What is Phonics?
Phonics is breaking down the letters that make up words into the sounds that they make, therefore helping many children learn to read and spell. Words are made up from small units of sound 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.
The phonemes (sounds) are systematically taught and then children are shown how to blend them for reading and segmenting them for writing. There are 44 phonemes in English which the children must learn. When a sound is written, it is known as a grapheme. Alongside this, the children are taught the ’high frequency words’ and ‘tricky words’ (those words which do not entirely follow the phonic rules).
Why do we teach phonics?
Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. Phonics runs alongside other teaching methods to help children develop vital reading skills and give them a real love of reading, hopefully for life. As reading is the key to learning, it is important that we teach phonics clearly and systematically, learning the initial sounds first before progressing to exploring all of the different ways that sounds can be made in the English language!
How we teach Phonics?
Phonics teaching begins in our foundation stage provision and is taught all the way up to year 2. We use a selection of different schemes to help support the needs and development of all pupils including Letters and Sounds, Jolly Phonics and Cued Articulation. This provides us with a multi-sensory approach that accommodates all learning styles.
In our school children begin learning phonics Foundation Stage by developing their listening ability to discriminate sounds around them and listening for rhymes and rhythm. The children in Foundation Stage will also have a discrete daily phonics lesson for 20 minutes. The pace of all phonics lessons is quick with lots of short sharp get up and go activities. High expectations are set for every pupil to progress and children are accessed daily.
Overview of phonic phases
Supports the importance of speaking and listening and develops children’s discrimination of sounds, including letter sounds.
The children learn to pronounce the sounds themselves in response to letters, before blending them. This leads to them being able to read simple words and captions.
Phonemes: s, a, t, p, i, n, m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss
Tricky Words: the, to, I, no, go
Completes the teaching of the alphabet and moves on to sounds represented by more than one letter. The children will learn letter names and how to read and spell some tricky words.
Phonemes: j, v, w, x, y, z, zz, qu, ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er
Tricky Words: he, she, we, me, be, was, my, you, they, her, all, are
The children learn to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants.
Tricky Words: said, so, have, like, some, come, were, there, little, one, do, when, out, what
The children broaden their knowledge of sounds for use in reading and spelling. They will begin to build word-specific knowledge of the spellings of words.
Phonemes: ay, ou, ie, ea, oy, ir, ue, aw, wh, ph, ew, oe, au, ey, a_e, i_e, u_e, o_e
Tricky Words: oh, their, people, Mr, Mrs, looked, called, asked
This focuses more sharply on word-specific spellings. It encourages children to become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.