Phonics

Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. It runs alongside other teaching methods such as Guided Reading and Shared Reading to help children develop all the other vital reading skills and hopefully give them a real love of reading.

Words are made up from small units of sounds called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words


 

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:

  • recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  • identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as /sh/ or /oo/; and
  • blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

 Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a systematic and 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. Within phonics sessions children learn these skills through fun games and activities.

It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7. Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.

At William Stockton and Wimboldsley, children learn phonics in a systematic way throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1. It is taught daily, in short sessions so that children build up and practise the skills they need to use in reading and writing.

We ensure that children’s phonic knowledge is assessed regularly so that children are taught in a group that is matched to a level of their current development. This also allows teachers to identify any children that need targeted support in any area.

Practising the sounds correctly is really important! Something that the children in school do daily.

 

The school follows the Letters and Sounds programme:

Letters & Sounds is a Phonics Programme produced by the DfE in 2007 and it aims to build children's speaking and listening skills whilst preparing children to learn to read through the development of their phonic knowledge.

Letters & Sounds is a systematic programme of planned phases for teaching phonic skills to children. This starts during the Early Years Foundation Stage, with the aim of producing fluent readers by the time they leave Year 2.

 

Below is an outline of the phases and when they are taught in our school.

Phase 1 (Nursery) In Phase 1, the activities are split into seven aspects which include Environmental Sounds, Instrumental Sounds, Body Sounds, Rhythm and Rhyme, Alliteration, Voice Sounds and Oral Blending and Segmenting.

Phase 2 (Reception) In Phase 2 The children learn 19 letters of the alphabet with one sound (phoneme) for each letter. The children begin to blend sounds together to make words and learn to segment words into separate sounds. The children also start to read simple captions.

Phase 3 (Reception) The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet are taught, one sound (phoneme) for each letter. Graphemes such as sh, ng, oi, ar, ee are taught as they represent the remaining phonemes which are not covered by single letters. The children read captions, sentences and questions.

Phase 4 (Year 1) There are no new phonemes or graphemes taught in this phase. Children recap prior learning and learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants e.g. swim, clap, scrunch, chest. They will also practise decoding polysyllabic words such as midnight, treetop and printer

Phase 5 (Year 1) The children now move onto the 'complex code.' Children learn that there are more graphemes for phonemes (ways to write the sounds) and that there are different ways to pronounce the phonemes they have already learnt.

Phase 6 (Year 2) Phase 6 has a clear focus on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters.

 

Children have the opportunity to apply and practise their phonic knowledge through reading decodable books that are matched to their current phonic learning.

 

The Phonics Screening Check.

The Phonics Screening Check is an assessment at the end of Year 1 to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonetic decoding to an appropriate standard. It enables schools to identify children who need additional help, so ensure they are given support to improve their reading skills. Children who do not 'pass' the check in Year 1 are able to retake it in Year 2.

It is a Statutory Requirement to carry out the screening check.

The check is a short, simple screening check which consists of a list of 40 words and pseudo words (non-words), which the child reads one-to-one with their class teacher.

The Phonics Screening Check takes place in June.


 

Key terminology - As part of their taught sessions your child will be taught the correct terminology relating to phonics, Here are some of the key terms explained for you. 

 

Phoneme- The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English. Phonemes can be put together to make words.

 

Grapheme - A way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g ough.

 

Digraph - A grapheme containing two letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).

 

Trigraph- A grapheme containing three letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).

 

Oral Blending - This involves hearing phonemes and being able to merge them together to make a word. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to blend written words.

Blending- This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word. This is the basis of reading.

Oral Segmenting - This is the act hearing a whole word and then splitting it up into the phonemes that make it. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to segment words to spell them.

Segmenting - This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order. This is the basis of spelling.

Wimboldsley Community Primary School

Nantwich Road, Wimboldsley, Cheshire

01606 832321