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We are a 'Bug Club' school!

Phonics at Gateway

Vision Statement

Synthetic Phonics and Spelling are taught in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 through 'Bug Club'. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children with a national expectation of starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven. 

Phonics at Gateway offers children an opportunity to: 

  • Tune into sounds and discriminate between different types of sounds.
  • Hear the initial, middle and end sounds in words.
  • Learn the different sounds that each letter (or combination of letters) makes (graphemes and phonemes).
  • Blend sounds together to read words.
  • Segment words into their separate sounds in order to write them.
  • Read and understand sentences.
  • Write sentences using the sounds they have learnt.
  • Learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
  • Learn spelling patterns including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters.

Phonics lessons at Gateway encourage children to:

  • Acquire the skills needed to become an independent reader and writer.
  • Become confident to use their phonics skills in both reading and writing.
  • Apply phonics in a range of contexts so that they can transfer these skills to other areas of the curriculum.

Phonics Phases

There are six overlapping phases which are summarized below:


Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One(Nursery/Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two(Reception) up to 6 weeks

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three(Reception) up to 12 weeks

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four(Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five(Throughout Year 1)

Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six(Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.


Children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 use a range of different published book schemes to support the learning of reading including: Oxford Reading Tree, Phonics Bug, Collins Big Cat and Project X. Children are given decodable books to take home which are matched to their current development in phonics as well as a chosen book from the class library to read for pleasure.