The teaching of systematic, synthetic phonics for reading & writing
At St. Martin’s C of E Primary School our pupils learn to read and write effectively and quickly using the Letters and Sounds Phonics programme.
Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for Practitioners and Teachers.
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(Reception) up to 6 weeks
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(Reception) up to 12 weeks
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(Reception) 4 to 6 weeks
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(Throughout Year 1)
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(Throughout Year 2 and beyond)
Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.
For more detailed information, visit the Letters and Sounds website.
Please use the links below to access our recommended Phonics resources.
We have included websites for parental support and phonics games for your children to use at home to develop their phonological awareness.
How Can I Help My Child At Home?
- Play lots of sound and listening games with your child.
- Read as much as possible to and with your child.
- Encourage and praise – get them to have a ‘good guess’.
- If your child is struggling to decode a word, help them by encouraging them to say each sound in the word from left to right.
- Blend the sounds by pointing to each letter, e.g. /c/ in cat, or the letter group, e.g. /ng in sing. Next move your finger under the whole word as you say it.
- Discuss the meaning of words if your child does not know what they have read.
A Guide for Parents – Year One
What is the Phonics Screening Check?
Children in Year 1 throughout the country will all be taking part in a phonics screening check during the same week in June. Children in Year 2 will also take the check if they did not achieve the required result when in Year 1 or they have not taken the test before.
Head teachers should decide whether it is appropriate for each of their pupils to take the phonics screening check. The phonics screening check is designed to confirm whether individual children have learnt sufficient phonic decoding and blending skills to an appropriate standard.
What Happens During the Test?
The test contains 40 words. Each child will sit one to one and read each word aloud to a teacher. The test will take approximately 10 minutes per child, although all children are different and will complete the check at their own pace. The words the children read is a combination of 20 real words and 20 pseudo words (nonsense words).
Pseudo Words (Nonsense words)
The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. This provides the children with a context for the pseudo word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have. Pseudo words are included because they will be new to all pupils; they do not favour children with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words.
Reporting to Parents
By the end of the summer term all schools must report their child’s results to parents. They will also confirm if the child has met the standard threshold. Children who do not achieve the expected level will retake the test when they are in Year 2.
How Are The Results Used?
Results from the check will be used by schools to analyse their own performance and for Ofsted to use in inspections.