What is Phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. Children are taught how to recognise the sounds each individual letter makes and to identify the sounds that different contributions of letters make such as ‘sh’ and ‘oo’. Children are taught to read by breaking down words into separate sounds or ‘phonemes’. They are then taught how to blend these sounds together to read the whole word.

At Blackgates Primary School we teach phonics, following the Letters and Sounds Programme.

Why Phonics?

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way, starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to more complex sounds, it an effective way of teaching children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5‐7.

Who is it for?

All Year 1 pupils will take the phonics screening check in 2022 during the week commencing Monday 6th June.

What is in the phonics screening check?

It comprises of a list of 40 words and nonsense words. It will assess phonics skills and knowledge learnt through reception and year 1. Your child will read one‐one with a teacher. It will be your child’s current teacher so it is a familiar face. They will be asked to ‘sound out’ a word and blend the sounds together. The check is very similar to tasks the children already complete during phonics lessons.

What are Nonsense or Pseudo words and why are they included?

These are words that are phonetically decodable but not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb. These words are included in the check specifically to assess whether you child can decode a word using phonic skills and not their memory. The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. The children will be asked what the aliens name is by reading the word. This will make the check a bit more fun and provides the children with a context for the nonsense word. Crucially it does not provide any clues, so your child has to be able to decode it.

How can I help my child?

There are a number of things that parents can do to support early reading development:

  • Let your child see you enjoy reading yourself.
  • They are influenced by you and what you do! Immerse your child in a love of reading.
  • Make time for your child to read their school book to you.
  • With all books, encourage your child to ‘sound out’ unfamiliar words and then blend from the left.
  • We will send home practice materials with your child. Please practise these with them at home. Don’t worry if they find it difficult, it is important not to put pressure on them.
  • There are many phonic games for children to access on the internet (see website list below). 


How do I know my child is pronouncing the sounds correctly? Click here to find out

Click here to download the Year 1 Phonics Meeting presentation 2019



Useful Phonics Websites


Lots of information and guidance for parents/carers.



A selection of interactive games for all phonic phases. Mostly simple games.



A great selection of games that link well with games in Letters and Sounds.



Printable resources for each of the Letters and Sounds phonic phases, also links to games aligned with each phase.



Letter names come up in alphabetical order.



Activities for all phases.



Phonic game with choice of difficulty (some HFWs, some vowel blends, very varied).



Make any words with this useful game.



Useful page which demonstrates pronunciation of all sounds.



A selection of interactive games for all phonic phases.