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The Marston Thorold's Charity Church of England


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Phonics and Tricky Words

Phonics and Tricky words


At Marston from the start of EYFS  we follow Government guidance, "Little Wandle Letters and Sounds" phonics programme. This is split into 6 phases of phonics teaching (in EYFS the children are taught from phase 1 to 4) and the intention is to "equip children with the phonics knowledge and skills they need to become fluent readers by the age of 7". We know how important it is for parents and teachers to work together to give your child the best start and this is a convenient, consistent and highly effective approach to teaching phonics that is taught at school and can be supported at home.


What is Phonics


The alphabet contains only 26 letters. Spoken English uses approximately 44 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). In other words a sound can be represented by a single letter (e.g., "s" or "p") or a group of letters (e.g., "th" or "igh")


The Phases

Phase 1


This is the beginning of the systematic learning of phonics and usually starts at nursery/pre-school and carries on throughout their whole education. During this phase children explore and experiment with sounds and become familiar with rhyme, rhythm and alliteration. Parents can play a vital role in helping their children develop these skills through sharing books and encouraging them to listen carefully and talk extensively about what they hear see and do.


At this stage the children are also introduced to segmenting and oral blending. This is a vital part of their learning and encourages the children to hear the separate sounds within words.


Oral blending

At first the adults will model this to the children. The separate sounds (phonemes)  are clearly spoken aloud, in order, quickly and are then merged together into the whole words.

Example: m-a-n - man 


Oral segmenting

This is the opposite to oral blending. Here the children hear the whole word before it is then broken into separate sounds.

Example: dog - d-o-g


Phase 2


Phase 2 introduces graphemes (letters)/phonemes (sound) correspondence. Children learn that words are constructed from phonemes and that phonemes are represented by graphemes. They begin with a small selection of common constants and vowels (s, a, t, p, i, n ) and begin to put them together to read and write VC (vowel, consonant) and CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant)

For example - an (a-n) at (a-t) it (i-t)

cat (c-a-t) dog (d-o-g) pin (p-i-n)


Tricky words During this phase the children will be exposed to tricky words; words that cannot be sounded out.

Phase 2 tricky words; I, no, go, is, the, to, into, and, has, his, her, she, he, we, me, be, of


Phase 3


Phase 3 teaches the children one grapheme for each of the 44 phonemes in an order to read and write simple regular words. Children link sounds to letters, naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet. They hear and say sounds in the  order they occur in the words and read simple words by blending the phonemes from left to right. They recognise common digraphs (1 and 2 letters e.g., ai) and trigraphs (1 sound 3  letters e.g. ure)

Example; shell (sh-e-ll) train (t-r-ai-n) pure (p-ure) light (l-igh-t) 


Tricky words; my, was, you, they, all, by, sure, pure, are


Phase 4

Phase 4 teaches the children to read and write words containing adjacent consonants. Children will be able to sound and segment these words and apply this skill when reading and writing. They move from CVC words (pot, sheep) to CVCC words (pots) and CCVC words (spot) and then CCVCC words (spots). They will also explore polysyllabic words (shampoo, helper).


Tricky words ; said, so, do, have, like, some, come, were, there, little, one, when, out, what, love, today, says


We have added Little Wandle Letters and Sounds links and tips with ideas of how you can support  your child at home. If you have any questions, then please do not hesitate to ask. smiley

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds for Parents

The resources on the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds for Parents webpage, will help you support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. There are also some useful videos so you can see how they are taught at school and feel confident about supporting their reading at home. 

Please see the website link below:

Phase 2 Letter Formation/Pronunciation Guide

Phase 2 Letter Formation/Pronunciation Guide