Phonics is how we teach young children to read. In phonics, children learn the letter sounds and how these blend together to make up words. We use a programme called Letters and Sounds for our phonics teaching at The Rydal Academy.
Letters and Sounds is a six-phase programme designed to help teach children to read and spell with phonics. This page will give you more information about how phonics is taught through Letters and Sounds and also ways that you can help your child to learn to read.
Once children are bringing home a phonics reading book and/or flashcards (Reception – Y2) we ask that parents and carers make time to listen to their children read these daily. This regular practise ensures that children build up their confidence with phonics quickly and become fluent readers. Once children are fluent readers, they can get the most out of the full school curriculum.
Overview of the six phonics phases in Letters and Sounds.
Phase One (Nursery /Reception)
The aim of this phase is to foster children’s speaking and listening skills as preparation for learning to read with phonics.
Parents can play a vital role in helping their children develop these skills, by encouraging their children to listen carefully and talk extensively about what they hear, see and do.
Phase Two – Four (Reception / Year One)
Phase Two is when systematic, high quality phonic work begins.
During Phase Two to Four, children learn:
- How to represent each of the 42 sounds by a letter or sequence of letters.
- How to blend sounds together for reading and how to segment (split) words for spelling.
- Letter names e.g. through an alphabet song. There is some debate as to when letter names should be introduced, but it is generally best to leave teaching letter names until children are secure with the alphabet letter sounds, as these are what are important when learning to read with phonics.
- How to read and spell some high frequency ‘tricky’ words containing sounds not yet learnt (e.g. they, my, her, you).
The Letters and Sounds Programme suggests an order for teaching the letters, and a fast pace of one Set per week. It recognises, however, that children’s personal experience of letters varies enormously. Most importantly, it progresses from the simple to the more complex aspects of phonics at a pace that is suitable for the children who are learning.
Phase Five (Year 1/ Year 2)
Children learn new ways of representing the sounds and practise blending for reading and segmenting for spelling.
Phase Six (Year 2)
During this phase, children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.
Spoken English uses about 42 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). The alphabet contains only 26 letters, but we use it to make all the graphemes that represent the phonemes of English. In other words, a sound can be represented by a letter (e.g. ‘s’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘th’ or ‘igh’).
Once children begin learning letters, they are used as quickly as possible in reading and spelling words. Children can then see the purpose of learning letters. For this reason, the first six letters taught are ‘s’, ‘a’, ‘t’, ‘p’, ‘i’, ‘n’. These can immediately be used to make a number of words such as ‘sat’, ‘pin’, ‘pat’, ‘tap’, ‘nap’.
As a parent, your involvement in supporting your child’s learning will be a vital factor in determining their success in learning to read.
Magnetic boards and letters are one of the most effective ways to help children learn letters and develop their reading and spelling skills in a multi-sensory way. Children find using them enjoyable and easy to understand and apply.
Other useful resources include:
- Flash cards
- Wall Frieze or poster
- Alphabet puzzles
- Alphabet games such as ‘I-Spy’, Phonics Lotto
Please see the following guide for further detailed information about the teaching of systematic phonics – CLICK HERE TO VIEW
Please see this guide for further information about the phonics screening check which all Year 1 pupils take in summer term – CLICK HERE TO VIEW
Phonics home learning booklets to download
- Phase 1 workbook
These phonics booklets have been prepared by our phonics leader to support further practise of phonics at home. Please contact your child’s class teacher if you would like the relevant home learning booklet printing again for your child or if you would like further support with how you can help your child with their phonics learning.
We also highly recommend using our school subscription to Reading Eggs to support children’s phonics learning at home – https://readingeggs.co.uk and also watching relevant videos on the Letters and Sounds You Tube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP_FbjYUP_UtldV2K_-niWw