What is phonics?
- It is the knowledge of letters and the sounds they make.
- It gives us the skills of blending these sounds together to read words.
- Through it, we learn the skills of segmenting the sounds in a word and choosing the correct letters needed to spell it.
- Phonics is the step up to word recognition. To be able to automatically read all words, both decodable and tricky ones, is the ultimate goal for all our children.
How is Phonics taught at Dean Bank Primary?
At Dean Bank Primary School, we have a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics. We use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ materials to support the children’s development in phonics and this is introduced to our children in Nursery through early phonic games and is then consistently built upon throughout EYFS / KS1 and KS2 where needed. We teach phonics as a whole class to help children keep up with the quick pace they are expected to learn and apply sounds and extra support is given to those children that need it in daily interventions. Children are assessed regularly and groupings for extra support are altered accordingly. Support for spelling is taught in latter KS1 once children have finished the phonics scheme and spelling rules are then begun to be taught in accordance with the national curriculum and is built upon as the children enter KS2. In Years 1 and 2 children bring home spellings to practise linked to the phase and week they are currently working on. Extra phonics home to school bags are also given to children who may need a little extra support at home.
The 6 Phonic Phases
There are 44 phonemes (sounds) that the children learn throughout the Letters and Sounds Programme.
Correct pronunciation of phonemes is very important in helping children read and spell correctly.
The pronunciation of the consonant phonemes can be grouped:
- f l m n r s z v sh th zh (continuous)
- c p t ch h (short, soft)
- b d g w qu y j(short)
- The website http://www.getreadingright.co.uk/phoneme/pronounce-the-phonemes/4 is useful for showing the correct pronunciation of each phoneme.
As the 44 phonemes are unfortunately not spelled in just one way, the children are gradually introduced to more alternative spellings as they progress through the Letters and Sounds Programme.
High Frequency Words
These are common words that are useful for children to learn to read and spell. As children progress through the phases of Letters and Sounds they are introduced to sets of HFWs. Some words are decodable which children can blend to read e.g. then. Some are tricky words e.g. said, which are not phonically decodable and are learned by sight.
Reading schemes to support phonics and early reading.
In EYFS and KS1, the reading books the children take home work alongside the phonics scheme used in school. The children will read books which are phonics based and wholly decodable. As they progress with their phonics they will progress through the reading stages. We have an impressive range of different phonic reading schemes to keep the children engaged and motivated to read:
- Oxford Reading Tree Phonics
- Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper
- Floppy’s Phonics
- Project X
- Collin’s Big Cat Lions
When the children have consolidated the graphemes covered in each stage of these reading books, they may advance on to Oxford Reading Tree readers, which are not entirely decodable. This will enable a child to practise recognising ‘tricky words’ which are not yet decodable.