At West Thornton Primary School phonics is taught daily to all children in Reception and Key Stage One. We use the Letters and Sounds programme to teach children the letters of the alphabet and their matching sounds. We sometimes use songs and actions from Jolly Phonics to help us remember our sounds.
What is phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:
- Recognise the sounds that individual letters make
- Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make-such as 'sh' or 'oo'
- Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word
Children can then use this knowledge to 'decode' new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
The children are taught to read words by blending, which means pushing all the sounds together to make a word. The children are taught to spell words by segmenting, which means sounding out words and writing down the sounds they can hear.
By the end of Reception children are expected to be secure in Phase Three. By the end of Year One children are expected to be secure in Phase Five. When finishing Key Stage One, most children at West Thornton Primary School should be secure in Phase Six. This phase moves away from learning sounds and focuses on spelling rules and patterns.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way-starting with the easiest sounds and progressing to the most complex-it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7 years old. Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills that they need to tackle new words. Children can go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and read for enjoyment. (Department for Education)
Here are some links to information and websites that you may find useful to help you support your child in their early reading and writing skills.
At the end of Year One all the children in the country take a test called a Phonics Screening. They have to read 40 real and nonsense words. We call the nonsense words ‘Alien words’ and the children practice reading them every day.
Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice
Here are some useful websites to help you support your child with their early reading and writing. If you are unsure of which phase your child is working within then please speak to your child’s class teacher.