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At Waddington Redwood, we know that reading is integral to children’s learning. As part of our reading curriculum, we deliver phonics lessons from the very beginning of the children’s journey with us. Phonics is a method used for teaching the reading and writing of the English language. This method of teaching develops the children’s awareness of different sounds (phonemes). Phonic lessons develop the children’s awareness of hearing, identifying and manipulating sounds. This is how the children’s reading journey begins.

At Waddington Redwood, we use the phonics programme Letters and Sounds.

What is Letters and Sounds?

Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. The Letters and Sounds resource sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills to the children, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers.

The Letters and Sounds Programme has six overlapping phases. Children begin at Phase One when entering our Early Years Provision. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for Practitioners and Teachers. For more information, visit the Letters and Sounds website (


Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One

(Begins in Nursery/Reception)

This phase involves activities that are divided into seven aspects, including: environmental sounds; instrumental sounds; body sounds; rhythm and rhyme; alliteration; voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two

(Introduced in Reception)

This phase involves learning 19 letters of the alphabet and knowing the one sound for each; blending sounds together to make words; segmenting words into their separate sounds and beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three

(Introduced in Reception)

This phase involves learning the remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. It also introduces graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. It also includes reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four

(Introduced in Reception)

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five

(Introduced and taught throughout Year 1)

In this phase we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes, which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six

(Introduced and taught throughout Year 2 and beyond)

This phase involves working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.


Phonics Planning

See our Phonics planning overview below.


Phonics and Spelling Policy

Once the children are secure with phonics, we move on to teaching spelling rules and strategies.

See our Phonics and Spelling Policy for further information.