Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 follow the synthetic phonics approach, using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. It’s an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words.Our daily phonics sessions in Reception are fun, involving lots of speaking, listening and games. The emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play. Daily Phonics lessons continue in Key Stage One and then regular weekly spelling sessions take place in Key Stage Two.
Letters and Sounds is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ – words with spellings that are unusual or that children have not yet been taught. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’ – you can’t really break the sounds down for such words so it’s better to just ‘recognise’ them.
Phase One begins in nursery. This phase paves the way for the systematic learning of phonics. During this phase especially, we plan activities that will help children to listen attentively to sounds around them, such as the sounds of their toys and to sounds in spoken language. We teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs and read good books to and with the children. This helps to increase the number of words they know – their vocabulary – and helps them talk confidently about books. The children also learn to identify rhyme and alliteration.
There are a number of things that parents can do to help at home:
Let your child see you enjoy reading yourself. They are influenced by you and what you do.
Make time for your child to read their school book to you every day
If your child brings home ‘tricky word’ flash cards, make time to work on them with your child – have fun with them!
With all books, encourage your child to ‘sound out’ unfamiliar words and then blend from left to right rather than looking at pictures to guess.
Play games that will develop letter sound knowledge such as I Spy.
There are also many phonic games for children to access on the computer or Apps if you have a tablet.
Mr Thorne Does Phonics is a great resource including videos and activities. Mr Thorne also has a number of Apps available.
Some of the terms used can be a little confusing so here is a guide to help you
At the end of Year 1 all children take part in the Year One Phonics Check.