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What is Phonics?

At South Parade Primary School, phonics teaching is an important part of English skills.  We teach phonics and spellings in EYFS and KS1 in daily 20 minute sessions using a document called ‘Letters and Sounds’ published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. We use LCP Planning which converts Letters and Sounds into weekly and daily planning to ensure full coverage of phonics is taught. Phonics teaching involves teaching the children the sounds that letters can make individually, in pairs (digraphs) or threes (trigraphs) and how these sounds can be blended together to make words. For example, the word 'dog' is a decodable word because the letter sounds can be blended together.

d - o - g = dog

 

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.

English has 26 letters but 44 sounds. Children learn that sometimes two letters or three letters together make one sound (for example ee, th, igh).  Letters and sounds groups learning into phases. Phase 1 is all about hearing sounds around them and this begins to be taught in nursery.  Below is a table which outlines what is taught in each phase.

Phase

Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One

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

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

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, 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

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

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

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.

Within each phase there are also ‘tricky’ words to learn. These are works that do not follow a phonics pattern and just have to be learnt by rote learning. These words are:

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Phase 5

the

to

I

no

go

into

you

they

all

are

my

her

he

she

we

me

be

was

said

like

do

come

there

little

out

have

so

some

were

one

when

what

oh

could

their

people

Mr

Mrs

looked

called

asked

 

Children are also expected to read then write the 100 high frequency words, followed by the next 200 high frequency words. Some of these are included in the tricky word list above.

High Frequency Words

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