Phonics

Phonics at Mossley CE Primary School     

 

What is Phonics?

Phonics refers to a method used to teach how to spell and read. Children initially meet phonics through ‘Jolly Phonics’ in Reception. Actions are linked to letter sounds helping children to remember them. Children should come home with different letter sounds to practice. When pupils have learnt all letter sounds they move on to ‘Letters and Sounds’. Children are taught how to: recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes; identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make- such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’; and blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first step in learning to read.

 

It is generally accepted that most varieties of spoken English use about 44 different sounds, these different sounds are called phonemes.

Phonemes can be represented by either a single letter or a group of letters called a grapheme. A grapheme can be formed using 1, 2, 3 or 4 letters. The following are all graphemes s/t/ai/igh/eigh.

Graphemes formed from more than one letter have special names. A grapheme formed by combining two letters is a digraph (ch, sh, ai, oo), three letters is a trigraph (igh), there are even some graphemes formed from 4 letters, a quadgraph (ough, eigh, aigh).

Teaching Phonics

Across KS1 each class has a daily phonics lesson. These lessons last approximately 15-20 minutes long each day.

In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:

GPCs

This stands for Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences. This means that they are taught all the phonemes in the English Language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds taught are s, a, t, p.

Blending

Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.

Segmenting

Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words. Once children are competent with these skills phonics sessions consist of teaching them to read and write tricky words, this includes learning various spelling rules.

 

Phonics Screening in Year 1

The phonics screening check assesses your child’s knowledge of phonics. This is carried out at the end of the Summer Term (Around 19th June)

Your child will be asked to read 40 words aloud.

Your child may have read some of the words before, while others will be completely new. The check will contain a mix of real words and ‘non real’ words (or’ nonsense words’) Your child will be told before the check that there will be ‘non words’ that he or she will not have seen before. Non words are included because words such as ‘vap’ or ‘jound’ are new to all children therefore children cannot read the non-words by using their memory or vocabulary; they have to use their decoding skills.

After the check:

We will tell you about your child’s progress in Phonics and how he or she has done in the screening check.

Internal Phonics Tracking.

Pupil’s phonic knowledge is tracked termly from Reception through to Year 3. Pupil’s ability to say/hear read and write all sounds are assessed.

Helping your child with Phonics

Phonics works best when children are given plenty of encouragement and learn to enjoy reading and books. Parents play a very important part in helping with this.

Some simple steps to help your child to read through Phonics:

With all books, encourage your child to ‘sound out’ unfamiliar words and then blend the sounds together from left to right rather than looking at the pictures to guess. Once your child has read an unfamiliar word you can talk about what it means and help him or her to follow the story.
Your child will receive books with the correct level phonics for them. These books are often called ‘decodable readers’ because the story is written with words made up of the letters your child has learnt. Your child will be able to work out new words from their letters and sounds, rather than just guessing.
Try to make time to read with your child every day. Grandparents and older brothers or sisters can help too. Encourage your child to blend the sounds all the way through a word.
Word games like ‘I-spy’ can also be an enjoyable way of teaching children about sounds and letters. You can also encourage your child to read words from your shopping list or road signs to practice phonics.

Some useful websites with phonics games which your child might enjoy at home:

http://www.letters-and-sounds.com

http://www.mrthome.com

http://www.bugclub.co.uk