Phonics

Phonics

 

Phonics is…

...The code that turns written language into spoken language and vice versa.

The vital initial step in teaching children to read (but not the whole picture).

The ability to convert a letter or letter group into sounds.

These are then blended together or synthesized into words.

To be every child’s ‘go to’ strategy when they come across an unfamiliar word in reading

 

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. We believe that all children should begin to acquire the knowledge of synthetic phonics as soon as it is appropriate for their stage of development.

Letter sounds (phonemes) are taught in relation to particular letters (graphemes). These sounds are blended to create words. At Ecclesfield, we follow a Systematic Synthetic approach that teaches:

  • the relationship between phonemes and graphemes;
  • recognition of graphemes and the recall of the corresponding phoneme, and the blending of these phonemes to read the word;
  • grapheme-phoneme relationships, outside of alphabetic order;

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘decode’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read. Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7. Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.

Click here to view our Phonics Policy.

 

Letters and Sounds Programme

As a school, we show fidelity to one systematic synthetics phonics program; Letters and Sounds. Daily delivery, along with identified individual support, ensures each child progresses through the program and succeeds in learning to read and thus being able to read to learn. We aim to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. We follow a detailed and systematic, synthetic phonics programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting in Foundation Stage 2 with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.

All children in Foundation Stage and KS1 will bring home a Phonics book to read at home. This will match their current phonological awareness enabling them to consolidate and practice their reading skills at home. Children also take home a ‘Sharer Book’ which is read with or by the child’s parents. This book focuses on vocabulary and language comprehension. All staff receive regular training to ensure delivery of the program is highly effective.

Sight Words and Tricky Sight Words

Within the teaching of phonics is the teaching of ‘tricky sight words’. Sight words are words that children are taught to recognize “on sight”. There are two main types of sight words: high-frequency words (and, he, go) and words that can’t be sounded out phonetically, or non-phonetic words (the, once, talk). Being able to identify sight words at a glance enables children to read with greater speed, fluency, and confidence. Sight words are mapped out across EYFS/KS1 to ensure that there is progression. Children review and revise sight words daily, weekly and across terms and years in order to move this learning to long term memory. Children are also given the opportunity to practise sight words in words, sentences and books matched to their phonics ability.  

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letters-and-sounds - More information on the Letters and Sounds Programme

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP_FbjYUP_UtldV2K_-niWw - Letters and Sounds Lessons for you to access at home

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCI2mu7URBc – Phonics: How to pronounce pure sounds | Oxford Owl

 

Sight Words and Tricky Sight Words

Within the teaching of phonics is the teaching of ‘tricky sight words’. Sight words are words that children are taught to recognize “on sight”. There are two main types of sight words: high-frequency words (and, he, go) and words that can’t be sounded out phonetically, or non-phonetic words (the, once, talk). Being able to identify sight words at a glance enables children to read with greater speed, fluency, and confidence. Sight words are mapped out across EYFS/KS1 to ensure that there is progression. Children review and revise sight words daily, weekly and across terms and years in order to move this learning to long term memory. Children are also given the opportunity to practise sight words in words, sentences and books matched to their phonics ability.  

Learn more here https://www.twinkl.co.uk/teaching-wiki/sight-words

 

What is the Phonics Screening Check?

 

The Phonics Screening Check is a check for children in Year 1. Children take it during June in a one-to-one setting with a teacher.

During the Phonics Screening Check, children are asked to read (decode) 40 words. Most of these words are real words but some are pseudo-words. The phonics screening check is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonics knowledge. It helps the school confirm whether your child has made the expected progress.

 What are ‘non/pseudo-words’?

The check will contain a mix of real words and ‘non-words’ or ‘pseudo-words’ (or ‘nonsense/alien words’). Children will be told before the check that there will be non-words that he or she will not have seen before. Many children will be familiar with this because many schools already use ‘non-words’ when they teach phonics. Non-words are important to include because words such as ‘vap’ or ‘jound’ are new to all children. Children cannot read the non-words by using their memory or vocabulary; they have to use their decoding skills. This is a fair way to assess their ability to decode.

After the phonics check

The school will tell you about your child’s progress in phonics and how he or she has done in the screening check in the last half-term of Year 1. For the year 2021-22, the phonics screening check will take place in the Autumn term of Year 2.

If your child has found the check difficult, your child’s school should also tell you what support they have put in place to help him or her improve. You might like to ask how you can support your child to take the next step in reading.

Children who have not met the standard in Year 1 will retake the check in Year 2. All children are individuals and develop at different rates. The screening check ensures that teachers understand which children need extra help with phonic decoding.

 

Useful Resources

https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/T-L-015-Phase-2-Sound-Mat

https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/T-L-016-Phase-3-Sound-Mat

https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/T-L-034-Phase-5-sound-mat

Please click here for games to help your child learn sight words