Learning to read and write confidently helps children to succeed in all areas of life. Phonics is an important way that we teach students to read, spell and write.
What is Phonics?
Phonics is when we teach children the correspondences between sounds (phonemes) and graphemes (letters). For example, in children learn that "oa" makes a long o sound like in goat.
This helps children to learn o read by looking at the graphemes (letters) and saying the sounds (phonemes). They can then blend these sounds to read the word. As children get better at phonics, they can do this in their head. Phonics also helps children spell - when they say or hear a word, they can segment that word into different sounds, and write down the grapheme (letter/letters) that make each sound in the word.
All students in EYFS (Nursery and Reception) and Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and Year 2) receive at least a phonics lesson a day, and all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children take home a special decodable book each week that helps them practise their phonics.
At Landewednack, we use the Letters and Sounds phonics programme. You can see our phonics progression below - which shows what we teach in each half term.
We are commited to ensuring all children keep up with this progression, which is why we check children's learning frequently and arrange tailored support for any child who needs it.
Landewednack Phonics Progression
We teach the children Grapheme Phone Correspondences (GPCs), which is the sound each letter or group of letters make.
Here is a sound wall, where you can click on the GPC to hear the sound it makes: https://learn.readwithphonics.com/school/phonics-games/phonics-soundwall
There are single letter phonemes, where one letter makes a sound. You can hear these sounds here:
Digraphs are where 2 letters make one sound, like oa (as in goat), a_e (as in cake)
Trigraphs are where 3 letters make one sound (ear, as in hear; air, as in hair, igh as in high).
There are several grapheme phoneme correspondences (GPCS) for children to learn in Reception and Year 1 (e.g., learning GPC is knowing that the grapheme "ai" make the phoneme "ai" (as in rain).
Children can use their GPC knowledge to decode (read) words, and become confident readers.
We ensure that each child in Reception, Year 1, and Year 2 takes home a decodable book each week that is matched to their phonics level. This means that the book only contains sounds that the children have been taught in phonics, so they can build their confidence as readers by using their phonics knowledge to sound out all the words in the book.
Some words are "tricky" words, which means they are not decodable using the phonics the children have been taught so far. For example, the word "the" is non-decodable, or "tricky" because the "e" makes an "u" sound. We teach children to remember and read these words without sounding them out. You might hear these words referred to as "non-decodable words", "tricky words", "common exception words" or "sight words".
You can see a list of the "tricky words" taught in each phase in our phonics progression.
How can I support my child to learn phonics?
The best way to support your child is to read with them frequently. Aim to make reading as an enjoyable as possible! They could read their decodable book to you, you could read to them, or you could read together. If you are reading to your child, point to the words as you read them (or let them point and turn the pages!) so they get used to seeing the words and hearing the sounds.
You can also encourage your child to play phonics games using the resources below.
Resources for children
Resources for parents
Phonics Sound Wall https://learn.readwithphonics.com/school/phonics-games/phonics-soundwall
Message Miss Carey on Class Dojo if you have any questions or would like more resources.
What will my child learn in phonics?
Children in nursery are taught Phase 1. This means they learn letter names (the alphabet), animal noises, natural sounds, and practise discriminating between different sounds.
Children in Reception learn Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 4.
Children in Year 1 learn Phase 5.
Children in Year 2 continue to practise all of the Phase 2, 3, 4 and 5, and also study Letters and Sounds Phase 6, which focuses heavily on spelling and grammar, which helps them read more complicated texts.
What is the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1?
As phonics and reading is so important to children's learning, the government requires schools to administer a phonics screening check at the end of Year 1. This checks that children can use their phonics knowledge to read words.
The check consists of the children's class teacher asking them to read 40 words, half of the words are real (cat, dog, saucer) and half are "alien" (glorp, sloam, chup). This is to check that children can apply their phonics knowledge. The words use all 44 Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences taught in Letters and Sounds Phase 2-5
You can get more information about the Phonics Screening check here.