Cranborne Road, Newbold, Chesterfield, S41 8PF

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"Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all"


EYFS Phonics and Reading Information


 Phonics - How to help your child learn to read

If your child has recently started school, you might be wondering how you can help them lead to read at home, or perhaps you are interested in knowing a bit more about what they are learning in school.  Most parents of young children were taught to read using a different strategy to the one used today, which is why it can be hard to know what to do for the best.  Hopefully some of the information here and links below can help you feel more informed about current reading strategy in schools


The way that children are taught to read these days is called phonics.  There are other useful words you might want to know like 'phoneme' (the sound of each letter) and grapheme (what each letter looks like).  Phonemes sounds) and graphemes (how it looks) are now taught in a special order, this is because educational specialists have worked out that this is the best way to help children learn to read.  The phoneme - graphemes are also split into groups called phases.  This is to help teachers assess where children are with their phonics.


What differs now from when most of us were children, is the very short sounds that letters make.  You may remember being taught 't' as a 'ter' sound, now it is a short and snappy 't' - if you whisper it it is easier to make the sound.  The two you may find particullay tricky to pronounce are l and n.  with the 'l' sound, pronounce as you would say at the end of 'hull', more of an ul sound.  With 'n' don't be tempted to say 'ner' as it's very much a 'n' on its own, like in 'Euan'.  Another tricky one is 'r', not 'rer' as you might think, but more of a growing 'rrr' sound.  When you say a letter think how it actually sounds in a word, for example 'f' might come our as 'fer' but in a word has a very short'f' sound, like in 'fluff'.  If you think that the 'f' is said 'fer' then this word would become 'ferluffer''!


For quite a lot of letters there is a temptation to put an 'er' on the end, 'h', 'j' and 't' being a few examples.  It's really important though that you keep the sounds really short, because if you think about it, when children are blending (which means putting the sounds together to make words), it wont work if all the letters end with an 'er' sound.  Think of 'cat', with the way we were taught as children it would sound 'cer-at-ter', where as short whispered sounds make it far easier to blend the letters.


The vowel sounds (a,e,i,o,u) can be taught as you would normally say them (a as in apple, e as in elephant, I as in igloo, u as in under, o as in orange), however there are some exceptions (E.G child) but these will be addressed in school later on.  There is also a list of tricky words that do not follow the normal pronunciation of other words.

Here is the order in which letters are taught, and the phases-

Phase 1

  1. Tuning into sounds
  2. Listening and remembering Sounds
  3. Talking about sounds (so basically being aware that words are made of graphemes and phonemes)
  4. Orally sounding out words to identify and spell them.
  5. Hearing words that start and end with the same sounds 

Web links for phase 1:

Letters and sounds phase 1 information

Phonics play website - phase  1 information

Phase 2

Learning which letter makes which sound

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

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

Phase 4

No new graphemes

Practising all the graphemes and blending them together to make words.

This phase includes learning to read and spell longer words.

Phase 5

New graphemes ay (day)    ou (out)    ie (tie)    ea (east)    oy (boy)    ir (girl)    us (blue)    aw (saw)

wh (when)    ph (photo)    ew (new)    oe (toe)    au (Paul)

Split diagraphs (where the sound is split by another letter)

a-e (make)    e-e (these)    I-e (like)    o-e (home)    u-e (rule)

New pronunciations for known letters:

I (fin, find)    o (hot, cold)    c (cat, Cant)    g (got, giant)    ow (cow, blow)    ie (tie, field)    ea (eat, bread)

er (farmer, her)    a (hat, what)    y (yes, by, very)    ch (chin, school, chef)    ou (out, shoulder, could, you)



We regularly assess children's phonics progress with the support of an online assessment tool called Phonics Tracker. We feed this information into our half termly meetings where each groups progress is discussed to ensure we are meeting the needs of all our children. 

For further information, please click on the links below.


EYFS / KS1 Phonics Glossary

Help your child with reading

Reading with Understanding

Parent Reading prompts

Mr Thorne and Geraldine the Giraffe take you on a learning journey through the world of phonics


Phonicsplay - a site packed with interactive phonics games.

 Owford Owl



In order to foster a love of reading in our classrooms we provide resources that are language rich texts and picture  books  to help nurture and develop vocabulary and spark am interest in reading. We make reading a priority through displays and inviting book corners, where we promote a love of reading. 

In EYFS children are given the opportunity to explore books in small groups. This may involve books without words where the children are encouraged to tell the story, learn how to handle books, discover the directionality of print, look at and learn high frequency words and talk about familiar stories. 

Reading along with writing makes up literacy, one of the the four specific areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS )

Reading Early Learning Goals is:

"Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking about what they have read," EYFS Framework.


To be ready to start reading, children need to have a variety of skills in place. These early reading skills include, matching, rhyming, awareness of phonics and the skills associated with language development such as listening, attention, alliteration and sounds discrimination. 


Literacy is one of the seven areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage. The term 'Literacy' is used to describe reading and writing, but in the early years this also includes talking about books, print in the environment, early mark making and writing, as well as sharing books and reading.


Communication, Language and Literacy

Communication, Language and Literacy is at the heart of our curriculum. We are committed to engaging our children with stories and rhymes from a very young age. Early language development is established through daily stories and rhymes. Children will experience quality reading, story time, rhyme, talk and play on a daily basis. This is carefully planned within our sessions and continuous provision. 


EYFS and KS1 Reading scheme 

 We send home Bug Club Phonics books for the children to read to parents as well as a home reading record. 

The Bug Club phonic books are fully decodable and aligned to our Letters and Sounds phonic scheme.


 To look at the Bug Club phonics book progression chart please click here

Speech & Language

For more information please have a look at the following factsheets: