At Moorland Primary School we use Letters and Sounds which is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. Primarily, this aims to build children's speaking and listening skills and to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. This is achieved by undertaking a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonics. The Letters and Sounds scheme of work is broken down into 6 phases. These are explained below.
Phase 1 develops children’s abilities to listen to, make, explore and talk about sounds around them. This phase is split into 7 aspects that are explored and developed through games.
- General sound discriminations - environment sounds
- General sound discriminations - instrumental sounds
- General sound discriminations - body percussion
- Rhythm and rhyme
- Voice sounds
- Oral blending and segmenting
During Phase 2 children start to recognise GPC - they are introduced in the order below; we will practise saying these sounds. The children will then be able to read and write them in words.
Set 1 - s a t p
Set 2 - i n m d
Set 3 - g o c k
Set 4 - ck e u r
Set 5 - h b f ff l ll s ss
Phase 3 continues in the same way as Phase 2 and introduces more new GPCs. By the end of Phase 3 the children will know one way of writing down each of the 44 phonemes.
Set 6 - j v w x
Set 7 - y z zz qu
Consonant digraphs - ch sh th ng
Vowel digraphs (and trigraphs) ai ee igh oa oo ar or ur ow oi ear air ure er
In Phase 4 we practise everything we have learnt so far and concentrate on getting the children confident at blending and segmenting words with adjacent consonants e.g. truck, help.
Phase 5 is a long phase and is split into 3 parts.
In Phase 5a the children are introduced to some new GPCs as in previous phases; five of these GPCs are known as split digraphs. They are a_e, e_e, i_e, o_e, u_e. These used to be taught as magic e but now it is recommended that children learn to recognise these in the same way as other graphemes but simply explaining that in these particular graphemes the two letters work as a team but they aren't directly next to each other.
In 5b the children are introduced to the idea that some graphemes can be pronounced in more than one way. E.g. the ‘ch’ grapheme can be pronounced in each of these ways e.g. check, chef and school.
In 5c the children will learn that some phonemes have more than one spelling.
Phase 6 reinforces much of the learning from Phase 5, helping children to develop greater automaticity in reading and begins to explore spelling rules and conventions e.g. adding ‘–ing’ and ‘–ed’. Once children reach Phase 6, we work on helping them to move away from blending and segmenting and develop automaticity in their reading.
The children in Year 1 & 2 will also be expected to be able to read and write a list of common exception words; these will often be used in class and feature in the children spellings tests.
Year 1 Phonics Screening Check
The government has introduced a phonics screening check at the end of Year 1. This will further inform our continual assessment of the children’s phonic knowledge. It comprises a list of 40 words that children read one-to-one with a teacher. The list is a combination of both real and ‘alien’ words which rely purely on using phonics to decode. The ‘alien’ words are made up and will be shown with a picture of an imaginary creature eg ‘sturg’, ‘zom’.
Glossary of Phonics Terms
Phoneme - The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English (it depends on different accents). Phonemes can be put together to make words.
Grapheme - A way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g ough.
GPC - This is short for Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence. Knowing a GPC means being able to match a phoneme to a grapheme and vice versa.
Digraph - A grapheme containing two letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).
Trigraph - A grapheme containing three letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).
Oral Blending - This involves hearing phonemes and being able to merge them together to make a word. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to blend written words.
Blending - This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word. This is the basis of reading.
Oral Segmenting - This is the act hearing a whole word and then splitting it up into the phonemes that make it. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to segment words to spell them.
Segmenting - This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order. This is the basis of spelling.
Split Digraph - Examples are a_e, e_e, i_e, o_e, u_e. These used to be taught as magic e but now it is recommended that children learn to recognise these in the same way as other graphemes but simply explaining that in these particular graphemes the two letters work as a team but they aren't directly next to each other.
Correct pronunciations www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqhXUW_v-1s&safe=true
Phonics games www.bigbrownbear.co.uk/magneticletters/
Letters and Sounds Document https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/190599/Letters_and_Sounds_-_DFES-00281-2007.pdf
What is systematic synthetic phonics (SSP)?
Synthetic phonics, also known as blended phonics or inductive phonics, is a method of teaching English reading which first teaches the letter sounds and then builds up to blending these sounds together to achieve full pronunciation of whole words.
How is SSP taught at Moorland?
SSP is taught for 20 minutes daily. Children in year 1, 2 & 3 are set for phonics. The phases range from phase 1-6. Reception teach daily phonics sessions; they will set with their phase group once the children are ready. Phonics is used and encouraged within all areas of learning and supported through the use of learning resources within the classroom.
How and when is phonics assessed?
Children in Reception and Year 1 are baselined at the beginning of the year and set accordingly. Year 2 & 3 are assessed every half term and move accordingly, using teacher judgement and phonic assessments.
Is phonics taught throughout school?
SSP taught sessions are taught daily from Reception to Year 3. Children who require further phonics interventions will be placed into phonics groups as and where needed.
How is phonics planned?
Phonics is planned through a 4 part lesson – review, teach, practise and apply. All SSP sessions plan alongside the letters and sounds programme and use phonics play to aid sessions and planning structure.