Phonics and Reading
Why do we teach Phonics?
The school uses BUG Club and Giant Phonics in Class 1 which follows the Letters and Sounds programme. We use actions from Jolly Phonics to support the initial introduction of the phonemes. In Class 2 children follow the principles of the Read Write Inc. Synthetic phonics scheme which compliments the children’s prior learning.
For pupils in our KS2 classes we deliver regular guided phonics/spelling sessions and we use Rapid Phonics and “Nessy” as programmes specifically aimed at higher aged pupils struggling with reading.
In Reception the children are taught phonics in small fifteen minute teaching sessions. As they move to Year 1 and Year 2 children receive a minimum of 30 minute activities on phonics and literacy every day.
Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
Phase One – Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
Phase Two – Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase Three -The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
Phase Four – No new grapheme-phoneme sounds are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Phase Five-Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase Six -Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.
phoneme — the smallest single identifiable sound, e.g. the letters ‘sh’ represent just one sound, but ‘sp’ represents two (/s/ and /p/)
blend (vb) — to draw individual sounds together to pronounce a word, e.g. s-n-a-p, blended together, reads snap
segment (vb) — to split up a word into its individual phonemes in order to spell it, e.g. the word ‘cat’ has three phonemes: /c/, /a/, /t/
grapheme — a letter or a group of letters representing one sound, e.g. sh, ch, igh, ough (as in ‘though’)
digraph — two letters making one sound, e.g. sh, ch, th, ph.
vowel digraphs comprise of two vowels which, together, make one sound, e.g. ai, oo, ow
VC, CVC, CCVC — the abbreviations for vowel-consonant, consonant-vowel-consonant, consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant, and are used to describe the order of letters in words, e.g. am, Sam, slam.
Teach in a systematic, sequential way.
To be the most effective, phonics needs to be taught in a systematic, sequential way. Letters and Sounds first. Then build letters into words and words into sentences! When phonics is not taught on purpose, but rather as a ‘by-the-way’ component of a school curriculum, students may miss vital phonics elements which can result in hindered reading skills.
To be most effective, phonics also needs to be taught on a regularly scheduled basis: four to five days per week. Sessions should last about 20 minutes at a time. Two 20 minute sessions are far more productive than one 40 minute session. You will need a good phonics-based program that presents the material in ways that complement your student’s learning style.
Be sure of the sounds involved – watch this video to see how to pronounce the phonemes:
Below is a link to other phonic based games you might like to try with your children:
Further information is available on the website under Parents > Phonics and Reading.
As the children get older they move on to more independent reading and we use AR reading to help motivate and record how this independent reading is going. Please follow this link to find out more about AR reading.
The parents web site for AR books can be found Here.
Where to choose books:
Year 1 & 2 Phonics Guidance for Parents Set 2 & 3 Speed Sounds