Phonics at Burscough Village Primary School

Phonics is taught in Early Years and Key Stage One as part of a planned programme with the aims being:

  • To equip children to become readers for life
  • To equip the children to become effective spellers
  • To encourage children to see learning to spell as part of the process of learning to write
  • To understand word construction
  • To develop vocabulary and the ability to explore word
  • To apply phonic knowledge to reading and writing

Teaching and Learning

High quality phonic work is taught systematically. Letters and Sounds is used as the bases for planning activities within the appropriate Phase. The teacher uses a range of other resources and interactive games to enhance teaching and learning. In the Early Years and Year One, children are taught in groups according to their current stage of learning in phonics.

Phonics is a planned session that takes place for 20 minutes every day within the Early Years and Year One. During the sessions, children are taught:

  • Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence (GPC) in a clearly defined sequence
  • The skill of blending sounds to read words
  • The skill of segmenting words into their constituent phonemes to spell
  • That blending and segmenting are reversible skills

Children are encouraged to use the knowledge they have acquired in their phonics sessions in their reading and writing activities. As such, reading books in the Early Years and Key Stage One are linked to the Letters and Sounds phonics phases.

Letters and Sounds Phases

Phase One

This phase supports the development of speaking and listening skills.

Phase Two

This is the start of the systematic phonic work. Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence (GPC) is introduced. The children learn to segment whole words and to select letters to represent the phonemes through either writing the letters or using magnetic letters to encode words.

Phase Three

This phase completes the teaching of the single-letter sounds and then moves on to sounds represented by more than one letter, learning one representation for each of the 44 phonemes.

Phase Four

In this stage, the children start to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants and polysyllabic words. There are no new phonemes taught within this phase.

Phase Five

Teaching and learning within this phase focuses upon alternative spellings for phonemes. 

Tricky Words and High-Frequency Words

Throughout each of the phases the children are taught the relevant tricky words and high-frequency words.


Children's progress in phonics is regularly assessed. They may be asked to read a range of words appropriate to the phase being taught and teachers will always be looking for evidence of phonics being applied in written work. Information from the assessments is put into the transfer file that is passed on to the next teacher at the end of the year.

In June, children in Year One take a statutory test in phonics called the Phonics Screening Check. This test is conducted on a one to one basis with the class teacher. The children are asked to read a selection of real and made up words based upon the phases outlined above. The results of these tests are reported to parents. Children who do not meet the required standard in this assessment, undertake an intensive programme of interventions using Lancashire Fast Track Phonics before retaking the screening the following June.

Useful Phonics Websites to Explore at Home

  • Mr Thorne publishes phonics videos for children to watch at home.
  • Phonics Play has a number of free phonics games for children.
  • Many children enjoy learning about phonics through Alphablocks.
  • Oxford Owl provides information for parents about supporting children with phonics.
  • Teach Your Monster to Read is a free phonics app that can be downloaded onto a tablet.

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From Year 2 to Year 6 we use the No Nonsense Spelling Programme.  The focus of the programme is on the teaching of spelling, which embraces knowledge of spelling conventions – patterns and rules; but integral to the teaching is the opportunity to promote the learning of spellings, including statutory words, common exceptions and personal spellings.

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Exception words are words in which the English spelling rules works in an unusual or uncommon way.  

Below are Year 1 and Year 2 Common Exception Words that your child will be learning at school.

There are also Year 3 & 4 and Year 5 & 6 word lists that are statutory from the National Curriculum.

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Fun Ways to Learn Spellings

  • Spelling Word Memory: Create a double set of word cards and play a game of Spelling Word Memory by spreading out the cards face down and then taking turns flipping two cards at a time to find a pair!
  • Flip 4 Steps: In just 4 steps, your child can practice reading, spelling, and writing his words.Have him flip over a word card, look at the word, say it out loud, say the letters, then flip it back over, and write the word on paper.
  • Trace, copy and hide: Fold three columns on a piece of paper, and label one column ‘trace’, the next ‘copy’ and the last ‘recall’. Write the word in the first column, and have your child trace the letters.Next have her copy the word by looking at what she’s just written.Finally, have her fold (and hide) the first two columns and recall the spelling on her own as she writes the word independently.
  • Spelling Word Race: Create two teams, with a player from each team taking the ‘pen’ at a time.Teacher (or parent) calls out a word from the list and players race to write the word.
  • Spelling Puzzle: Make a home-made puzzle by writing each word in large letters on card and then having the child cut each card apart.The fun is in putting the puzzle back together!
  • Stairsteps: Write the words as if they are stairs, adding one letter at a time.






  • Noughts and Crosses: There are a ton of cool ways to play with this old game! Create a larger-sized board and play tic-tac-toe where each player uses a spelling word OR have each player use an ‘X’ or ‘O’ but in order to place a markon the board, she has to spell a word correctly.
  • Window Write: All you need is special window-safe crayons to use and Window-Writing makes learning spelling words totally crazy and so much fun!
  • Spelling Bingo: Kind of like Bingo but with letters, words or numbers!
  • Flip and Rainbow Write: Flip a word card and have your child go through the rainbow, painting or writing each word flipped in rainbow colours.  Make the first word red, second orange, third yellow etc OR write each letter in a colour of the rainbow.
  • Paint with Water: Use water and a paintbrush to water paint the spelling words on a hot, sunny day.  The words disappear quickly—so spellers have to move fast!
  • Type it Out: Open up a Word document and have your child type the spelling words on the screen as you call them out.  Enlarge the font or make it a cool colour.
  • Spell on Tape: Have your child spell the words into a tape recorder or using the voice recorder on your phone or computer.
  • Video Record: Take a video of your child spelling the words. Have him put on a funny hat, dress-up or use a silly prop to add to the fun.