Our Approach to Phonics
At St Matthew’s C of E Primary School, we follow the Letters and Sounds programme, supplemented by the Jolly Phonics scheme and read/write inc. Initially children's listening skills are developed through the use of music, environmental sounds and rhyme. In Foundation Stage, children are introduced to phonemes (sounds) linked to the letters of the alphabet, as well as one way of spelling each of the other 16 phonemes used in the English language, such as 'igh' and 'ch'. Children are taught to blend or sound out phonics to read a variety of words and segment or break down the sounds in simple words for spelling. Jolly Phonics gives children an action for each sound, which supports children who learn in an active way.
In Year 1, children learn more about the variety of ways in which each phoneme can be spelled and they also learn about the different pronunciations made by different letters or groups of letters, such as 'a' in 'ant' and 'was'. At the end of Year 1, children will be tested on their phonics knowledge, using a national test featuring 20 real words and 20 pseudo-words (nonsense).
From Year 2 onwards, children consolidate their phonics knowledge, learning when to apply different spelling rules as well as how to spell plurals and different verb tenses.
Reading together at home is one of the easiest but most important ways in which you can help your child. To support your child in becoming an effective and confident reader we need to help develop children’s knowledge of phonics (letter sounds) to enable them to decode different words they may come across. Each Reception and Key stage 1 child takes part in a daily phonics teaching session. We are following Government guidance with regards to 6 phases of phonics teaching. This six phase teaching programme focuses on high quality phonic work. The intention is to “…equip children who are 5 with the phonic knowledge and skills they need to become fluent readers by the age of 7.” All children develop at a different rate and the phonics planning reflects individual children’s needs. As children enter Key Stage 2 their phonics sessions become more focused on spelling and appropriate interventions are planned to ensure all six phases are secure.
Below are some websites that are often used in school for phonics sessions. These can also be used at home. There are also some powerpoints that you can use with the children, including one that was shown at the phonics parents' evening this year.