Bishop Aldhelm's CE

Primary School

Loved by God; United in Learning


Phonics (Essential Letters & Sounds)

Essential Letters and Sounds is the scheme that we use at Bishop Aldhelm's to support the systematic teaching of phonics. Children begin the Essential Letters and Sounds programme at the start of the Foundation year and continue across Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2). Every child in Foundation and Year 1 has a 20/25 minute phonics session every morning. For children who are not secure in their phonics leaving Year 1, individual interventions are put in place to tailor their support to develop their early reading skills. 

The Essential Letters and Sounds programme is separated into six Phases - your child's teacher will be able to tell you which Phase your child is currently working on.

For each Phase there is a brief explanation of what is taught and a selection of resources (word cards, games & record sheets) which you can be used to support your child's learning.

If you require any further support, please come into school and speak with your child's class teacher or our English Leader, Mrs Davis.

Phonics Glossary

We hope the following glossary is useful to you when using our Letters and Sounds pages. Always feel free to come in and talk to us if you require any further support.


Blending is the skill of joining sounds together to read words. Children are taught to say the separate sounds in a word and to then blend them together to decode the word.


 A digraph is a sound that is represented by two letters e.g. the sound 'a' in rain is represented by the digraph 'ai'.


A grapheme is a visual representation of a sound e.g. a letter or a group of letters.

Some sounds are represented by a single letter whilst others are represented by more than one letter.


 A phoneme is a unit of sound e.g. the word 'cat' contains three phonemes; c - a - t.


 Segmenting is the opposite of blending. Children are taught to segment a word into its separate sounds in order to spell it.

 split digraph

 A split digraph is a digraph that is separated by other letters e.g. the sound 'a' in the word take is represented by the split digraph a-e.

Pronouncing Phonics

Please look at the video at the side of the webpage to help you pronounce the pure sounds (phonemes) that your child will be using.




play: How to pronounce pure sounds - Oxford Owl How to pronounce pure sounds - Oxford Owl

How to pronounce pure sounds - Oxford Owl