Throughout Reception, Year 1 and 2, children learn their Letters and Sounds (synthetic phonics). They progress through phases 2- 6 in this time. Children are taught in ability groups and phonics teaching is fast paced. Children are introduced to new phonemes and graphemes on a daily basis and their weekly spellings are linked to their Letters and Sounds work.
In their Reception Year, children generally work within Phase 2. In this phase, children experience a wealth of listening activities, including songs, stories and rhymes. They are taught to distinguish between speech sounds and begin to blend and segment words orally. In addition, they will learn to recognise spoken words that rhyme and provide a string of rhyming words. Phase 2 teaches at least 19 letters, and moves children on from oral blending and segmentation to blending and segmenting with letters.
When appropriate, children progress to Phase 3 during their Reception year. Children build on Phase 2 and begin to blend phonemes to read VC (vowel, consonant) words and segment to spell. While many children will be able to read and spell CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words, they all should be able to blend and segment CVC words orally. Furthermore, they will learn another 25 graphemes, most of them comprising two letters (e.g. oa), known as digraphs. They learn letter names during this phase, to read some more tricky words and also begin to learn to spell them.
When children move to Year 1, they generally begin Phase Four, where children learn to represent each of the 42 phonemes with a grapheme, and blend phonemes to read CVC words and segment them for spelling.
Once they are ready, while in Year 1, children begin to work at Phase Five: children read and spell words containing adjacent consonants and some polysyllabic words. The purpose of this phase is to broaden children’s knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. In addition, children learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and the ones they already know, where relevant.