Carter's Charity Primary School

Phonics / Spelling

The Teaching of Phonics at Carter's Charity Primary School


We teach phonics and early reading skills using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ approach. You may have heard this referred to as Synthetic Phonics. Synthetic phonics is the breaking down of words into their separate sound components known as phonemes. Phonemes can consist of more than one letter for example ch, oo, er, igh etc.


In our teaching we discuss elements such as:

  • Digraphs: these are two letters making a single sound eg: ar, ee, ou etc.
  • Trigraphs are three letters making a single sound eg: igh.
  • A grapheme is a phoneme written down.


Segmenting is where you break each word into its separate phoneme, for example ‘ship’ has 3 phonemes, sh/i/p. This is the skill required when writing. Blending is simply putting those sounds back together to form a word – this is the skill needed when reading, e.g, c/a/t = ‘cat’.


There are 6 phases within Letters & Sounds and most children will complete Phase 6 by the end of Year 2, however this can continue into Year 3 if required. The children’s progress at each phase is carefully tracked. We follow the order of Letters and Sounds but supplemented with other activities to enhance and embed learning. We teach Phonics through quality first teaching using a consistent approach across all classes. We track progress and attainment in Letters and Sounds each term or at the end of a phase as appropriate and provide intervention where necessary to support blending, segmenting and also for the Yr 1 Phonics test. Children in Yr 1 are given a phonics activity for a morning task to embed learning; this incorporates practicing the previous sounds taught and applying in a sentence. Those identified as needing support are aided by a TA.


Some words in the English language cannot be broken down into separate phonemes. These words are known as tricky words and we teach the children to be able to read and know the whole word, for example, ‘said’ or ‘what’. We have clear and comprehensive lists of these words which are taken from the requirements of ‘Letters and Sounds’ and also the National Curriculum word lists for each ‘stage’. Children are assessed throughout the whole school on their knowledge of the word lists and the spelling rules.


Phonics and reading are embedded into our English teaching, where applicable spellings and vocabulary make learning meaningful.