Phonics at Hethersett VC Primary is taught though a highly structured programme of daily lessons across FS/KS1 using a variety of fun activities. We follow the Letters and Sounds scheme of work, together with Jolly Phonics resources to inform the structure and content of lessons. A discrete lesson of approximately 20 minutes takes place daily in the classes.
Children are taught:
• The grapheme/phoneme correspondence in a clearly defined sequence
• The skill of segmenting words into their constituent phonemes to spell.
• That blending and segmenting are reversible processes.
Phases of the Phonics Programme
Children in Reception begin their phonics journey through Phase 1. Here they are provided with a range of activities to develop their listening skills. After half term, they continue to build upon the listening activities and are introduced to Phase 2. This marks the start of systematic phonic work and grapheme-phoneme correspondence is introduced. The process of segmenting and blending whole words and selecting letters to represent those phonemes is taught. During this phase the children are also introduced to reading and spelling common and tricky words.
Phase 3 completes the teaching of the alphabet and then moves on to cover phonemes represented by more than one letter, learning one grapheme for each of the 44 phonemes. At this stage just one spelling is given for each phoneme. The reading and spelling of high frequency and tricky words continues to be taught. When children become secure they continue into Phase 4 where they start to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants. No new phonemes are introduced at this phase.
It is expected that children will Recap Phase 4 and begin Phase 5 in the Autumn term of year 1, broadening their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know, where relevant.
Children entering Year 2 will start Phase 6 which develops a variety of spelling strategies including word specific spellings e.g. homophones see/ sea, spelling of words with prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters wh.
The structure of a phonics lesson:
There are 4 elements to a Letters and Sounds session:
Review - Flashcards should be used daily to recap graphemes previously taught. Along with a reading or writing activity reviewing the previous week/days learning. This section should be very fast paced and allow children to apply their prior learning quickly.
Teach – This section should have some new learning and teach reading or writing skills. It should include any songs and actions from The Jolly Phonics Scheme, to allow the teaching to be as engaging as possible.
Practise – This section should allow children to practise their reading/writing skills. This could be done with words, phrases or sentences. Children should be supported where necessary and work amongst peers e.g. playing games together to apply their teach section.
Apply – This section should give children the opportunity to apply their skills independently through reading/writing a range of words/phrases/sentences in games.
What a session should look like
A Letters and Sounds session should be fast paced. Staff should aim to go outside, work on the carpet, use the Interactive Whiteboard and use the tables to create movement. By allowing the children to work in a variety of areas you allow them to remain focussed. Review, practise and apply elements of your session should include games which have worked for our children. By incorporating a range of games this ensures the pace remains fast and children are enthusiastic about their learning.
Throughout each phase of Letters and Sounds the spelling of tricky words (Words that can’t be sounded out) and high frequency words (words that are commonly used). Children use the ‘Look Cover Write Check’ strategy for learning a new spelling. The class teacher uses a variety of methods to ensure the correct spelling of the high frequency words is appropriate to each phase plus topic specific vocabulary.
Children will be given high frequency and tricky words to practice at home with parents as soon as the class teacher feels they are ready.
By the end of the Foundation Stage it is expected that children will be working within phase 4 of Letters and Sounds and that they are able read and write 45 high frequency words.
The national Phonics screening check is performed in June of Year 1. The purpose of the screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age appropriate standard. The children who did not meet the required standard for the check in year 1, are entered again in year 2 and receive additional intervention support to help them reach the standard. As children enter KS2 provision is made for those children still requiring support with reading and spelling.
Phonics Key Vocabulary
Phonics consists of knowledge of the skills of segmenting and blending, knowledge of the alphabet including letter names and their sounds is the foundation for developing reading and spelling.
A phoneme (what you hear) is the smallest unit of sound in a word that can change its meaning e.g. in bed, and led the difference between the phonemes b and l signals the difference in meaning between the words bed, led
A grapheme is a letter or group of letters representing a sound. The alphabet contains only 26 letters but we use it to make up all the graphemes (what is written) that represent the
phonemes (what you hear).
Blending consists of linking phonemes to read words. It is very important to make sure that children have secure blending skills in order to read whole words to obtain reading for meaning. The skill of blending is practised through the reading of pseudo/nonsense words.
Segmenting consists of breaking words down into their phonemes (what you hear) to spell by choosing the correct grapheme (what you write). There will always be the same phonemes and graphemes in a word. Phoneme frames and bars and buttons are used to support this skill.
A letter that is not a vowel.
Any of the letters a, e, i, o, u
A digraph is a two-letter grapheme where two letters represent one sound such as ‘ea’ in seat and ‘sh’ in ship. A split digraph is a digraph that is separated by a letter but still makes the same sound. For example ‘ae’ is split in date.
A trigraph is a three-letter grapheme where three letters represent one phoneme. e.g. ‘ure’ in manicure, and ‘igh’ in light.