What is phonics?

Sounds in spoken language the beginnings of phonics.

At Dee Point Primary School all children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and 2 take part in high quality, daily phonics sessions. These are fun sessions involving lots of speaking, listening and games where the emphasis is on children’s participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading, writing and independent play. From a very early stage, children develop an awareness of different sounds in spoken language. They develop an understanding that spoken words are made up of different sounds (phonemes) and they learn to match these phonemes to letters (graphemes). Phonics is about children knowing how letters link to sounds (graphemes to phonemes), e.g. c as in ‘cat’, ll as in ‘fell’, ee as in ‘sheep’. Children use this phonics knowledge when they are reading and writing. This system has been shown to be a quicker and more efficient way for children to learn to read the words on a page fluently and accurately. This also helps them greatly with their spelling.


At Dee Point Primary, we use the phonics program 'Read Write Inc' to teach children to read. 

Below is an overview of how this program works and develops during your child's journey through early years to the end of year 2. 

Phonics begins in nursery. Teachers plan activities that will help children to listen to sounds around them. Teachers teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs. They read high quality books to and with the children. This helps to increase the number of words children know – their vocabulary – and helps them to talk confidently about books.

Sound Talk

The teacher shows the children how to do this – c-a-t = cat. The separate sounds (phonemes) are spoken aloud, in order and are then merged together into the whole word. The merging together is called blending – it is a vital skill for reading. Children will also learn to do this the other way round – cat = c-a-t. The whole word is spoken aloud, and then broken up into its sounds (phonemes) in order. This is called segmenting – it is a vital skill for spelling. This phase is all oral (spoken). Your child will not be expected to match the letter to the sound at this stage. The emphasis is on helping children to hear the separate sounds in words and to create spoken sounds.

Set 1

In this set, children will practise segmenting and blending. They will also be taught the phonemes (sounds) for a number of letters (graphemes). They will also learn that a phoneme can be represented by more than one letter, e.g. ll as in b-e-ll.m We call these digraphs. In Read Write Inc phonics, the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ – because we want your child to read them effortlessly. Set 1 sounds are the initial letter sounds and some final letter sounds. 

Here is a list of 'speed sounds' your child learns in Set 1

Set 2 

There are 12 Set 2 ‘speed sounds’ that are made up of two (digraphs) or three (trigraphs) letters which represent just one sound, e.g. ay as in play, ee as in tree and igh as in high. When children learn their Set 2 sounds they will learn that letters that represent a speed sound e.g. ay. They will have a  simple picture prompt linked to the ‘speed sound’ and a short phrase to say e.g. may I play.  Every speed sound has a list of green words linked to it, so your child can ‘sound out’ and ‘sound blend’ words containing the new speed sound they have just learnt, for example s-p-r-ay = spray.

Here is a list of 'speed sounds' your child learns in Set 2

Set 3 

When learning their Set 3 speed sounds, they will be taught that there are more ways in which the same sounds are written, e.g. ee as in tree and ea as in tea.

Here is a list of 'speed sounds' your child learns in Set 3.

The table below shows the sound, the associated phrase and example green words in Set 2 & 3. 

sound chart.PNG

Sound chart 2.PNG

The video below shows you how to pronounce each sound. 

Storybook Lessons

The next stage of the Read Write Inc scheme is for children to read storybooks that are closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge. The storybooks consists of green words linked to the sounds they have been learning, red word (words that are not decodable) and challenge words to extend children’s vocabulary. After children have practiced these words individually they are prepared to see them in context in the story. They are then provided with some comprehension questions to then check they have understood what they have read. 

Tricky red words 

In each set, there are a variety of different 'tricky red words' that your child will learn to read. They are called this because these words do not follow the typical sound pattern that they have been taught to do. For example, the word 'was' cannot be segmented (sounded out) because the letter a is making an 'o' sound. They learn these words on sight rather than sounding them out. We use the saying, 'you can't Fred a red'. 

To find out more information and for some helpful guides about ways to support your child's reading at home, click here.

What to do if your child is reluctant to read or write at home:

Ways you can support them.


 · Make sure your child sees you reading

· Read to your child. Show you like the book. Bring stories to life by using loud/soft/scary voices

 · Spread books around your house for your child to dip into.

 · Let your child choose what they would like to read – books, comics, catalogues.

 · Read favourite books over and over again.

Contact the School

Dee Point Primary School

Dee Point Primary School
Blacon Point Road

Main Contact: Admin Team: Mrs Roberts, Mrs Mannion & Mrs Mowles
Absence Contact: Mrs Griffiths
Phone Number: 01244 372631

Tel: 01244 372631

SEN Contact: Mrs H Seddon & Mrs K Carpenter

SEN Email:

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