Phonics is how we teach children to read and write, by linking sounds (phonemes) to the letter(s) that represent them (graphemes). Phonics is just one part of our reading and writing curriculum.
At Aloeric we follow Letters and Sounds to teach phonics, with the support of the LCP planning scheme. Phonics sessions take place every day for 20-30 minutes from Reception to Year 2. Some children also access phonics in KS2 in small groups. Once children have learnt the graphemes and use these in their reading and writing, we teach other spelling sessions. Phonics or spelling sessions are differentiated, well paced and, most of all, fun!
Useful resources to support phonics or spelling at home
https://new.phonicsplay.co.uk/ - a website full of phonics games, split into the Letters and Sounds phases. Some games are always free. While schools are closed due to COVID-19, they have made membership free so you can play all games!
https://www.phonicsbloom.com/ - another website full of phonics games, split into the Letters and Sounds phases.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7sW4j8p7k9D_qRRMUsGqyw - Mr Thorne is a teacher, he has a YouTube channel as well as apps for your tablet/phone. Geraldine the giraffe has visited school before, and these videos are great to check pronunciation of phonemes!
https://www.spellingshed.com/en-gb - we subscribe to Spelling Shed as a school, your child should have a log in stuck in the back of their reading diary! They can practise their year group spellings in fun games.
https://www.phonicsplaycomics.co.uk/comics.html - decodable comics for children to read online. Phonics is the stepping stone to reading fluently, so children need lots of opportunities to read using their phonics.
https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/find-a-book/library-page/ - free e-books that link to children's phonic phases, and are familiar characters from their school reading books!
Also try searching on YouTube for 'Tricky word songs' - these are a hit in Reception!
Children have daily phonics sessions. Where possible, these are in smaller groups than a normal class size. Each phonics session has four parts:
- We revisit and review previous sounds and practise word building
- We teach a new phonic skill (this might be a new grapheme or 'tricky' word
- We practise reading or writing with this new skill
- Children are given the opportunity to apply their newly learnt skill in different situations.
Letters and Sounds
Letters and Sounds splits phonics teaching up into six distinct phases (you will notice these phases on your child's reading book, in home learning resources that we give to you, and on lots of the online resources). The phases are:
- Phase 1 - this helps develop children's listening skills and lays the foundations for learning the graphemes which are introduced from phase 2 onwards. Children play games, especially tuning into sounds around them and beginning to hear sounds in words. This is typically taught in Nursery (although the skills begin at birth and never end!).
- Phase 2 - teaches 19 letter sounds and moves children on from hearing sounds in words to the skills of blending and segmenting to read and write words. This is typically taught in Reception.
- Phase 3 - teaches another 25 graphemes (most of them comprising of 2 letters making 1 sound). Children continue to practise reading and writing words and captions. This is typically taught in Reception.
- Phase 4 - consolidates children's knowledge and skills and also teaches them to read and spell words which have adjacent consonants (such as frog, jump, milk). This is typically taught in Reception / Year 1.
- Phase 5 - children will broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for reading and spelling in line with the spelling expectations for the National Curriculum in Year 1. This phase introduces children to different spellings of the same sound.
- Phase 6 - places greater emphasis on spelling. Children develop strategies for spelling longer words and begin to explore spelling conventions eg including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters. This is typically taught in Year 2 and into KS2.
The teaching of spelling cannot be completed in Year 2 - it needs to continue rigorously throughout primary school and beyond if necessary.
- Tricky words - words that cannot be sounded out, but need to be learned by heart eg the, no, was.
- High frequency words - words that children see a lot in books that they read, or that they need when they write eg and.
- Phoneme - the smallest unit of sound in a word eg c/a/t.
- Grapheme - letter(s) representing one sound eg s, sh
- Digraph - two letters representing one sound eg ch, ee
- Split digraph - two letters, which work as a pair, split, to represent one sound eg a-e as in cake
- Trigraph - three letters representing one sound eg igh as in night
- Segment - hearing the individual phonemes within a word, children are taught to use robot arms to segment words to spell
- Blending - merging the individual phonemes together to pronounce a word, children 'sound out' each grapheme written down and then blend together to read
Phonics Screening Check
Children in Year 1 throughout the country are tested on their reading, using their phonic knowledge, each year in June. Some children in Year 2 will also take part. Each child will sit one-to-one with their teacher and read 40 words (20 real words and 20 nonsense words). It usually takes around 10-15 minutes. The end of year report will have your child's phonics screen check mark included.
The phonics screening check is not taking place in June 2020 due to COVID-19.