What Phonics Is Taught In Year One?

Written by Dan

Phonics is an essential tool in teaching children to read and write, forming the foundation of literacy.

During the first year of school, children are introduced to various phonics concepts that help them decode words and understand language structure.

This article will walk you through the key phonics skills your child will learn in Year One, including letter recognition, sound association, blending sounds, and more.

Understanding these can help you support your child’s reading journey at home and ensure they are on track with their learning. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Phonics in Year One

What if we told you that the foundation of a child’s reading journey begins with understanding phonics? Yes, that’s right!

The first year of school presents an exciting opportunity for children to dive into the magical world of letters and sounds, and this is where Phonics in Year One comes into play.

The Year One Phonics curriculum is designed to be both engaging and educational, providing a comprehensive guide to letter-sound relationships.

It’s not just about memorizing alphabets; it’s about understanding how these alphabets work together to form words we use every day.

The curriculum is structured around several key areas:

  1. Letter Recognition: This is all about identifying both uppercase and lowercase letters. Remember, it’s not just about the names of the letters, but also their shapes and sounds!
  2. Sound Association: Here, children learn to associate each letter with its corresponding sound. Who knew that ‘a’ could sound so different in ‘apple’ and ‘cake’?
  3. Blending Sounds: This step involves combining individual sounds to form words. It’s like a fun puzzle, where ‘c-a-t’ comes together to make ‘cat’.
  4. Segmenting Words: Just as we blend sounds to form words, we can also break down words into their individual sounds. This helps in spelling and reading unfamiliar words.
  5. Tricky Words: These are words that don’t follow the usual phonics rules. But don’t worry, we’ve got special strategies to tackle these!

Each of these areas is introduced in an approachable, step-by-step manner, ensuring that children feel supported and encouraged throughout their Phonics journey. After all, learning should never be a race, but a delightful exploration of new skills and knowledge.

So, are you ready to embark on this exciting phonics adventure with your little ones? Together, we can make their first year of school a memorable and rewarding experience.


Key Phonics Skills Learned in Year One

Navigating the world of phonics can seem like an intricate labyrinth to the untrained eye. However, once we break it down, it becomes a systematic journey of discovery and learning. Let’s delve into the four crucial skills that form the foundation of the Phonics curriculum in Year One.

  1. Letter Recognition: As simple as it may sound, letter recognition is the cornerstone of literacy. It involves understanding and identifying individual letters in their uppercase and lowercase forms. This skill is not just about visual recognition; it’s about associating each letter with its name, shape, and position in the alphabet.
  2. Sound Association: Remember when we said that ‘a’ could sound different in ‘apple’ and ‘cake’? That’s where sound association comes into play. This skill involves associating each letter with its respective sound(s), helping children decode words by simply listening to their sounds.
  3. Blending Sounds: Imagine a set of building blocks, each representing a different sound. Now, stack them together to form a structure, or in this case, a word. That’s blending sounds for you! This skill involves combining individual sounds fluently to form words, paving the way for confident reading.
  4. Segmenting Words: If blending sounds is about building words, then segmenting words is about deconstructing them. It involves breaking down words into their individual sounds, which aids in spelling and understanding the phonetic structure of words.

Each of these skills holds a unique place in the Phonics curriculum, carefully designed to take children on a structured yet exciting journey of language exploration.

The beauty of this journey lies not just in the destination but in the process of learning, discovering, and growing along the way. It’s not just about teaching children to read; it’s about sparking a lifelong love for reading.

Techniques for Teaching Phonics in Year One

Navigating through the world of phonics doesn’t have to be a tedious task. With the right techniques and a dash of creativity, it can transform into an exciting adventure.

Let’s explore two effective strategies that can make this journey engaging and fruitful for children in Year One.

  1. Use of Phonics Games and Activities: Who said learning can’t be fun? Phonics games and activities are a fantastic way to introduce children to the world of sounds and letters. They stimulate their curiosity, enhance their understanding, and reinforce their learning in a lively and interactive manner. From simple letter-sound matching games to complex word-building puzzles, the array of options is vast. It’s all about choosing the right game that caters to the child’s learning style and pace. Remember, the goal is not just to teach but to inspire a love for learning.
  2. Incorporating Phonics into Daily Reading and Writing: Learning phonics shouldn’t be confined to specific ‘phonics lessons’. Instead, integrating it into daily reading and writing activities can significantly enhance its effectiveness. When children see phonics in action, they understand its practical application and relevance. For instance, while reading a story, pause and break down difficult words into individual sounds. During writing activities, encourage them to sound out words before writing. This strategy not only reinforces their phonics skills but also boosts their confidence as budding readers and writers.

How Parents Can Support Phonics Learning at Home

As parents, we all desire to nurture our children’s learning journey beyond the boundaries of the classroom. But how can we do this effectively, especially regarding phonics?

The answer lies in reinforcing phonics learning at home through thoughtful strategies and consistent support.

  1. Create a Literacy-Rich Environment: Surround your child with books, alphabet toys, letter magnets, and more. This exposure will naturally pique their curiosity about letters and sounds.
  2. Make Reading a Daily Habit: Whether it’s a bedtime story or an afternoon reading session, make sure to incorporate reading into their everyday routine. Use this opportunity to highlight the phonics elements in the text.
  3. Play Phonics Games: Turn learning into a fun activity with phonics games. From sound-matching games to letter hunts, the options are endless.
  4. Encourage Sound-Out Writing: When your child is writing, encourage them to sound out the words. This practice reinforces their understanding of phonics.
  5. Patience and Praise: Learning phonics is a gradual process. Be patient, offer plenty of praise, and celebrate each milestone to keep their motivation levels high.


Embarking on the phonics journey in Year One is a critical step in a child’s educational journey. It lays the groundwork for their reading and writing skills, paving the way for future academic success.

However, the importance of phonics goes beyond academics; it’s about unlocking the magic of words and instilling a lifelong love for reading.

As we’ve explored, teaching phonics isn’t confined to the classroom. Parents can play a crucial role in reinforcing phonics learning at home, making it a more enriching and enjoyable experience for the child.

From playing phonics games to incorporating reading into daily routines, there are numerous ways to support your child’s learning journey.

So, as we conclude, let’s remember that the journey of phonics in Year One isn’t a solo expedition. It’s a collaborative adventure, where educators and parents come together to guide the child through the exciting world of letters and sounds.

So, let’s embrace this journey with enthusiasm, patience, and commitment, ensuring every child discovers the joy of reading and writing through phonics.

Frequently Asked Questions

What phonics do you learn in Year 1?

In Year 1, children are introduced to the foundational elements of phonics. They learn key skills such as letter recognition, sound association, blending sounds to form words, and segmenting words into individual sounds. These skills pave the way for fluent reading and confident writing.

What phonics level should Year 1 be?

By the end of Year 1, children should ideally master all single letter sounds and many common digraphs (two letters that make one sound like ‘sh’ or ‘ch’). They should be able to blend these sounds to read words and segment words into their individual sounds for spelling. However, it’s important to remember that children learn at different paces, and that’s perfectly okay.

What phonics should be taught first?

The journey of learning phonics typically begins with letter recognition. Children are first introduced to individual letters and their associated sounds. This includes both uppercase and lowercase forms of the letters. Once they’re familiar with these, they move on to more complex elements like blending sounds and segmenting words.

What is basic phonics for Class 1?

Basic phonics for Class 1 revolves around understanding the relationship between letters and sounds. It involves recognizing individual letters, associating them with their respective sounds, blending these sounds to form words, and breaking down words into individual sounds. This lays the foundation for future reading and writing skills.

How can parents support phonics learning at home?

Parents can play an active role in their child’s phonics learning journey. Creating a literacy-rich environment, incorporating reading into daily routines, playing phonics games, encouraging sound-out writing, and practicing patience and praise are effective strategies to reinforce phonics learning at home.

What are some useful resources for teaching phonics in Year 1?

There are numerous resources available to aid the teaching of phonics. These include phonics games and activities, flashcards, phonics books, online apps, and websites dedicated to phonics learning. Choosing the right resource depends on the child’s learning style and pace.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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