What is Phonics?
A way of teaching children to read skilfully and quickly by
- Listening and recognising the sounds in spoken language
- Teaching the skill of blending(for reading) and segmenting(for spelling)
Teaching children to recognise the 44 phonemes in the English language
- Phoneme – smallest unit of sound in a word. E.g. How many phonemes can you hear in cat?
- Grapheme – letters that make up the phoneme. Grapheme can be 1 letter, 2 letters or more! Eg s, ai, igh
- CVC – consonant vowel consonant word. cat, sun
At Havelock Primary School, the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 use a phonics scheme called ‘Read, Write Inc’ developed by Ruth Miskin.
Phonics is all about sounds. There are 44 sounds in the English language, which we put together to form words. Some are represented by one letter, such as ‘t’, and some by two or more, like ‘ck’ in duck and ‘air’ in chair.
Children are taught the sounds first, then how to match them to letters, and finally how to use the letter sounds for reading and spelling. Synthetic phonics refers to ‘synthesising’, or blending, the sounds to read words. It’s based on the idea that children should sound out unknown words and not rely on their context.
The 44 sounds (phonemes) of the English language, and the way they are written down, are taught one by one. The order of teaching these sounds has been specially developed so that children can start reading complete words as soon as possible. A phonics lesson begins with revising any sounds the children have already been taught. Then the teacher will introduce a new sound and its spelling.
In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 phonics is taught daily at a discrete dedicated time. Children are grouped across Reception and Key Stage 1 according which of the three sets they are working at.
In the Read, Write Inc. programme, all the 44 sounds to be learnt have been divided into 3 sets:
|Set 1||Set 2||Set 3|
m a s d
t I n p g
o c k u b f
e l h sh
r j v y
w th z ng
q x ng
ay ee igh
ow oo oo
ar or air
ir ou oy
ae ea i-e
ur er ow
ai oa ew
Read, Write, Inc. uses strategies of participation, praise, pace, purpose and passion. These key teaching strategies ensure that every child has the opportunity to be successful. All children participate fully in the whole lesson. There is no chance for children to lose concentration. A lively pace keeps all the children fully engaged and teachers know the purpose of every activity and how it leads to the next.This grouping means teaching is more focused in terms of children’s progress. Children who are progressing faster or more slowly than their peers move quickly to another group. Children who continue to struggle have one-to-one tutoring (starting from the Reception year), so that they catch up again as soon as possible. Children who have special educational needs are supported, for however long it takes, until they can read.
How will I know how to pronounce the phonic sounds?
Go onto the Read Write Inc website for more information
The Oxford Owl website also has lots of information for parents.
To help you along the way, you’ll find age-specific reading tips and activities, FREE eBooks, and lots of fun ideas to really bring your child’s learning to life.
You will also find support and advice on a range of questions you may have – including helping your child with their phonics and motivating them to read.
Year 1 Phonics Screening Check
The statutory Year 1 Phonics Screening Check which will take place in June 2017.
The check is a list of 40 words which children will read one -to-one with their class teacher. It will assess phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1.
It will check that your child can:
- Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words e.g. n-igh-t
- Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
- Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as ‘pseudo words’.
We will hold a phonics screening meeting with year 1 parents to inform them about the test.
Here are some websites that will help you to support your child at home with phonics:
- phonicsplay.co.uk – requires a membership to play all the games
Bug Club supports children to practice their phonics so please ensure that your child has access to this on a regular basis. You can get the login from your child’s teacher. We also have further information on our website under Bug Club.
High Frequency words:
Children also need to learn ‘tricky’ words – ones that they cannot decode but have to learn by sight. Please click here for a list of high frequency words
R Bhica February 2017