Play Makes Sense Phonics Activity Cards displayed on a shelf

What is Phonics?

What is Phonics?

Play Makes Sense Phonics Cards on a table, next to an alphabet poster

What is phonics?

Phonics is a way of helping children to read
and write by teaching them the 44 sounds in
the English language and the letters used to
write each sound. It is a great way to help
children begin to read and write quickly and
with confidence. 

Phonics is split into six phases. Each phase
teaches a different skill which will help
children become successful readers and

Throughout their phonics journey children
will become more confident at recognising
the sounds that different letters make and
will become experts at blending and

A mum playing a phonics game with her two children. The children and mum are all smiling and happy.
Phonological awareness 

Phase 1

Phase 1 introduces children to listening to and
hearing different sounds. Phase 1 lays the
foundation skills for all of the higher phases.

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Mum and child sitting on the floor playing a Phase 2 phonics activity together.
Single letter sounds

Phase 2

Phase 2 introduces children to 20 letters and
their corresponding sounds. Children use
these letters to read and write simple
CVC words (words with a consonant, a vowel
and then a consonant).

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Play Makes Sense Phase 3 Phonics Activity Cards on a table. The top card reads x is for T-Rex. There is a paper dinosaur next to the cards.

Digraphs and trigraphs 

Phase 3

Phase 3 introduces children to 25 letter
combinations and their corresponding sounds.
Many of the sounds taught in this phase are
digraphs and trigraphs. Children use these
letters to read and write words.

A child playing a phonics game from the Play Makes Sense Phase 4 Phonics Activity Cards. The child is using a straw to blow pom poms into cups with words written on them.

Adjacent consonants and polysyllabic words

Phase 4

Phase 4 introduces children to
consonant blend words, polysyllabic words
and reading and writing sentences.


Phase 5 Phonics box with cards spilling out onto table

Alternative graphemes

Phase 5

Phase 5 introduces children to
alternative graphemes. Children use
these alternative graphemes to read
and write sentences.

A child lying on the floor, reading a book. There is a bookshelf behind her and she is surrounded by books as well.

Tenses, suffixes, prefixes
and spelling rules

Phase 6

Phase 6 introduces children to spelling rules.
Children learn how to use
past and present tenses and how to add
and suffixes. Children begin to read
and write longer texts.

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