LETTERS AND SOUNDS – PHONICS
WELCOME TO OUR PHONICS HELP PAGE!
This page should have all the answers you are looking for about how to say each sound, which terminology to use and what is taught when. If you have any questions about anything at all, please speak to Mrs Sell or your child’s class teacher.
WHAT IS PHONICS?
Phonics consists of teaching the skills of segmenting and blending, the alphabetic code and an understanding of how this is used in reading and spelling. Simply put, it is hearing the sounds in a word and writing them down to spell it correctly. When reading, it is sounding out a word and sticking the sounds back together to read the whole word.
ISN’T THERE A TEST?
Yes, there is a National Phonics Screening in Year 1 where the children have to read 20 real words and 20 ‘alien’ words. This is conducted in a very child-friendly way by the class teachers. At every parents evening you will be informed of your child’s progress in Phonics and at the end of Year 1 the school report will inform you if they have passed or not. If your child does not pass in Year 1 they will be given additional support throughout Year 2 to enable them to pass the next year. Parent briefings on the Phonics check and Key Stage 1 tests are available through the Spring and Summer terms.
WHAT WILL MY CHILD LEARN THIS YEAR?
Phase 1 is introduced at the end of Nursery. Phases 1 , 2, 3 and 4 are taught within Year R. Phases 4 and 5 are taught in year 1. All phases are then revisited as part of Year 2, alongside phase 6 to develop the children’s spelling understanding. This year we have hosted successful parent workshops on phonics where you will have had the opportunity to take part in a session alongside your child. Thank you to those who attended.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD IS SAYING THE SOUNDS CORRECTLY?
Following parent feedback we have provided a helpful video below to help you and your child at home. In the video you will see the Jolly Phonics action sheet and a list of simple words containing the focus sound. It is important to enunciate the sounds correctly and try to encourage your child not to add on the /uh/ sound, for example saying /t/ not /tuh/. Why not join in and say the phonemes (sounds) together?
A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word.
Feel/watch how your mouth changes when you say a word, every time your mouth moves/changes shape you are saying a new phoneme, e.g. b-r-i-ck
There are 44 phonemes in the English language
Graphemes represent how a phoneme is spelt. Each grapheme is a unit of sound regardless of how many letters there are.
e.g. The word b-r-igh-t is made up of 4 phonemes; the igh phoneme is represented by 3 letters but only makes one phoneme.
A grapheme can represent more than one phoneme e.g. C = cat and city
Two letters, which makes 1 phoneme. e.g. duck
A consonant diagraph contains two consonants
e.g. sh ck th ll
A vowel diagraph contains at least one vowel
e.g. ai ee ar oy
A diagraph in which the two letters are not adjacent e.g. make
a-e is a unit of sound (diagraph)- it is being ‘split’ by the constant k.
Three letters, which make 1 phoneme. e.g. light
Hearing a series of spoken phonemes and merging them together to make a spoken word without corresponding to any graphemes (no text is needed). e.g. teacher says “b-u-s” children say “bus”
Blending (links to reading)
Recognising the letter sounds in a written word and merging them together in the order they are written to pronounce the word. e.g. c-u-p = cup
Segmenting (links to writing)
Identifying the individual phonemes in a spoken word and writing them down to form a word.
To ensure your child is regularly applying their Phonics skills at home, it will be helpful to practise reading and spelling activities sent home by your child’s class teacher. Below, please find useful links to other games and activities to support your child at home with phonics.
MY QUESTION HASN’T BEEN ANSWERED – WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Please speak to your child’s class teacher or Mrs Sell so we can help you and your child feel confident about Phonics.