English – Phonics

Phonics at Thorndown

Subject Leader: Mrs Browne (Year 2 Teacher)


Here at Thorndown we teach daily phonics lessons in EYFS, KS1 and to some pupils in KS2. At our school we follow one systematic synthetic phonics programme (an SSP) to ensure there is consistent coverage across all year groups to allow children to make good progress in reading and spelling. We play lots of different phonic games which help us understand how sounds make words and we use words to make sentences. We use the Interactive Whiteboard to play games and learn new phonemes and graphemes. In Year 1 we know that some sounds can be written more than one way. These games have been made into boxes for the children to use during Enhanced Provision to consolidate their learning. Once children have completed the programme they move onto daily spelling lessons following the Essential Spelling programme (Herts for Learning). This starts in Year 2 and continues through the school to Year 6. 

What is synthetic phonics?

It is a technical name! The synthetic part refers to synthesising or blending sounds to make a word.  Phonics is a method of teaching children how spoken words are composed of sounds called phonemes and how the letters in words correspond to those phonemes.

The process of reading involves decoding or ‘breaking’ words into separate phonemes, so that meaning can be gained.  On the other hand, the process of spelling requires the writer to identify all the phonemes in a word and then use their knowledge of the phonemic code to write or ‘make’ the word.

English is essentially a code that can be encoded (written) and decoded (read). We need to teach children this code with as much emphasis as possible on the rules and regularities of the written language.


Please click on the link below to see how phonics progresses at Thorndown. 

Phonics Progression Map


What is a phoneme? 

It is the smallest unit of sound and a piece of terminology that children like to use and should be taught.

What is a digraph? 

This is when two or more letters come together to make a phoneme e.g. /oa/ makes the sound in boat.

What is blending? 

Blending is the process that is involved in bringing the sounds together to make a word or a syllable and is how /c/a/t/ becomes cat.


Mrs Browne has put together a short video showing how to pronounce each sound.

Blending Slide

To help your child with blending sounds together please follow this link to see Mrs Browne using the ‘Blending Slide.’

Blending Slide – Click to view!


Below are some resources you may find useful.

Phonics for Parents

Phonics Screening Check – Guide for Parents

Sound Mats

Spellings Guide for Parents

Sound Families