Like most primary schools, Swainswick uses a method of teaching called ‘synthetic Phonics’ to help children learn to read and spell. On this page you will find information on what synthetic phonics (known to the children as ‘Letters and Sounds’) is and how you can help your child develop this vital skill.


Phonics is one method of teaching children how to read and write.It’s all about sounds. There are 44 sounds in the English language, which we put together to form words. Some are represented by one letter, like ‘t’, and some by two or more, like ‘ck’ in duck and ‘air’ in chair. Children are taught the sounds first, then how to match them to letters, and finally how to use the letter sounds for reading and spelling. Synthetic phonics refers to ‘synthesising’, or blending, the sounds to read words. It’s based on the idea that children should sound out unknown words.


The 44 sounds (phonemes) of the English language, and the way they are written down, are taught one by one. The order of teaching these sounds has been specially developed so that children can start reading complete words as soon as possible. A phonics lesson begins with revising any sounds the children have already been taught. Then the teacher will introduce a new sound and its spelling.


Letters and Sounds – Phases

At Swainswick, we use a blend of 2 teaching scheme called ‘Letters and Sounds’ and ‘Jolly Phonics’ to teach Synthetic Phonics. The ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme is split into 6 Phases with then children starting Phase 1 in Reception and moving through to Phase 6 by Year 2-3.


Helping your child with phonics

This link to some excellent videos made by a teacher called Mr Thorne. Each video relates to the individual sounds and blends which are taught in each phase of ‘Letters and Sounds’. If you are unsure how to help your child with phonics, we recommend looking at the videos which relate to the stage which your child is on as they provide 2 minute guides on how to help your child learn each sound.

Phase 2 Phonic letters



Phase 5 sounds

ay,oy,oo,ie,ei,ue,ew,sh,ch,th,magic e, oe,eigh,ou,oar,au,aw


Phase 3 Phonic sounds


air, ear, ure.


Phase 6 sounds

Spelling patterns & irregular words


Phase 4 Phonic sounds

Consonent Blends


High Frequency words

Tricky words