• Calder Walk, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV31 1SA
Reading: Phonics

What is phonics? 

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They 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 important step in learning to read.

Why phonics?

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 years.

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.

Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as 'look and say'.

How do we teach phonics at Sydenham Primary school?

Our approach enables children to start learning phonic knowledge and skills using a systematic, synthetic programme by the age of five, with the expectation that they will be fluent readers having secure word recognition skills by the end of key stage one (Year 2).

Phonics is taught in discrete, daily sessions progressing from simple to more complex phonic knowledge and skills and covering the major grapheme / phoneme correspondences. We use a multi-sensory approach so that children learn variously from simultaneous visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities which are designed to secure essential phonic knowledge and skills. Children are taught that phonemes should be blended, in order, from left to right for 'all through the word' reading. Teachers demonstrate how words can be segmented into their constituent phonemes for spelling and that this is the reverse of blending phonemes to read words.   

Letters and Sounds

We use 'Letters and Sounds' phonics resource, which was published by the DfE. It aims 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. There are six overlapping phases:

 

Phase One(Nursery / Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two(Reception) up to 6 weeks

 Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks

 The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as 'h', 'oo', 'th' representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
 Phase Four(Reception) 4-6 weeks  No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. 'swim', 'clap', 'jump'.
 Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)  Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
 Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)  Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and  dropping letters etc.

 

Oxford Reading Tree Floppy's Phonics Sounds and Letters

The ORT Floppy’s Phonics Sounds and Letters systematic synthetic phonics programme provides our school with all the structure and resources we need to deliver really effective synthetic phonics teaching for all children – as well as enriching their vocabulary and language comprehension.

The Floppy’s Phonics Sounds and Letters programme teaches the letter/s-sound correspondences of the English alphabetic code explicitly and comprehensively for reading, spelling and handwriting:

  • Systematic and structured with inbuilt rigorous revision to ensure the success of every child
  • Includes the characters of Floppy the dog, Biff, Chip and Kipper and their family and friends, with hundreds of colour pictures to engage children fully for the phonics teaching & learning, vocabulary enrichment and language comprehension
  • Rigorous teaching sequence ensuring the phonics teaching & learning is straightforward, effective and allows for differentiation in simple, but effective, ways
  • Builds up knowledge of spelling word banks over time where words are spelt with the same letter/s-sound correspondences
  • Designed to inform parents/carers routinely and to work in partnership with them wherever possible
  • The order of introducing the 44 sounds of the English language matches the order in ‘Letters and Sounds’ (DfES, 2007)

For further information about Floppy's Phonics, please click on the links below:

ORT-Floppys-Phonics-Teaching-Sequence.pdf

 

For further information about Letters and Sounds, please click on the links below:

Letters-and-Sounds-DfES-00281-2007.pdf

Letters and Sounds

For information about the Phonics Screening Check, please click below:

Information-for-Parents.pdf