At Severn View Primary Academy phonics is taught daily. We use a systematic phonics programme devised by the Primary National Strategy, called Letters and Sounds.
Phonics is the study of the sounds in the English language and how they are represented by letters. Phonics teaches children how to put them together to read (blending) and how to take them apart to spell (segmenting). These skills are the foundations for learning to read and write successfully.
Letters and Sounds is a highly structured programme, which allows children time to practise and consolidate skills in both reading and writing before progressing to the next step. The programme is divided into six phases, as summarised below.
This phase begins in Nursery and is ongoing into Reception and beyond. It aims to develop children’s ability to tune into sounds (auditory discrimination), to listen to and remember sounds (auditory memory and sequencing), and to talk about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension). Activities are divided into seven aspects: environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting.
Children learn the sounds made by 19 letters of the alphabet and the correct way to write these letters. They learn how to blend the sounds together to make words and how to separate words into units of sound to spell them. For example, the word ‘cat’ is made from three sounds ‘c-a-t.’ A multi-sensory, active approach helps to embed the learning. Songs and actions accompany the sounds and the children may practise forming the letters in sand, mud or fingerpaint. Games are used as a vehicle for practising blending and segmenting. Phase 2 learning usually occurs in Reception class.
Children are taught the sounds for the remaining 7 letters of the alphabet before learning some digraphs – single sounds made by a combination of two letters – for example ‘ch’ and ‘sh.’ They continue to practise blending and segmenting and by the end of this phase they will be reading captions, questions and sentences. Phase 3 learning also usually occurs in Reception class.
During this stage, children consolidate the letters and sounds they have learned in phases 2 and 3. They are not introduced to any new letters and sounds but instead learn to blend and segment longer words.
During Year 1, children work on broadening their knowledge of letters and sounds used in reading and spelling. They will learn alternative pronunciations for letters that they already know.
Children will work at this phase during Year 2 and beyond. At this stage children will be becoming increasingly fluent readers, increasing their pace and reading independently for enjoyment. Spelling rules will be systematically taught, for example, using prefixes and suffixes and the past tense.
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