We follow the programme ‘Letters and Sounds’, which was published by the Government to support the teaching of phonics in primary schools in England and Wales.
‘Letters and Sounds’ is split in to six phases. By the end of Year two (End of KS1), all six phases should have been taught.
Phases 1-3 are usually taught by the end of the Reception year and Phases 4 and 5 during Year one. Year two complete the programme by teaching from phase 6. They then go on to teach from a document called ‘Support for Spelling’ which is carried on right through to year six (End of KS2).
This phase 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. This can be taught through a range of listening activities including songs, stories and rhymes.
In this phase, 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 tap from a small selection of magnetic letters.
By the time they reach Phase 3, children will already be able to blend and segment words containing the 19 letters taught in Phase 2. In this phase, 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.
During Phase 3, the following tricky words (which can't yet be decoded) are introduced:
he she we me be was you they
all are my her
When children start Phase Four of the Letters and Sounds phonics programme, they will know a grapheme (letter/letters) for each of the 42 phonemes (sounds). They will be able to blend phonemes to read CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words and segment in order to spell them.
Children will also have begun reading straightforward two-syllable words and simple captions, as well as reading and spelling some tricky words.
In Phase 4, no new graphemes are introduced. The main aim of this phase is to consolidate the children's knowledge and to help them learn to read and spell words which have adjacent consonants, such as trap, string and milk.
During Phase 4, the following tricky words (which can't yet be decoded) are introduced:
said have like so do some come
were there little one when out what
Children entering Phase Five will already be able to read and spell words with adjacent consonants, such as trap, string and flask. They will also be able to read and spell some polysyllabic (more than 1 sylable) words.
In Phase Five, children will learn more graphemes and phonemes. For example, they already know ai as in rain, but now they will be introduced to ay as in day and a-e as in make.
Alternative pronunciations for graphemes will also be introduced, e.g. ea in tea, head and break.
During Phase 5, the following tricky words (which can't yet be decoded) are introduced:
oh their people Mr Mrs looked called asked could
At the start of Phase Six, children will have already learnt the most frequently occurring grapheme–phoneme correspondences (GPCs) in the English language. They will be able to read many familiar words automatically. When they come across unfamiliar words they will in many cases be able to decode them quickly and quietly using their well-developed sounding and blending skills. With more complex unfamiliar words they will often be able to decode them by sounding them out.
At this stage children should be able to spell words phonemically although not always correctly. In Phase Six the main aim is for children to become more fluent readers and more accurate spellers.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 phonics is taught every day. We follow the Government’s publication of ‘Letters and Sounds’ which is a systematic approach to teaching phonics. It works through six phases of sounds teaching as well as developing a secure knowledge of ‘Tricky words’ and ‘High frequency words’.
This teaching enables our children to become fluent and expressive readers by the end of Key stage 1. We use a range of activities and useful websites such as www.phonicsplay.co.uk and The Jolly Phonics to make the learning enjoyable.
Alongside this is a daily reading session. Children are taught the skills needed to be good readers in small groups of similar ability. We also have a Reading Team of parents in place to support additional reading on a 1 to 1 basis. Levelled Reading books are changed daily and monitored by class teachers every week. We use a range of reading schemes to support the teaching of reading, these include: Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cats and Phonics X.
In Key Stage two, phonics teaching continues until children are confident with each of the 44 sounds that make up the basis of our English language. In addition to this, reading is taught every day in small groups. One of the ways in which reading is taught in Key Stage 2 is through‘Reciprocal Reading’.
This approach to reading empowers the children with the skills needed to predict, question, clarify, and summarise what they are reading. This ensures a secure comprehension of what they are reading and develops an enthusiasm of reading for enjoyment.
We use a range of schemes including Pearson’s Bug Club and Oxford Reading Tree and books are also levelled according to the children’s reading ability. These are sent home every day and monitored weekly. To support the teaching and promote an enjoyment of reading, every child in Key Stage 2 has their own personal homepage in our online reading world through ‘Bug Club’ programme.
The following are really useful sites to support phonics at home: