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Phase 2 Phonics: A Definitive Guide

Updated: Feb 21

With a new school year fast approaching, many Reception teachers will soon be embarking on phase 2 of their phonics' programme. Here's an overview of what phonics is and some tried and tested tips for teaching early word reading. If you're stretched for time, you'll find some phase 2 phonics print and go activities here!


Phonics is a key strategy in the teaching of reading and spelling. 'Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way, starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex, it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read.' (Department for Education, 2013)

Words are made up of sounds called phonemes. A phoneme can be represented by between one to four letters (graphemes), such as 'igh' in light, or 'a' in man. Phonics teaches children each of these sounds and how use them to read and spell. Blending is when children say the sounds that make up a word and then merge them together until they can hear what the word is, e.g. c-a-t = cat. Blending plays a very important role in the journey to becoming a fluent reader.


When teaching children to blend make sure that the sounds are pronounced correctly. Some children (and adults!) add /uh/ onto the end of a sound (for example, /m/ becomes muh).

Encourage children to look in a mirror whilst saying the sounds, so that they can focus on the shape which their mouth should be making. You should do lots of oral blending first, saying the sounds which make up the name of an object (e.g. c-u-p) or giving an instruction (e.g. Stand u-p).

You should try to vary the phonics activities which you provide and ensure that learning is hands-on in order to keep children's attention. Ideally, phonics should be taught daily; little and often is key.

Encouraging children to say the first sound in the word loudest is a helpful strategy. In addition, children should be told to say the sounds faster and faster each time, to make hearing the word possible.

If your child is having trouble with blending, check out 'Help, My Child Can't Blend Sounds!'


Here are some engaging activities that incorporate children's interests. Find out what the children in your class love and try to develop some activities around these passions. They won't even realise that they're learning!

Farmyard Fun

  • Draw sheep on a piece of paper and cut them out.

  • Place magnetic letters inside the sheep to make a word.

  • Drive a toy tractor past the sheep and say each sound aloud.

  • Blend to read the word.

phonics blending farm activity

Dinosaur Blending

  • Draw dinosaur footprints on paper and cut them out.

  • Write sounds on each of the footprints.

  • Arrange the footprints to make a word.

  • Move the dinosaur across the footprints, saying the sounds.

  • Blend to read the word.

phonics blending dinosaur activity

Blending Ramp

  • Write the sounds which you require on individual stickers.

  • Stick the sounds on the ramp to make a word.

  • Send the toy car down the ramp.

  • Say each of the sounds as the car whizzes over them!

  • Blend to read the word.

car ramp phonics blending activity

Hop Along!

  • Use mats or hoops and place a sound card on/in each one.

  • Jump or hop along and say the sounds aloud.

  • Blend to read the word.

phase 2 phonics blending activity

Blending Cars

  • Draw a road on a piece of paper.

  • Add magnetic letters to make a word.

  • Drive a toy car along the road, saying the sounds aloud.

  • Blend to read the word.

car phonics blending activity

Alternatively, you can buy these wonderful ready-made phonics activity cards:

Children drive their toy car past the trees, saying the sounds as they go. They then blend the sounds to read the word. The perfect phonics activity for home or school!


These activities and many more can be found in my phonics book on Amazon. ‘Blast-Off with Blending’ is available in paperback and ebook versions - just click the link to take you there!


Learn to read and write the phase 2 high-frequency words with this fun phonics activity book! Reception-aged children will enjoy cutting and sticking to complete the phonics activities, whilst also developing their fine-motor skills at the same time!

Learn to read phase 2 words and captions with this fun phonics activity book! Reception-aged children should blend to read the word or caption and draw a picture of it. Engaging learning for early readers!

This collection of over 60 engaging, yet easy-to-set-up activities will transform your phonics provision. It's available in paperback and eBook versions. Soar with Segmenting and Early Spelling makes learning fun! Click here for more information about segmenting.

* As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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