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Nightingale Primary School

Nightingale Primary School

Ashbourne Avenue,
South Woodford,
London E18 1PL
Tel: 020 8989 9987

Life at Nightingale Primary School Life at Nightingale Primary School Life at Nightingale Primary School

Phonic Ethos

Learning to read through phonics - Information for parents

The enjoyment of reading

At Nightingale Primary School, we believe the teaching of reading should encompass a balance of teaching strategies including a systematic approach to phonics and other word reading strategies. A significant emphasis is placed on children experiencing a breadth and depth of texts. Reading for purpose and pleasure, and introducing children to more challenging texts as well as the focus on word reading skills is important.

Nightingale Primary School aims to provide high quality texts.

Overview of phonics teaching in the school

Phonics is an important component of reading, however, young children need more than phonics to read words accurately, such as picture and contextual cues, graphemes and sight vocabulary.

Nightingale Primary School places an emphasis on the importance of reading for pleasure and passion which will ensure ‘lifetime readers’, therefore we immerse young readers in high quality texts.

At Nightingale Primary School phonics is taught using the ‘Letter and Sounds’ programme.

Children are taught to sound and blend unfamiliar printed words quickly and accurately using the phonic knowledge and skills that they have already learnt in the Foundation Stage. Teachers also ensure that pupils continue to learn new phoneme-grapheme correspondences, ultimately working towards being able to read all common graphemes in Year 2. It is expected that by the end of Year 2, children should be able to read a book at an age appropriate level.


By the end of KS1 children should have met the objectives identified in the 2014 National Curriculum.

By the end of KS2 children should have met the objectives identified in the 2014 National Curriculum.

The ‘Letters and Sounds’ document is taught in phases:

 Phase 1

This phase largely falls within the areas of ‘Communication’ and ‘Language and Literacy’ in the Early Years Foundation Stage.  It supports linking sounds and letters and also draws on other areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage. The focus is on high quality play activities that provide children with the opportunity to enrich their language across all areas of the curriculum. This phase looks at environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion, rhyme and rhythm, songs, alliteration, voice and oral blending and segmenting (children need to ‘hear’ the sounds before they can read and spell words).


 Phase 2

This phase is introduced in Nursery and/or Reception and the children will be taught 23 letter sounds. The will move on from oral blending and segmenting (hearing the sounds) to reading and spelling words. The children will be taught how to read and write simple captions and will also be introduced to some high frequency words.

 Letter progression in phase 2:

 Set 1:       s, a, t, p

Set 2:       i, n, m, d

Set 3:       g, o, c, k

Set 4:       ck, e, u, r

Set 5:       h, b, f,ff, l,ll, ss

 Phase 3

The children learn the remaining single letter sounds and then progress to sounds comprising of 2 letters (for example,  sh, ai, or). By the end of this phase children should be confident when reading and spelling words containing the following sounds:

 Set 6:       j, v, w, x

Set 7:       y, z,zz, qu

 ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er

This is the suggested order for teaching the sounds above. Children will also be practising reading and writing captions, as well as continuing to learn some more high frequency words. The letter names are also introduced to children during this phase.

Phase 4

By the time that children progress to Phase 4 they will be confident when reading and writing words containing all of the sounds that they have already learnt.

This phase focuses on practising reading and writing words with initial and final blends (e.g. pl, br and mp, nk).  They will also practise reading and writing sentences and captions containing previously learned sounds and initial and final blends.

 Phase 5

Children that enter Phase 5 will be confident when reading and writing words containing initial and final blends. The purpose of this phase is to teach children new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for graphemes that they already know, for example ‘ow’ as in grow and ‘ow’ as in ‘cow’. The children will continue to practise reading and writing sentences containing graphemes already learnt, as well as the new graphemes that they are taught.

The following graphemes will be taught during Phase 5:

zh, ay (as in ‘day’), oy (as in ‘boy’), wh (as in ‘when’), ou (as in out), ir (as in ‘girl’), ph (as in ‘photo’), ie (as in ‘tie’), ue (as in ‘blue’), ew (as in ‘new’), ea (as in ‘eat’), aw (as in ‘saw’), oe (as in ‘toe’), au (as in ‘Paul’), a-e (as in ‘make’), e-e (as in ‘these’), i-e (as in ‘like’), o-e (as in ‘home’), u-e (as in ‘rule’).

The children will also be taught alternative pronunciations for graphemes that they already know (for example, cat, cent and got, giant).

 Phase 6

By the beginning of this phase, children should know most of the common graphemes and will be increasing in confidence when reading and spelling words containing these.

At this stage many children will be confident when reading longer texts and the focus moves towards reading for information and enjoyment.

During this phase, children will be introduced to suffixes (s, es, ed, ing, ful, er, est, ly, ment, ness, y), prefixes and common spelling patterns. They will learn about the past and present tense.