How do we teach phonics?

At Discovery Primary School we use the ‘Jolly Phonics’ scheme to introduce the letters alongside the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document. Letters and Sound is taught in Phases from Reception to Year Two. We use a range of teaching and learning experiences when teaching phonics to ensure a multi-sensory approach.

The phonics approach teaches children to decode words by sounds, rather than recognising whole words. The emphasis in early years teaching is on synthetic phonics, in which words are broken up into the smallest units of sound (phonemes).

Children are taught the letters (graphemes) that represent these phonemes and also learn to blend them into words. Children are taught to read the letters in a word like c-a-t, and then merge them to pronounce the word cat.

Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.

Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects. Each aspect contains three strands: Tuning in to sounds (auditory discrimination), Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing) and Talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension).

In Phase 2, letters and their sounds are introduced one at a time. A set of letters is taught each week, in the following sequence:

Set 1: s, a, t, p Set 2: i, n, m, d Set 3: g, o, c, k Set 4: ck, e, u, r Set 5: h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss

As soon as each set of letters is introduced, children will be encouraged to use their knowledge of the letter sounds to blend and sound out words. For example, they will learn to blend the sounds s-a-t to make the word sat. They will also start learning to segment words. For example, they might be asked to find the letter sounds that make the word pat from a small selection of magnetic letters.

Tricky words to read in phase 2:

the    go    no   I    to   into

 Over the twelve weeks which Phase 3 is expected to last, twenty-five new graphemes are introduced (one at a time).

Set 6: j, v, w, x

Set 7: y, z, zz, qu

Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng

Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er

During Phase 3, children will also learn the letter names using an alphabet song, although they will continue to use the sounds when decoding words.

Tricky words to read in phase 3: he  she  we  me  be  was  you  they  all  are  my

Phase 4

By the time that children progress to Phase 4, they will be confident when reading and writing words containing all of the sounds that they have already learnt. This phase focuses on practising reading and writing words with initial and final blends (e.g. pl, br and mp, nk).  They will also practise reading and writing sentences and captions containing previously learned sounds and initial and final blends. This phase is looked at in Reception and Year One.

 Phase 5

Children work on Phase 5 throughout Year 1. By the end of this phase, children will be confident when reading and writing words containing initial and final blends. The purpose of this phase is to teach children new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for graphemes that they already know, for example ‘ow’ as in grow and ‘ow’ as in ‘cow’. The children will continue to practise reading and writing sentences containing graphemes already learnt, as well as the new graphemes that they are taught. The children will also be taught alternative pronunciations for graphemes that they already know (for example, cat, cent and got, giant). Again there will be High Frequency words to be learnt.

Phase 6

Children work on Phase 6 in Year 2. At the beginning of this phase, children should know most of the common graphemes and will be increasing in confidence when reading and spelling words containing these. At this stage many children will be confident when reading longer texts and the focus moves towards reading for information and enjoyment. During this phase, children will be introduced to suffixes (e.g. es, ed, ing, ful,), prefixes and common spelling patterns. They will learn about the past and present tense.



Useful Links

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