Our approach to phonics
Phonics is about breaking down the letters that make up words into the sounds that they make, therefore helping many children learn to read and spell. Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. Phonics runs alongside other teaching methods to help children develop vital reading skills and give them a real love of reading, hopefully for life.
At Meadow Farm Community Primary School, pre-reading skills are taught using synthetic phonics and the school follows the government published programme ‘Letters and Sounds’. This provides us with a multi-sensory approach that accommodates all learning styles. The children are taught within the phase (there are 6 phases across the programme which span Nursery through to Year 2) that is appropriate to their level of development. The phonemes (sounds) are systematically taught before the children are shown how to blend them for reading and segmenting them for writing.
There are 44 phonemes in English which the children must learn. When a sound is written, it is known as a grapheme. Alongside this, the children are taught the ’high frequency words’ and ‘tricky words’ (those words which do not entirely follow the phonic rules). At the end of Year 1, children complete a Phonic Screening Check required by the Government to assess where they are. Staff receive regular training in the teaching of phonics which enables them to deliver interesting, interactive sessions that engage and motivate the children.
As reading is the key to learning, it is important that we teach phonics clearly and systematically, learning the initial sounds first before progressing to exploring all of the different ways that sounds can be made in the English language!
Overview of Phonic Phases
Supports the importance of speaking and listening and develops children’s discrimination of sounds, including letter sounds.
The children learn to pronounce the sounds themselves in response to letters, before blending them. This leads to them being able to read simple words and captions.
Phonemes: s, a, t, p, i, n, m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss
Tricky Words: the, to, I, no, go
Completes the teaching of the alphabet and moves on to sounds represented by more than one letter. The children will learn letter names and how to read and spell some tricky words.
Phonemes: j, v, w, x, y, z, zz, qu, ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er
Tricky Words: he, she, we, me, be, was, my, you, they, her, all, are
The children learn to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants.
Tricky Words: said, so, have, like, some, come, were, there, little, one, do, when, out, what
The children broaden their knowledge of sounds for use in reading and spelling. They will begin to build word-specific knowledge of the spellings of words.
Phonemes: ay, ou, ie, ea, oy, ir, ue, aw, wh, ph, ew, oe, au, ey, a_e, i_e, u_e, o_e
Tricky Words: oh, their, people, Mr, Mrs, looked, called, asked
This focuses more sharply on word-specific spellings. It encourages children to become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.
Please take a look at this video to learn more about the Phonic Phases: https://youtu.be/IwJx1NSineE