Phonics

 

In school, we follow the Letters and Sounds programme. Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills which consists of six phases. We begin teaching phonics in our nursery, where the children will be introduced to and work their way through Phase 1. The children will then work on Phases 2 and 3 in reception class, Phases 4 and 5 in year one and Phase 6 in year two. 

 

The Terminology

 

Phoneme

A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word. It is generally accepted that most varieties of spoken English use about 44 phonemes. These are the sounds that you can hear the letters make in words.

 

Graphemes

A grapheme is a symbol of a phoneme. It is a letter or group of letters representing a sound when written down.

 

Segmenting and blending

Segmenting consists of breaking words down into phonemes to spell. Blending consists of building words from phonemes to read. Both skills are vitally important in the development of early reading and writing.

 

Digraph

This is when two letters come together to make a phoneme. For example, /oa/ makes the sound in ‘boat’ and is also known as a vowel digraph. There are also consonant digraphs, for example, /sh/ and /ch/.

 

Trigraph

This is when three letters come together to make one phoneme, for example /igh/.

 

Split digraph

A digraph in which the two letters are not adjacent and have been split up by another letter – e.g. make, the k has split the digraph ‘ae’.

 

Abbreviations

VC, CVC, and CCVC are the respective abbreviations for vowel-consonant, consonant-vowel-consonant, consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant, and are used to describe the order of graphemes in words (e.g. am (VC), Sam (CVC), slam (CCVC).

 

 

Phase 1

Phase One of ‘Letters and Sounds’ concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills. Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects.

 

Each aspect contains three strands:

· Tuning in to sounds (auditory discrimination)

· Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing)

· Talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension)

 

Phase 2

In Phase 2, letters and their sounds are introduced one at a time. A set of letters is taught each week, in the following sequence:

 

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, ss

 

The children will begin to learn to blend and segment to help begin reading and spelling. This will begin with simple words.

 

Words using set 1:

at

sat

pat

sat

sap

 

Words using set 1 and 2:

(+i)

(+n)

(+m)

(+d)

it

is

sit

pit

pip

sip

tip

an

in

nip

pan

pin

tan

nap

tin

am

man

mat

map

Pam

Tim

Sam

dad

sad

dim

din

did

Sid

and

dip

 

Words using set 1-3:

(+g)

(+o)

(+c)

(+k)

tag

gag

gig

gap

nag

sag

gas

pig

dig

got

on

not

pot

top

dog

tot

pop

Mog

can

cot

cop

cap

cat

cod

kid

kit

Kim

Ken

 

Words using set 1-4:

(+ck)

(+e)

(+u)

(+r)

kick

sock

sack

dock

pick

sick

pack

tuck

get

pet

ten

net

pen

peg

met

men

up

mum

run

mug

cup

sun

mud

 

rim

rip

ram

rat

rag

rug

rot

 

Words using set 1-5:

(+h)

(+b)

(+f and ff)

(+l and ll)

(+ss)

had

him

his

hot

hut

hop

hum

hit

hat

has

hack

but

big

back

bet

bad

bag

bed

bud

beg

bug

bun

of

if

off

fit

fin

fun

fig

fog

puff

huff

cuff

lap

let

leg

lot

lit

bell

fill

doll

tell

sell

Bill

less

hiss

mass

mess

boss

fuss

hiss

pass

kiss

Tess

 

 

Alongside this, children are introduced to tricky words. These are the words that are irregular. This means that phonics cannot be applied to the reading and spelling of these words. We teach the children that they have to be learnt by recognition.

 

The tricky words introduced in phase 2 are:

to

the

no

go

I

 

Phase 3

By the time children reach Phase 3, they will already be able to blend and segment words containing the 19 letters taught in Phase 2. Over the twelve weeks which Phase 3 is expected to last, twenty-five new graphemes are introduced (one at a time).

 

Set 6: j, v, w, x

Set 7: y, z, zz, qu

Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng

Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure,

er

Sounds

Word example

j

jam

v

vet

w

win

x

box

y

yes

z

zip

zz

buzz

qu

quick

 

 

Sounds

Word example

sh

shin

th

thick

ng

song

ai

train

igh

sight

oa

boat

oi

coil

oo (long)

boot

ee

tree

ch

chop

 

 

Sounds

Word example

oo (short)

foot

ow

now

ar

star

air

hair

ear

hear

er

term

ur

curl

or

fork

ure

pure

 

Tricky words:

we

me

be

was

no

go

my

you

they

her

all

are

 

 

Phase 4

By Phase 4, children will be able to represent each of the 42 phonemes with a grapheme. They will blend phonemes to read and segment CCVC words for spelling. They will also be able to read two syllable words that are simple. They will be able to read all the tricky words learnt so far and will be able to spell some of them. This phase consolidates all the children have learnt in the previous phases and they start to work with adjacent consonants in words, such as fl, br, str, etc.

 

Tricky words:

said

so

she

he

have

like

some

come

were

there

little

one

they

all

are

do

when

out

what

my

her

 

 

 

 

Phase 5

Children will be taught new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these graphemes, as well as graphemes they already know. They will begin to learn to choose the appropriate grapheme when spelling.

 

New graphemes for reading:

 

Sound

Word example

 

Sound

Word example

 

Sound

Word example

 

Sound

Word example

ay

day

 

oy

boy

 

wh

when

 

a_e

make

ou

out

 

ir

girl

 

ph

photo

 

e_e

these

ie

tie

 

ue

blue

 

ew

new

 

i_e

like

ea

eat

 

aw

saw

 

oe

toe

 

o_e

home

 

au

Paul

 

u_e

rule

 

Tricky words:

oh

their

people

Mr

Mrs

looked

called

asked

water

where

who

again

thought

through

work

mouse

many

laughed

because

different

any

eyes

friends

once

please

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phase 6

In phase 6, the focus is on learning spelling rules for word endings (these are known as suffixes). The children will learn how words change when you add certain letters. There are 12 different suffixes taught:

-s -es -ing -ed

-er -est -y -en

-ful -ly -ment -ness

 

Phonics at home

 

Tips for teaching your child the sounds:

¨ It is important for a child to learn lower case or small letters rather than capital letters at first. Most early books and games use lower case letters and your child will learn these first at school. Obviously you should use a capital letter when required, such as at the beginning of the child's name, e.g. Paul.

 

¨ When you talk about letters to your child, remember to use the letter sounds rather than the alphabet names of the letters. The reason for this is that sounding out words is practically impossible if you use the alphabet names. eg. cut, would sound like: see you tee!

 

¨ When saying the sounds of b, d, g, j and w you will notice the 'uh' sound which follows each, for example buh, duh... You cannot say the sound without it, however, try to emphasise the main letter sound. Try hard not to add this ‘uh’ sound on to the end of letters such as s, c, h and p.

 

Useful webpages

http://www.letters-and-sounds.com

http://www.phonicsplay.co.uk

https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/reading-owl/phonics-made-easy/

 

 

 

 

 

Files to Download

Contact the school

Call and speak to either

Mrs Joyce Jones

on 0151 477 8270

Whiston Willis Community

Primary School, Milton Avenue

Prescot, L35 2XY