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What is Phonics?


Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully.

They are taught how to:

  • recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  • identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’;
  • and blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
  • Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see.
  • This is the first important step in learning to read.
  • We use the Letters and Sounds and New Year 1 and 2 phonic resources.

What is the Phonics Screening Check?


  • The phonics screening check is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonics knowledge. 


  • Your child will be asked to read 40 words aloud.


  • Your child may have read some of the words before, while others will be completely new.


What are alien words?


  • The check will contain a mix of real words and ‘alien words’ (or ‘nonsense words’). Your child will be told before the check that there will be alien words that he or she will not have seen before. Many children will be familiar with this because many schools already use ‘alien words’ when they teach phonics.


  • Alien words are important to include because words such as ‘vap’ or ‘jound’ are new to all children. Children cannot read the alien words by using their memory or vocabulary; they have to use their decoding skills. This is a fair way to assess their ability to decode.
Picture 1

Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds (British English)

Listen to the 42 letter sounds of Jolly Phonics, spoken in British English. Each letter sound is clearly spoken twice, before an example word is given.

Jolly Phonics Songs

The Jolly Phonics songs in order. A great way to introduce your child to phonics in a fun way.

Phonics Long Term Overview