Phonics is taught through a highly structured approach of daily lessons across the school. In order to meet the needs of all the children, teaching is often in groups differentiated according to children’s phonic awareness and development.
The Letters and Sound scheme is followed, providing a synthetic approach to the teaching of phonics. In Reception we use Jolly Phonics which is a multi-sensory approach to teaching phonics using songs and actions. As children continue through the school they use the actions and songs as a memory aide to learn. Each session gives an opportunity for children to revisit their previous experience, be taught new skills, practice together and apply what they have learnt.
Phases of the Phonics
There are 6 main phonic stages that children progress through.
Phase 1 – This begins in nursery and concentrates on developing children’s speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonics work which starts in phase 2. The emphasis during phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.
Phase 2 - As children move through Reception they are introduced to Phase 2 which marks the start of systematic phonic work. Grapheme-phoneme correspondences are introduced. The process of segmenting whole words and selecting letters to represent those phonemes is taught.
Phase 3 – By the time children reach phase 3, they will already be able to blend and segment words containing 19 letters taught in phase 2. During this phase, children will also learn the letter names using alphabet songs and they will continue to use the sounds when decoding words. Phase 3 completes the teaching of the alphabet and then moves on to cover sounds represented by more than one letter, learning one representation for each of the 44 phonemes. At this stage just one spelling is given for each phoneme.
Phase 4 - 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.
Phase 5 - It is expected that children will enter Phase 5 as they begin year 1, looking at alternative spellings for some phonemes and allowing the children to see the range of ways phonemes can be represented e.g. ai in rain, ay in play and a_e in make. Alternative pronunciations for graphemes will also be introduced.
Phase 6 - It is expected that children entering Year 2 will start Phase 6 which develops a variety of spelling strategies including word specific spellings e.g. see/ sea, spelling of words with prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters where necessary.
Children are formally assessed at the end of each half term. The progress of children’s phonics skills are continually assessed and reviewed to ensure that they are accessing phonics that meets their individual needs and stage.
The national phonics screening check is performed in June of Year 1. Prior to this, the Year 1 phonics workshop gives parents information about how they can support their children at home with phonics. 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 enter again in year 2 with additional support.
Below are some links for you to support your child at home:
- Phonics Screening Check - 2017 old papers