Published on 27/01/14
All children take part in a daily active phonics session. The sessions are fast paced and the emphasis is on games, songs and actions to help children learn to use their phonics knowledge for reading and writing. From a very early stage, children develop awareness of different sounds in spoken language. They develop understanding that spoken words are made up of different sounds (phonemes) and they learn to match these phonemes to letters (graphemes).
Phonics is about children knowing how letters link to sounds, for example c as in ‘cat’, ll as in ‘fell’, ee as in ‘sheep’. At the Pre-prep we use a combination of two phonics programmes ‘Letter and Sounds’ and ‘Jolly Phonics’.
When we introduce a new letter or combination of letters to the children we use the stories, songs and actions from the ‘Jolly Phonics’ programme.
Letters and Sounds
This programme determines the order that we teach the letters and how we teach blending the sounds for reading and segmenting the sounds for writing.
Letters and Sounds is divided into 6 phases, each phase builds on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. Children are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’, which are words with spellings that are unusual or can not be phonetically spelt, for example the, was, said. While in Kindergarten and Reception the children will usually start with Phase 1 and move through to Phase 5 by the end of Reception.
The children learn to listen attentively and begin to ‘sound- talk’, for example say the separate sounds in a word before merging them together to make the word, c-a-t = cat or the other way round cat = c-a-t
This is all oral. The children would not yet be expected to match the letters to the sounds as the emphasis is on helping the children hear the separate sounds in words.
Children are taught to match the letters to sounds and that some sounds can be represented by more than one letter. We call these sounds ‘digraphs’ and letters that are ‘holding hands’, for example ll as in b-e-ll, or ck as in t-i-ck
When introducing new sounds the children will be taught to say the pure sound; when possible ‘uh’ sounds after consonants should not be said, for example ‘cuh’ instead of c. Alongside learning the sounds the children will also be taught the letter names and how to form the letters correctly. They will practice reading and writing cvc words with all the letters and sounds in this phase.
Children continue to learn digraphs/ letters that hold hands, oa as in boat. They practice applying their phonics knowledge to reading and writing. During this phase the children really develop confidence in their ability.
Children continue to practice all their previously learned graphemes and phonemes and learn how to write:
cvcc words: toast, paint
ccvc words: sport, plum
By the end of phase 4 the children should be confident independent writers and be reading simple sentences fluently.