Phonics

What is phonics?

Phonics is the correspondence between spoken sound (phoneme) and the written letter (grapheme).  It is a way of teaching children to read by breaking up words into small chunks of sound. For example we can break a simple word like ‘cat’ into the three sounds c-a-t.

To become successful readers children will learn the individual sounds for each letter or group of letters. Some sounds in English are made up of more than one letter like the sound ‘ea’ in tea or team. Once children know the sounds they will be able to ‘decode’ unfamiliar words by breaking the word into sounds then read the word by blending back together. For example: sh — o — p = shop

For an audio guide on how to pronounce the sounds click on one of the links below:

www.focusonphonics.co.uk/sound.htm
www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J2Ddf_0Om8

Why do we teach phonics?

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way - starting with the easiest sounds, progressing through to the most complex - it’s the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It’s particularly helpful or children aged 5–7.
Almost all children who have 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.

How do we teach phonics?

In our school we use Phonics Play, Jolly Phonics letter sound actions with songs, and Oxford Reading Tree stories to support children learning their phonics.  In addition to this we use the Letters and Sounds Government recommendation which is alternative phonics.  We use a range of teaching and learning experience when teaching phonics to ensure a multi-sensory approach.  Phonics is taught daily in Foundation Stage, starting in the Autumn Term. In Year 1 there are 2 phonic sessions a day.

Further information about 'Letters and Sounds'

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.
There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for Practitioners and Teachers. For more detailed information, visit the
Letters and Sounds website.

Phase

Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One (Nursery/Reception)

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 Reception) up to 6 weeks

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 (Reception) up to 12 weeks

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, the 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 (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)

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 (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.

 

Useful Links

For the phonics information leaflet click here:  DPS Phonics Information Leaflet


For the phonics parent's meeting presentation click here: Phonics parents_meeting Website.pdf
 

For a list of the phonic phases click here: Summary of Phonic Phases


To visit Phonics Play click here: www.phonicsplay.co.uk