What is Phonics?
Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. It runs alongside other teacher methods such as Guided Reading and Shared Reading to help children develop all the other vital reading skills and hopefully give them a real love of reading.
So, what exactly is phonics?
Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words.
In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:
Grapheme, phoneme, correspondence.
This simply means that they are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p.
Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.
Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.
How is phonics taught?
Planning for our phonics teaching is predominantly based on the letters and sounds document. All of the children on entry, are provided with high quality phase one teaching, these activities will concentrate on developing speaking and listening skill, phonological awareness and oral blending and segmenting.
Once children are identified as being ready to learn formal phonics, children move onto phase 2 using the Jolly Phonics programme. We realise that not every child will be ready to start Jolly Phonics at the same time; therefore practitioners will wait until children are ready and start the children at different times during the year.
As the children move into KS1 they are grouped according to the phase they are working at, this will ensure the children are taught at the correct level and enjoy their learning.
Phonics lessons take place daily; they last approximately 15-20 minutes and are delivered in a fun and interactive way.