At St. Paul’s, children are taught to use phonic knowledge as the route to decode words. To do this, we use Letters and Sounds to teach children to read and spell with phonics. It is a systematic synthetic phonics programme that has six phases. It provides consistency and continuity in teaching and learning from Nursery to Year 2.
In Nursery, Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds is introduced. Teachers plan activities that help children to listen attentively to sounds around them in the environment and musical sounds before moving onto sounds that they can make with their bodies and voices.
In Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, children are taught phonics in a daily whole class 30-minute lesson. Each week’s structure consists of a word reading, sentence reading, word writing, sentence writing and Common Exception Word lesson and each lesson’s structure is to review/revisit, teach, practise and apply.
In Reception, the children learn Phases 2, 3 and 4. They learn:
- How to represent each of the 42 sounds (phonemes) by a letter or sequence of letters (graphemes)
- Blend sounds together to read words and segment (split) words for spelling
- Letter names
- How to read and spell Common Exception Words (words that have to be learnt to read and spell off by heart because there is a tricky part in the word that can’t be read correctly by sounding out or spelt correctly by segmenting using phonics) See Appendix 1
In Phase 2, they will learn phonemes (sounds) for graphemes (letters).
They will be taught how to pronounce the sounds correctly to make blending easier.
They will practise orally blending CVC words. They hear c-a-t and can say the word cat.
They will practise orally segmenting CVC words. They hear mum and can say m-u-m.
In Phase 3, they will learn 25 graphemes. Most of these comprise of two letters (e.g. oa).
By the end of this phase the children will be able to represent each of the 42 sounds.
They will blend to read and segment to spell.
In Phase 4, the children will learn to use the graphemes that they have learnt in Phases 2 and 3 to read and write CVCC (tent, damp, toast) and CCVC words (swim, plum, cream). These are called adjacent consonants.
They will then learn to read and write words which have adjacent consonants at the beginning and the end (crisp, blend, plump).
In Year 1, the children learn Phase 5.
They learn new ways of representing the sounds and practise blending to read and segmenting to spell.
They will also learn new pronunciations for the graphemes they have already learnt (e.g. ‘a’ can be hat, acorn or wash and ‘y’ can be yes, by, gym or very).
In spelling, the children practise choosing the correct grapheme for the sounds in the words that they are spelling (e.g. the /ai/ sound in clay is /ay/ not /ai/ or /a-e/).
In Year 2, the children learn Phase 6.
During this phase, they become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.
They focus on learning spelling rules for adding 12 different suffixes (word endings).
They learn how the root words change when they add a suffix.
At St. Paul’s, we continually assess the children’s learning in every lesson, term-by-term and at the end of each phase so that timely and effective intervention can be put into place. This may be same day reactive teaching to practise further and secure learning from the whole class morning lesson to prevent gaps and enable the children to be ready for the next day’s lesson or a series of sessions delivered to consolidate or address weaknesses in a previous phase.
Children who have not passed the Phonics Screening in Year 1 or Year 2 continue this phonic learning in Key Stage 2 until it is complete and secure.
To enable the children to practise these skills at home, we provide all children in Reception and KS1 with a log in for Reading Eggs.