned to meet the stage of learning. The progression is planned for by the following markers however we look at the child’s stage of phonic knowledge and understanding, not just their age.


Nursery - Phase 1

Phase 1 explores oral segmenting and oral blending of familiar words and many activities that are well matched to children’s development and interests.


Reception – Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 4

Phase 2 exposes children to a wealth of listening activities, including songs, stories and rhymes. They will learn to distinguish between speech sounds and many will be able to blend and segment words orally. By the end of Phase 2, many children should be able to read some VC and CVC words. In Phase 3, they will learn 42 phonemes by a grapheme and will apply their knowledge of blending and segmenting to reading and spelling simple two-syllable words. In Phase 4, children will practising blending for reading and segmenting for spelling.


We aim to complete Phase 4 with our children by the end of Reception (YR). However, this dovetails into our Year 1 (Y1) curriculum where necessary.


Year 1 – Phase 4 and 5

Children will broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know.


The main focus within our Year 1 (Y1) curriculum is Phase 5. However, we plan according to children's stage not age so will differentiate accordingly.


Year 2 – Phase 5 and 6

During this phase, children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers. They will learn how to apply prefixes and suffixes as well as developing a good understanding of long and short vowels to help them with spelling rules. 


Although you can see that we overlap phases of phonics teaching across year groups, we work to ensure that children are secure and confident in each phase before we move them on to the next one.


Phonics teaching is complemented by reading. We use a range of resources to enhance this and our books are banded (see information on our curriculum page about reading). Wherever possible, these are fully decodable to develop fluency and understanding. Children are expected to move through the bands to become fluent and confident readers by the time they leave KS1 (Y2). 


The Letters and Sounds programme is utilised in the EYFS (Nursery & Reception) to develop phonics awareness and is continued throughout Key Stage 1 (Y1 & Y2) to ensure a consistency of approach in phonics teaching and learning.  


Information about Letters and Sounds is available on their website:


A phoneme chart