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 Early Years Foundation Stage

 Phonics and Reading



 The Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage. (EYFS)


At St Joseph’s Catholic Primary we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum.


In the EYFS we will teach:

  • Through the three prime areas of learning: Personal, Social and Emotional development; Communication and Language; and Physical Development
  • Along with four specific areas of learning:  Literacy; Mathematics; Expressive Arts and Design; and Understanding the World


We will promote learning through creating an engaging, positive environment whilst providing a wide opportunity for your child to learn through fun, purposeful play. At each stage of your child’s development, their teacher will identify the stage they are on through observations and will then support them to progress further at their own pace.  Reception and Nursery learn through a mixture of adult–led and child initiated learning, both of which are important in your child’s development.


The Reception and Nursery teachers plan the learning opportunities through topics and themes (see our Parent Planners).  Our learning objectives are planned in both the outdoor and classroom environments.  You will receive information about these each half term so that you can support your child’s learning.


If you would like to know more about the EYFS please any of the Reception or Nursery staff or click on the links below:


Parent information:





At St Josephs we follow both the Letters and Sounds Document published by the Government and supplement this with Jolly Phonics.


What is Jolly Phonics?

Jolly Phonics teaches the letter sounds in an enjoyable, multi sensory way and enables children to use them to read and write words.

What is the 'Letters and Sounds' document?

This is a scheme used to build the foundation for reading and writing. Please see the Parent guide below as a guide to help you support your child.

Why do we use these schemes?

These schemes help your child learn synthetic phonics- helping your child to hear and say the sounds as they appear in words. 

Please click on the link below to hear how we teach the sounds to the children.


Parents’ Guide to Phonics

A guide to how phonics will help your child to read and spell.

Letters and Sounds is a fun and interactive way to support children in learning how to read and write. Initially, for the children to learn their sounds we use a programme called Jolly Phonics. Jolly Phonics represents each sound with an action helping children to remember both more easily.
The alphabet contains only 26 letters. Spoken English uses about 44 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). In other words, a sound can be represented by a letter (e.g. ‘s’ or ‘h’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘th’ or ‘ear’).
Once children begin learning sounds, they are used quickly to read and spell words.  This leaflet provides an overview of the teaching of letters and sounds at Lovelace, to help you support your child.

There are six phases of letters and sounds taught from Nursery to Year 2.  Phase 1 begins in Nursery, phases 2, 3 and 4 are taught in Reception and consolidated in Year 1. Children are then taught phase 5 in Year 1 and phase 6 in Year 2.

What do all the technical words mean?

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.  At first it will equate with a letter sound but later on will include the digraphs.  For example `rain’ has three phonemes, / r  / ai  / n.

What is a grapheme?

A grapheme is a letter or a number of letters that represent a sound (phoneme) in a word. Another way to explain it is to say that a grapheme is a letter or letters that spell a sound in a word. E.g. /ee/,/ ea/, /ey/ all make the same phoneme but are spelt differently.

What is a digraph?

This is when two or more letters come together to make a phoneme. /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.
To learn to read well children must be able to smoothly blend sounds together. Blending sounds fluidly helps to improve fluency when reading. Blending is more difficult to do with longer words so learning how to blend          accurately from an early age is imperative.
Showing your child how to blend is important. Model how to ‘push’ sounds smoothly together without stopping at each individual sound.

What is segmenting?

Segmenting is a skill used in spelling. In order to spell the word cat, it is necessary to segment the word into its constituent sounds; c-a-t.
Children often understand segmenting as ‘chopping’ a word. Before writing a word young children need time to think about it, say the word several times, ‘chop’ the word and then write it. Once children have written the same word several times they won’t need to use these four steps as frequently.  

Children will enjoy spelling if it feels like fun and if they feel good about themselves as spellers. We need, therefore, to be playful and positive in our approach – noticing and praising what children can do as well as helping them to correct their mistakes.
What are tricky words?

Tricky words are words that cannot be ‘sounded-out’ but need to be learned by heart. They don’t fit into the usual spelling patterns. Examples of these words are attached under each phase. In order to read simple sentences, it is necessary for children to know some words that have unusual or untaught spellings. It should be noted that, when teaching these words, it is important to always start with sounds already known in the word, then focus on the 'tricky' part.

What are high frequency words?

High frequency (common) are words that recur frequently in much of the written material young children read and that they need when they write.
What are CVC words?

CVC stands for consonant- vowel- consonant, so and word such as map, cat is CVC. In phase 4 we talk about CCVC words such as clip, stop. 

Phase 1

Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.

Phase 2

In Phase 2, letters and their sounds are introduced one at a time.  A set of letters is taught each week, in the following sequence:
Set 1 : s,a,t,p
Set 2: i,n,m,d
Set 3: g,o,c,k
Set 4: ck,e,u,r
Set 5: h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss

The children will begin to learn to blend and segment to begin reading and spelling.  This will begin with simple words.

Tricky words introduced in Phase 2:

the to I
go into no

Phase 3

By the time they reach Phase 3, children will already be able to blend and segment words containing the 19 letters taught in Phase 2.
Over the twelve weeks which Phase 3 is expected to last, twenty-five new graphemes are introduced (one at a time).

Set 6 : j,v,w,x
Set 7: y,z,zz,qu

Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng
Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er

Tricky words introduced in Phase 3:

we me be was no go  
my you they her all are



Please use the documents below for some other ideas to help your child to read.





Recently, the school has invested in a range of resources to support the children’s learning and development of conceptual understanding in mathematics. The main resource we have purchased is Numicon.


Numicon is a range of multi-sensory maths resources using imagery, models and signs to raise mathematical achievement.

These resources help children to develop fluency by using a visual, practical base to develop conceptual understanding and fluent recall.

It helps children to reason mathematically through the use of concrete objects and spoken language to explain and justify.

It will also help children to develop into confident problem solvers since it provides them with visual a stimulus to support their reasoning communication.

Finally, Numicon can help us make confident and competent mathematicians, as well as making learning fun and interactive.


The Oxford University Press explains how Numicon can help children learn in their video 'Making numbers real'.


Our Maths Co-Ordinator, has found a list of useful websites to support your child's learning through using Numicon.