"Phonemic awareness is fundamental to early success in reading and writing … An understanding of phonics also underpins children's literacy learning. Children need to learn, through deliberate, focused instruction, which letters represent which sounds."

Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1–4
(2003, p.32) Wellington: Ministry of Education


Quick links




To be able to decode, children need a range of basic phonics strategies so they can easily work out new words in reading and spelling.

Firstly, they need to have good phonological awareness and be able to hear and discriminate sound, and hear rhyme and rhythm, alliteration and sound breaks. They need to be able to hear, read and write the phonemes of the English language. And they need to be skilled in blending and segmenting these phonemes for use in reading and spelling.

Effective literacy programmes include daily explicit teaching of these phonic skills in the junior classroom, with individual or small group lessons for older children who are still at the earlier levels of literacy acquisition.


Phonics checklist

Can my pupils:

• hear the phonemes and can read and write the phoneme and grapheme correspondences?

• hear and record the first sound in a word? The last sound? The middle sounds?

• identify phonemes?

• hear, read and write the short and long vowel phonemes?

• blend phonemes together to read a new word?

• segment a word into phonemes for spelling?


Click below to learn how to explicitly teach these skills.


Watch a lesson

Watch Yolanda teach letter and sounds correspondences (Phonics: Stage 2)