Berry Hill Primary & Nursery School

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Phonics at Berry Hill


At Berry Hill we follow the Letters and Sounds programme for teaching phonics. We teach phonics from Nursery- Year 2, after which, the children move on to learn the spelling and grammar rules from the National Curriculum. There are six phases to Letters and Sounds. Below you will find a link to the Letters and Sounds document, if you would like to see any of the phases in more detail. 

Phase 1


In Nursery (F1) children start Phase 1 phonics. Phase 1 is split into 7 aspects of learning.

Aspect 1- General sound discrimination - listening to environmental sounds

Aspect 2- General sound discrimination - instrumental sounds

Aspect 3- General sound discrimination - body percussion

Aspect 4- Rhythm and rhyme

Aspect 5- Alliteration

Aspect 6- Voice sounds

Aspect 7- Oral blending and segmenting


If children are ready, they move on to Phase 2. If your child is in Nursery, please speak to your child's teacher before starting Phase 2, as your child will need to be secure in Phase 1 before they are ready to start Phase 2. 


Phase 2


Children typically start (or recap and consolidate if they have started in Nursery) Phase 2 in the Autumn term of Reception (F2). They begin to learn how to link phonemes (sounds) to graphemes (written letters). This is called Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence (GPCs) and means the relationship between sounds and letters. Children learn GPCs in this order: s a t p i n m d g o c k ck e u r h b f ff l ll ss. When all of the GPCs have been learnt, children will practise reading and writing short words containing these sounds. 


They will learn how to read/blend and write and spell/segment words containing these GPCs. Children will learn to read and write a variety of words with these sounds including 'high frequency words', which are words that are used frequently in the English language. 

Children will also learn how to read and write 'tricky words' which cannot be sounded out phonetically as the letters do not make the typical sounds that match those letters. 


Below are the 'high frequency words', 'tricky words' and GPC flashcards for Phase 2. Children should be able to find any GPC when asked eg: 'can you find s?' and should be able to say the sound/phoneme for any letter/grapheme when shown the grapheme eg: 'which sound does this grapheme make? S.

Phase 3


Children typically start Phase 3 in the Spring term in Reception. They will usually recap and consolidate Phase 3 throughout the Spring term in F2. In Phase 3, children finish learning the single letter GPCs and are then introduced to digraphs (two letters making one sound) and trigraphs (three letters making one sound).  Children learn GPCs in this order:

j v w x y z zz qu


sh - shop

th - thin and then

ng - ring

ai -rain

ee - feet

igh - night


oo - boot/look

ar - farm

or- for

ur- hurt






er- corner


Children MUST understand that they pronounce these letters as one sound, otherwise they will not be able to read the words that contain these sounds accurately. 


Children will learn to read and write a variety of words containing these GPCs, including 'Phase 3 high frequency words'. They will also learn more 'tricky words'. Below is a link to the Phase 3 'high frequency words', 'tricky words' and GPC flashcards.  

Phase 4


Children typically start Phase 4 in the Summer term of Reception, continuing this until the end of Reception. Children will also spend a few weeks of the Autumn term in Year 1 recapping and consolidating Phase 4. There are no new GPCs to learn in Phase 4 but children will begin to read and write longer words containing the GPCs they already know. Some example words from this phase include: lamp, bench, sandpit, shelving, frog, brown, spark, starlight, stamp, blank, shrink, spring, strap, scrunch, twisting, printer. 


Children will also learn more 'tricky words' and 'high frequency words'.


Below is a link to the tricky words and high frequency words.

Phase 5 

Children begin Phase 5 in Year 1 and continue this until the end of Year 1. In Phase 5 children learn some alternative spellings for GPCs they already know. Some of these are digraphs; two letters making one sound. Some of these are split digraphs; two letters that are making one sound but are split by another letter in the middle when written eg: the a-e sound in cake. When children have learnt all the GPCs, Phase 5 focuses heavily on teaching alternative pronunciations and spelling and grammar rules. Children learn alternative spelling GPCs in this order:

ay - day



ea- eat

oy - boy

ir- girl

ue blue/ queue







a-e - make

e-e - these

i-e - like

o-e - home

u-e - rule/cube


Phase 6

As Letters and Sounds was written in 2007 before the introduction of the revised National Curriculum in 2014, it has been agreed that most of the Phase 6 content will be taught in Year 1, as part of the Spelling and Grammar curriculum. Year 2 typically spend a few weeks consolidating Phase 5 and the spelling and grammar rules from Phase 6 before they move away from phonics and move on to advanced spelling and grammar rules. 


Children also learn more tricky words and learn the common exception words for Year 1 and 2, from the National Curriculum for English. Some of these words, they will already have encountered in previous Phases. 

To help with your understanding of phonics, we have created a glossary of phonics terms. We use all of these terms when teaching, so children will be familiar with these. We have also created a parents guide to reading books, to help you understand how your child's reading book is linked to the phonics they are learning at school. Following the introduction of the revised OFSTED framework in September 2019, there have been some changes to the teaching of reading and phonics, which we have explained in the parents' guide.


We have also included a link to a video showing you how to pronounce all of the GPC's in Phases 2-5.