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At St Bart's, phonics is used to teach pupils to read and spell words.

Children in Reception and Year 1 have a 25-minute phonics session every day.

In Year 2, phonics skills are consolidated and children then move into learning more complex spelling rules and conventions.

We use a phonics scheme called Bug Club Phonics. Watch this introductory video to learn more about what Bug Club Phonics is and why we use it.

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Phonics consists of:

  • Identifying sounds in spoken words.
  • Recognising the common spellings of each phoneme.
  • Blending phonemes into words for reading (m-a-t becomes mat).
  • Segmenting words into phonemes for spelling.


Pupils will learn to use specific terminology from the beginning (and they love it!).

  • A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word (c-a-t, sh-o-p).
  • A grapheme is the phoneme written down. This may consist of one letter (t), two letters (ch) or more than two letters (igh, aigh).
  • A di-graph is a group of two letters that represent one phoneme (ch, sh, ee).
  • A tri-graph is a group of three letters that represent one phoneme (igh, tch, ere).

Each Lesson

The daily phonics lesson follows a clear pattern:

Revisit and review – no new learning; practising what we already know.

Teach – a new phoneme/grapheme correspondence or tricky word(s).
Practise – the new phoneme/grapheme correspondence in individual words; the tricky word(s).

Apply – the new phoneme/grapheme correspondence in individual words; the tricky word(s) into a sentence for reading or writing.


Different phases of phonics are covered in different years.

Phase 1

To develop phonological awareness including the ability to distinguish between sounds, speak clearly and audibly, become familiar with rhyme, rhythm, alliteration.

During Pre-School
Phase 2

To introduce 19 grapheme-phoneme (letter-sound) correspondences.

Phase 3

To teach children one grapheme for each of the remaining 44 phonemes in order to read and spell simple regular words.

Phase 4

To teach children to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants (stop).


Year 1

Phase 5

Teaching children to recognise and use alternative ways of pronouncing the graphemes and spelling the phonemes already taught.

Year 1

Year 2

Phase 6

Teaching children to develop their skill and automaticity in reading and spelling, creating ever-increasing capacity to attend to reading for meaning.

Year 2