Welcome to Harlands Community

Primary & Nursery School


Our Philosophy

We believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. We teach reading through a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow a progression of sounds, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

We value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.

Our Approach

Our teaching of phonics follows a multisensory approach that incorporates visual, auditory and kinaesthetic cues. This takes the form of a mnemonic, an action and song for each phoneme. This consistent approach allows children to access phonics in a variety of ways and embed their understanding. Children also learn to form letters through formation phrases linked to the mnemonic.

Stories are used to provide a stimulus and context for phonics lessons and enable children to practise 'The Four Cornerstones of Phonics': rapid recall of GPCS, segmenting, blending and recalling tricky/common exception words. The structure of our phonics approach ensures children are able to build upon their prior knowledge providing progression and continuity between year groups.

We have a strong focus on language development for our children through the use of pronunciation phrases where needed because we know that speaking, including the pronunciation of sounds, and listening are crucial skills for reading, writing and communication in all subjects.

Through regular assessment of phonemes, children read decodable books that are matched to their stage of development and are swiftly moved on when they are secure.

Phonics Level Overviews

Level 1 Phonics - Nursery

Phase One of Letters and Sounds concentrates on developing children’s speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.

The activities introduced in Phase 1 are intended to continue throughout the following phases, as lots of practice is needed before children will become confident in their phonic knowledge and skills.

Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects:

Level 2 Phonics - Reception

Children will be taught the first 19 most commonly used letters and the sounds they make. They move on from just oral blending and segmenting to blending and segmenting with letters. Children will also be introduced to some tricky words for reading.

During Phase 2, letters and their sounds are taught in the following order:

By the end of Level 2, children will have had the opportunities to:

  • identify the phoneme when shown any Level 2 grapheme

  • identify any Level 2 grapheme when they hear the phoneme

  • orally blend (put sounds together) and segment (split up a words into its sounds) CVC words such as, ‘sat’ and ‘pat'

  • blend sounds to read VC words such as, ‘if’, ‘am’, ‘on’ and ‘up

  • segment VC words into their sounds to spell them (using magnetic letters);

  • read the tricky words (words that cannot be sounded out): the, to, I, no, go

Level 3 Phonics - Reception

During Level 3, children are introduced to another 25 graphemes including consonant digraphs (two consonants making one sound like ch), vowel digraphs (two vowels making one sounds like ai) and trigraphs (three letters making one sound like igh) so that they can represent 42 phonemes with a grapheme.

Children continue to segment and blend CVC words and apply their knowledge to reading and spelling simple two-syllable words and captions.

During Level 3, letters and their sounds are taught in the following order:

By the end of Level 3, children will have had the opportunities to:

  • say the phoneme when shown all or most Level 2 and Level 3 graphemes

  • find all or most Level 2 and Level 3 graphemes, from a display, when given the phoneme

  • blend and read CVC words (single-syllable words consisting of Level 2 and Level 3 graphemes) such as ‘chop’ and ‘night’

  • segment and make phonetically plausible attempts at spelling CVC words (single-syllable words consisting of Level 2 and Level 3 graphemes) such as ‘paid’ and ‘seed’

  • read the tricky words - he, she, we, me, be, was, my, you, her, they, all, are & spell the tricky words - the, to, I, no, go

  • write each letter correctly when following a model

Level 4 Phonics - Reception

During Level, 4 no new graphemes are introduced. The main aim of this level is to consolidate the children’s knowledge in learning to read and spell words with adjacent consonants e.g. trap, string, milk. Children also learn polysyllabic words and learn to read and spell more tricky words.

By the end of Level 3, children will have had the opportunities to:

  • give the phoneme when shown any Level 2 or Level 3 grapheme

  • find any Level 2 or Level 3 grapheme when given the phoneme

  • blend and read words containing adjacent consonants as well as segment and spell words containing adjacent consonants such as, ‘sand’, ‘bench’ and ‘flight

  • read the tricky words - some, one, said, come, do, so, were, when, have, there, out, like, little, what & spell the tricky words - he, she, we, me, be, was, my, you, here, they, all, are;

  • write each letter, usually using the correct formation

  • orally segment words into phonemes

Level 5 - Year 1

Children are introduced to alternative spellings for phonemes throughout the year. E.g. they already know ‘ai’ as in rain from Level 3 but will now also be introduced to ‘ay’ as in crayon and ‘a-e’ as in make.

They also learn alternative pronunciations for graphemes e.g. ‘ea’ as in tea, head and break as well as being introduced to prefixes and suffixes.

By the end of Level 5, children will have had the opportunities to:

  • give the phoneme, when shown any grapheme that has been taught

  • for any given phoneme, write the common graphemes

  • apply phonics knowledge and skills as the primary approach to reading and spelling unfamiliar words that are not completely decodable

  • read and spell phonically decodable two-syllable and three syllable words such as ‘dolphin’ and ‘fantastic’;

  • read automatically all taught tricky and common exception words

  • accurately spell all the Level 2, 3 and 4 tricky words and most of the common exception words for reading

  • form each letter correctly

  • use alternative ways of pronouncing and representing the long vowel phonemes

Level 6 - Year 2

During Level 6, children will continue to learn more alternative graphemes for known phonemes as well as alternative pronunciations for known graphemes. There also is also a focus developing children's knowledge of spelling patterns and best-guess grapheme selection. Furthermore, children are introduced to homophones/near homophones (words that sound the same but are spelt differently), contractions (could not --> couldn't ) and begin to understand different grammar rules.

By the end of Level 6, children will have had the opportunities to:

  • read accurately most words of two or more syllables

  • read most words containing common suffixes

  • read most common exception words

  • read most words accurately, in age-appropriate books, without overt sounding and blending, fluent enough to allow them to focus on their understanding rather than on decoding individual words

  • sound out most unfamiliar words accurately, without undue hesitation

  • segment spoken words into phonemes and represent these by graphemes, spelling many of these words correctly and making phonetically plausible attempts at others

  • spell most common exception words correctly


Our Keywords are a system that allows children to learn tricky words and the Year 1/2 common exception words from the National Curriculum at home alongside learning them in phonics lessons. Children take home a set of words at their level and progress through the sets. These are checked weekly so that children move on quickly once they are secure. Once children have reached the end of the sets for reading, they begin them for spelling.


Below are a selection of resources that can be used at home.

Phonics Play

This website uses games to support children's understanding of phonics from all levels including pseudo words to support the Year 1 Phonics Check.

Mr Thorne Does Phonics

Mr Thorne along with Geraldine the Giraffe explore different phonemes and recap knowledge from Levels 2-5.

Spelling Play

This website provides games and activities linked to spelling patterns and punctuation for reading and writing within the Year 2 curriculum.

twinkl phonics.pdf