Phonics is a way of teaching children to read and write by blending and segmenting individual sounds. Every letter and different combinations of letters make particular sounds for example the letter ‘s’ makes a hissing like a snake. At Saint Mary’s we follow the Letters and Sounds Programme of teaching which is split into 6 phases that systematically build on skills and knowledge of previous learning. Alongside Letters and Sounds we use Jolly Phonics actions for learning sounds and SuperSonic Phonics for activities to develop early literacy skills. To support reading, we send books home, and have subscriptions to BugClub and Teach Your Monster To Read.
Children throughout Reception and Key stage 1 take part in daily phonics sessions. These sessions focus on key reading skills such as decoding to read words and segmenting the sounds in a given word to spell. During Phonics lessons we also teach children to read and write ‘tricky words’ also known as ‘sight words.’ These are words that you cannot sound out and children are just expected to remember how to read and write.
Key terms we use in our teaching:
Phoneme – a single unit of sound
Grapheme – a written letter, or group of letter that represent a sound.
Digraph – two letters make one sound (e.g. sh, ch, ai, ea, ou, ow).
Trigraph – three letters make one sound (e.g. igh, ear, air, ure).
Split digraph – two letters make one sound but the letters have been split apart by another letter.
Consonants – b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z
Vowels – a, e, i, o, u
Segment – to break down the word into its individual sounds to spell (e.g cat can be split into the sounds c-a-t.).
Blend – to put or merge the sounds together to make a word (e.g. the sounds d-o-g are blended to the word ‘dog’.)
Sound buttons – ways of visually isolating different sounds in a word. We use a dot under letters where one letter makes one sound and a line understand digraphs or trigraphs.
Split digraph - a split digraph contains two letters (a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e and u-e) but they are split between a consonant, for example; cake, bike and pure.
How you can help at home:
1. Reading every night at home with your child
Every week each child will be sent home 3-4 books at their reading level. Read these with your child and ask them questions about the story. Remember to read the books more than once, and the power of 3 (accuracy, fluency and understanding).
2. Practise reading and writing tricky words
If children know these they are more likely to gain speed and fluency in their reading. See the list above.
3. Log into Bug Club or Teach Your Monster to Read
Every child in school has a bug club and teach your monster to read log in which gives you access to interactive books and games. Ask your teacher if you need these details again.