Phonics Progression

Now that we have learned about the introduction to phonics and certain skills like the introduction of sounds and symbols, blending, segmenting; it is the time we get to know how to go about in a progression. There are multiple ways and patterns of dealing with teaching Phonic Progression, for example, Jolly Learning, etc.The progression we are following is Phonic Progression given by Katelyn.

The progression given by Katelyn has:

  1. Letter names and symbols
  2. All consonants and vowels
  3. Short vowels and word families
  4. Blends
  5. Long vowels
  6. Consonant digraphs
  7. Open vowels and vowel digraphs


All consonants and vowels

The letters in the English alphabet are either consonants or vowels. A consonant is a speech sound in producing which the air is at least partly blocked. Consonants may come separately or in clusters but must be connected to a vowel to form a syllable.

Consonants have friction when they are spoken or uttered, mostly using the position of the tongue against the lips, teeth, and roof of the mouth. Phonetics texts give more details about pronunciations, with diagrams.

The consonants in English alphabets are –BCDFGHJKLMNPQRSTVWX, Y, and Z. “Y” is often used as a consonant, but it is sometimes used as a vowel. Hence it is called a semi-vowel. For example, Y acts as a consonant in the word yes, but acts as a vowel in the word myth.

The remaining letters of the English alphabet are called vowels. There are about 20 vowel sounds in most English accents. The vowels are:

AEIOU (and sometimes Y)

Short vowel and long vowel sounds:

Every vowel has two sounds- one short and the other long. When a vowel sounds like its name, this is called a long sound. A vowel letter can also have short sounds. Whether a vowel has a long sound, a short sound, or remains silent, depends on its position in a word and the letters around it.


Vowels Short Long
A a /æ/

Ex: fat


Ex: fate

E e /ɛ/

Ex: wet


Ex: wheat

I i /ɛ/

Ex: win


Ex: wine

O o /ɒ/

Ex: bot


Ex: boat

U u /ʌ/

Ex: cup


Ex: cube


Word Families:

There are certain sounds in English alphabets which go together. They are mostly used together and work in pairs. They are groups of words that have a common feature or pattern – they have
some of the same combinations of letters in them and a similar sound. For example, ‘an’ is a word family, wherein sounds /a/ and /n/ go together. The examples of ‘an’ word family is ban, can, fan, man, pan, van etc.


Consonant blends which also called as consonant clusters are groups of two or three consonants in words that make a distinct consonant sound, such as “bl” or “spl.” Consonant digraphs i.e. clusters of two consonant sounds include bl, br, ch, ck, cl, cr, dr, fl, fr, gh, gl, gr, ng, ph, pl, pr, qu, sc, sh, sk, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, sw, th, tr, tw, wh, wr. Some trigraphs i.e. clusters of 3 consonant sounds are nth, sch, scr, shr, spl, spr, squ, str, thr.

There are also digraphs that produce a distinct vowel sound. Some examples are: ai, au, aw, ay, ea, ee, ei, eu, ew, ey, ie, oi, oo, ou, ow, oy. 

Consonant digraphs

Consonant digraphs are two letters that come together to make one sound. The major difference between blends and digraphs is that blends are two letters that make two sounds and digraphs make one sound. Consonant digraphs include bl, br, ch, ck, cl, cr, dr, fl, fr, gh, gl, gr, ng, ph, pl, pr, qu, sc, sh, sk, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, sw, th, tr, tw, wh, wr. For instance, ‘st’ in the word star is a consonant digraph.

Open vowels and vowel digraphs

An open vowel is a vowel sound while uttering which the tongue is positioned far from the roof of the mouth. The mouth remains in an open position while uttering these sounds. Open vowels are also called as low vowels in as they have a low position of the tongue. For example, the ‘o’ sound in the word not.

Katelyn’s Phonics Progression 

This progression break down has been borrowed from Teach For India. We are really grateful for that.

Letter Names and Symbols – 2 weeks
All Consonants and Vowels
Consonants, Short Vowels and Word Families – 15 weeks
Consonant N
Short vowel A
Consonant P
Consonant M
Consonant S
Consonant T
Short Vowel O
Consonant D
Word Families an, ad
Short Vowels E
Consonant H
Word Families ot, op
Consonant F
Consonant G
Word Families et, en
Short Vowel I
Consonant B
Word Families it, in
Consonant C
Consonant R
Short Vowel U
Word families ug, un
Consonant L
Consonant W
Word Families at, ap
Consonant J
Consonant K
Word Families ut, ub
Consonant V
Consonant Y
Word Families Ill, ip
Consonant Q
Consonant X
Consonant Z
Word Families ob, ell
Blends – 5 weeks
S Blends
R Blends
L Blends
Final N Blends
Final Blends
3 letter S Blends
Long Vowels Vce Pattern – 2 weeks
Vce Long a
Vce Long o
Vce Long i
Vce Long u
Consonant Digraphs – 3 weeks
Sh Digraph
Ch Digraph
Ck Digraph
Ng Digraph
Th Digraph
Wh Digraph
Open Vowels, Vowel Digraphs, and Other Vowel Patterns – 5 weeks
Open Vowels
Vowel Digraphs
Long e
Short e
Long a Part 1
Long a Part 2
Long o
Other Vowel Patterns – 8 weeks
Long i
Variant Vowels and Diphthongs
oo as in hoop
oo as in good
o as in ball part 1
o as in caught part 2
R-Controlled Vowels
o as in corn
ar as in care
ar as in car
ur as in curl
Additional Skills
Vowels followed by [r] Er
Initial Silent Consonants – 1 wk Sc
Final Silent Consonants – 1 wk Ck
Inflectional Endings Ing
[ed] with a t or d before it says -/ed/ Ed
[ed] makes the /t/ sound when there is an unvoiced sound before the –ed ending Ed
[ed] makes the /t/ sound when there is an unvoiced sound before the –ed ending Ed
-Le endings Ble, cle, dle, fle, gle, kle, mle, ple, sle, tle, zle
Common Pre-fixes Un, re, dis, mis, de, en, fore, im, in, pre, per, bi, ex, tri, sub, mid, mal, trans, non, pro
Common Suffixes Ful, less, ly, ness, able, ible, er, or, ment, tion, sion, en, ion, ize, ist, ity, y, ous, ket, like shi, some

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