Phonics Phase 2
It’s your bite size phonics blog post here. Helping you get to grips with the terminology and giving you ideas and games to teach or support the teaching of your child in their phonics journey. This series would also be useful for student teachers who are beginning their phonics teacher training. August 2023 I’ve given this post a little refresh and added some free resources to support phase 2.
If you didn’t catch my first post in the series explaining what a phoneme and a grapheme are you can check it out here. Last post we went through what different phases mean and explained tricky, VC and CVC words – if you didn’t catch it there’s a link here.
This post I’ll be going into a little more detail about phase 2 and basic resources to support.
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When I taught phonics one of the main things that parents would say to me is, “My child doesn’t pronounce some of the sounds correctly – what can I do?” or “My child gets f and th mixed up.” What I want you to know is that these things are completely normal.
The sounds the government expect children to be able to say for their Year 1 phonics screening check are not completely in line with speech development. If you want to know more about the Year 1 screening here’s the link to the government website.
“My child doesn’t pronounce some of the sounds correctly – what can I do?”
Here’s a really useful link to Home Speech Home a great resource for all things speech related and it gives a chart (about half way down) on speech development and at what age children should be able to say sounds. As a parent I found this quite a comforting resource. From this you’ll see that children should be able to say all sounds correctly by 8 to 9 years of age – the phonics screening is completed with 5 and 6 year olds!
So, what I’m trying to say is, don’t worry! Children develop at their own pace. The best thing you can do is to make sure you are modelling language and sounds correctly. If you have any concerns speak to your child’s teacher or a member of your local speech and language team.
What is Phase 2 and SATPIN?
Don’t forget you can check out my last post for what the different phases mean here. Phase 2 is where the phonemes for particular graphemes are introduced. Specifically, s, a, t, p, i, n, m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss. You’ll note some of the graphemes are made up of two letters. These are called digraphs.
Digraph – two letters that make one sound. For example ch, ph, th.
We used to use a Twinkl Phase 2 Sound Mat but it’s become a resource you have to pay for. So, I’ve designed my own and used real pictures. It would be a great phonics sound mat to use if you’re a Montessori inspired family. You can find the FREE download below.
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So why do we teach children SATPIN first?
They’re very common sounds and when you put them together you can blend and segment them to read and write several simple words – SAT – SIT – PAN – PIN – TIP – TAP etc. If you just learnt in order of the alphabet you wouldn’t be able to make as many simple words initially.
Blending – Putting together individual sounds to make words (reading). Before they can do this to read written words they need to be able to blend orally (hearing the sounds to merge them together).
Segmenting – Hearing a word and splitting it up into the individual sounds (phonemes) that make up that word (spelling). Then choosing which grapheme to represent each sound. Finally, forming the letter shapes that make up each grapheme. As you can see spelling is a more complex skill.
Is my child ready for Phase 2?
If your child is at school then it will be the teacher who is deciding when phase 2 teaching begins. However, if you feel your child isn’t ready then do discuss this with them. If your child hasn’t started school yet or you are home educating then you’ll need to carefully observe and listen to whether your child is ready.
It’s important not to confuse an interest in print and the symbols of our alphabet with a readiness. I truly believe that an immersion in wonderful books, both fiction and non-fiction alongside lots of games and activities to develop communication skills is most important in the early years.
Phase 2 Phonics Interest
Floss, our daughter, has certainly developed a real interest in the letters of the alphabet and is beginning to understand that the letters have a name, a sound they make and that they represent and mean something. For example if she’s sees a ‘s’ she will say the “ssssss” when she sees it and maybe say “for snake” or “for sun“. She’ll do this for several letters.
She’s not ready for phase 2 phonics. What she is ready for is lots of phase 1 activities to develop her speech and listening skills. Also, continuing to give her opportunities to play with letters and hear us use letter names and sounds around her during her play. We’ll probably be singing the ABC song too!
When Floss had turned four, and although she wasn’t school age for another year, she was most certainly showing signs of wanting to learn to read and an interest in phonics. It initially began with her asking – what does this say? A LOT! She would point at words and not images when she said this and you could see she understood that these symbols had a meaning behind them when you put them together.
Another big clue was how she began to split the words she knew down into syllables and individual sounds – this happened with lots of words. She became very fascinated with their composition. Due to this we began to lightly touch on phonics with her, but also all the other wonderful ways to support children with learning to read and the ultimate goal – reading for pleasure.
Floss is now almost seven and an avid, voracious reader. I truly believe that an environment rich in books, a focus on reading for pleasure and supporting her with phonics at the right time have given her a love for reading. She’s very into graphic novels right now!
Use the Language of Reading and Writing
Exposure to the language of reading and writing helps put things in context for little ones where some vocabulary can seem very abstract. When sharing a book with a toddler you can ask them what they can see on the front cover or the back cover. This way you are letting them know what the words are to describe the parts of the book and if you’re sharing books regularly they will just pick up this vocabulary.
Narrating what you are doing as you read helps to build their vocabulary too. For example – I read that word really loud as that word was written bigger than the others (pointing to which word you are talking about). For older children you could ask them how they would read a word written in bold (for example) and why they chose to read it that way.
Phase 2 The Most Important Thing!
If you’re teaching your child phonics or helping them with what they’re learning in school the most important thing to do is ensure that your sounds are pure.
What do I mean?
In order to be able to read and write you must be able to hear the phonemes clearly without any additional sounds being added. Simple right? Not necessarily, and often you can add sounds to phonemes without even realising it.
For example ‘t’ is the pure sound, but often ‘uh’ gets added ‘tuh’ or ‘s’ makes the ‘ssss’ sound, but you may hear people say ‘suh’. Check out the little video below to hear what I mean. If sounds are not pure, clear sounds it can get in the way of being able to read and write effectively – sat becomes suhatuh, much harder to recognise the word.
Phase 2 Resources
You don’t need many resources to get started. I’ll be going through some of our favourites in different phonics posts, but these will get you started.
- Graphemes for phase 2 – you could have these as tiles, magnetic letters or just written on paper. I loved the Read Write Inc. flashcards (set 1 and set 2/3) when I was teaching as they had little illustrations on with a ditty to explain how to form the letter.
- Pictures or objects that match some simple CVC words – eg, pan, tin, tap – these can just be things you find around the house.
- A way to write down their spellings. Now depending upon your child’s fine motor skills this may vary. It’s important to think about what skill you are practising. If you are asking your child to spell then the focus should be on this. Therefore if they struggle to form letters then using a magnetic board with letters or a moveable alphabet will let them show their spelling skills. If letter formation is OK then you could use a whiteboard and pen for spelling or pencil and paper.
- Phonetically decodable books for phase 2 or you can write your own simple sentences with pictures. Again Twinkl have resources that you can use.
Phonics Phase 2 Activity Mats
Below you will find downloads to a set of phonics sound mats for phase 2 phonics.
Phonics PDF Printable of Above Four
This works well if you want to print them a little smaller. You could print 2 or 4 to a page. If they’re mini they work great for a little activity out and about. We use these clear wallets with a whiteboard pen so they become reusable.
Phase 2 Games
A simple starter is matching graphemes. This is a great little game where you drive your character along to pick up a letter and take it to the right house!
Another quick game is matching an object that begins with a sound to the matching grapheme for that sound. You can purchase items to do this or just find objects from around the house. Write the grapheme on paper.
If you’d love some more games suitable for phase 2 then you can find ideas in this post using resources you can make at home.
SATPIN Phonics Object Ideas
Here’s a list of everyday objects you could use to match up items with the first six phonemes. SATPIN – some are tricky and it might be easier to use a picture for some of these!
- S – spoon, scissors, sock, skirt, scarf, sponge, star, stick
- A – apple, abacus, animal, ambulance. Another tricky one – might need to find toys of real things such as animals or ambulance.
- T – tin, teddy, truck, toy, top, trousers, tights
- P – pot, pan, pencil, pen, paper, pants
- I – ink, insect, iguana injection, igloo (tricky one! you might have an injection syringe in a doctors set or an igloo in a small play scene set)
- N – nut, necklace, net, nappy, newspaper
If you’d like some more ideas on how to introduce the sounds in phonics – check out this blog post I’ve written here.
Phase 1 Games
In the pervious post I shared two phase 1 games. The Letters and Sounds document is where you can discover lots more – link here. One of our favourites for phase 1 is singing nursery rhymes together.
You could draw little pictures, print them out or have little puppets/ props that represent different nursery rhymes. Pop them in a little bag and get your little one to pick out the next song you’ll sing together. Try and incorporate as many actions as you can.
This is what we’re using right now
- A little wooden star for Twinkle Twinkle
- A sheep toy for Baa Baa Black Sheep (well we have rainbow sheep)
- A spoon for Hey Diddle Diddle
- A toy boat for Row Row Row Your Boat
- A mouse for Hickory Dickory Dock
- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught a Fish Alive
Tricky words? What are they and how can you help your child to recognise and learn them? Here’s our tricky word blog post to help you out.