At Old Park Primary School we aim to ensure that all of our children become confident readers and writers. Children need a secure understanding of the letter sound system of the English language to become confident readers. We believe that creating a life-long love of reading in our pupils is incredibly important. We encourage parents to read with their children at home and pupils to change their reading books as often as possible.

How do we teach Phonics at Old Park?

We use the Letters and Sounds Synthetic Phonic Programme on a daily basis from Nursery through KS1 and into KS2 where appropriate. Whilst we follow the Letters and Sounds programme to plan and deliver phonics sessions daily we also tailor our teaching to meet the needs of all of our children.  For more information about letters and sounds please click here.

What is Phonics?

Phonics consists of knowledge of the skills of segmenting and blending, knowledge of the alphabetic code and an understanding of the principles underpinning the way the code is used in reading and spelling.

During phonics lessons children are taught:


A sound in a word


A letter or sequence of letters that represents a phoneme


Children are taught GPCs. This stands for grapheme phoneme correspondences. This means that they are taught all of the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p, i, n. We convert graphemes to phonemes when we are reading aloud (decoding written words) and we convert phonemes to graphemes when we are spelling (encoding words for writing).


Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to join the sounds together. This skill is vital in learning to read.


Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make up the word. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.

Digraphs and Trigraphs (and four letter graphemes)

A digraph is a two letter grapheme where two letters represent one sound such as ea in seat and sh in ship. A trigraph is a three letter grapheme where three letters represent one phoneme e.g. igh in night. A four letter grapheme uses four letters to represent one phoneme e.g. eigh in eight or weight.