Phonics

At Kelvin Grove Primary School, reading is at the heart of all that we do. Our aim is to encourage a love of books and for all children to leave our school as fluent and avid readers.

Phonics sessions are taught daily and last 20 minutes. Children are grouped according to the phase in which they are working. Sessions are interactive and fast-paced to ensure children make rapid progress. Your child will bring new sounds and ‘tricky’ words home as they learn them and regular practise of these will support their learning.

Phonics Play is a 6-phase programme. We currently follow the scheme to phase 5 then the children begin the RWI Spelling programme.

Overview of Phonemes/Graphemes

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 5

Overview of Tricky Words

Phase 2 

Phase 3 

Phase 4

Phase 5

Phase 1

Phase 1 is taught throughout Nursery and continues into Reception. This phase 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 tuned in to the sounds around them and to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.

This paves the way for systematic learning of phonics and starts in Nursery.

Teachers plan activities that will help children to listen attentively to sounds around them, such as sounds of their toys, in the environment and sounds in spoken words.

Children will be taught a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs. Teachers read a range of books to and with the children. This helps to increase their vocabulary and help them talk confidently. By the end of this phase children will be able to orally blend and segment words.

 

Things to try at home

  • Play games like ‘I spy’
  • Sing songs and rhymes together
  • Make and listen to ‘homemade instruments’ using junk
  • Share lots of books together
  • Sound Talk with your child
  • Visit the library

Phase 2

Phase 2 is taught in Reception. This phase introduces children to new letter sounds daily. As soon as each set of letters is introduced, children will be encouraged to use their knowledge of the letter sounds to blend and sound out words.

Your child will be taught how to pronounce the sounds (phonemes) correctly to make blending easier (see first video link in ‘Useful Websites’). Try to avoid saying ‘suh’, ‘cuh’, etc – instead encourage your child to say the pure sound.

Letter Sounds are taught in this order:

s    a    t    p    i    n    m     d

g    o    c    k    ck    e    u    r

h    b    f    ff    l    ll    ss

Children need to learn all of these in Phase 2 and also be able to read these 5 tricky words:

the     to     I     no     go

They should be able to orally blend (sound talk) CVC words e.g when you sound out c-a-t, They can tell you the word is cat, and also orally segment CVC words e.g. when you say mam, they can pick out the sounds m-a-m.

Spelling is harder than reading. During this phase they will use lots of alternatives to pencil and paper (magnetic letters, writing in sand, using paint, etc).

 

Things to try at home

  • Use magnetic letters to spell/read words
  • Spot the 5 tricky words in books or when out and about
  • Regular practise of blending/segmenting using sound cards
  • Read to your child
  • Read with your child

Phase 3

Phase 3 is taught in Reception. Children learn all 44 phonemes and use their phoneme/grapheme knowledge to read and spell words.

The purpose of this phase is to teach 25 graphemes most of them comprising of two letters so the children can represent each of the 42 phonemes. Your child will continue to blend and segment for reading and spelling. They are also taught the letter names throughout this phase.

Letter Sounds are taught in this order:

j     v     w     x     y     z     zz     qu     ch

sh     th     ng     ai      igh     oa     oo     oo     ar

or     ur     ow     oi     ear     air     ure     er

Children need to learn all of these in Phase 3 and also be able to read these 12 tricky words:

he     she     we     me     be     was

my     you     they     all    are

They should now, also, be able to spell the 5 tricky words form phase 2.

Things to try at home

  • Regular practise of sound cards
  • Regular practise of reading and spelling tricky words
  • Regular practise of blending/segmenting using sound cards
  • 10 minutes of reading every night
  • Begin to encourage fluency when reading (Sounding out words in head)

Phase 4

Phase 4 is taught in Reception and Year 1. Children learn how to read and spell words with adjacent consonants. 

In Phase 4, children continue to practise previously taught graphemes and phonemes and learn how to read and write:

CVCC words – (consonant, vowel, consonant, consonant) For example: toast, milk,

CCVC words – For example: swim, frog, spoon

As well as 14 more tricky words:

some     come       one      said     do     so      were

when     have       there    out      like   little    what

The children should now also be able to write the Phase 3 tricky words.

Things to try at home

  • Regular practise of sound cards
  • Regular practise of reading and spelling tricky words
  • Regular practise of blending/segmenting using sound cards
  • 10 minutes of reading every night
  • Begin to encourage fluency when reading (Sounding out words in head)

Phase 5

Phase 5 is taught throughout Year 1. Children learn how to spell letter sounds in more than one way. Children will continue to be taught phonics until they are secure in this phase.

When children have completed Phase 5 they will move to the Spelling Programme Read, Write Inc to continue to work on spelling patterns.

The purpose of this phase is for the children to broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling, including:

ay     ou     ie     oe     ea     oy     ir     ue

au     aw     wh     ph     ew      ey

a-e     e-e     i-e     o-e     u-e    

They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and the graphemes they already know, where relevant. For example the phoneme ‘a’ can have alternative phonemes: hat/acorn/was. There are many alternatives which the children will investigate during this Phase.

They will also learn more tricky words:

Mr     Mrs     people     called     oh     looked     asked     their     could

The children should now be able to write the Phase 4 tricky words and continue to learn how to spell the phase 5 tricky words.

Things to try at home

  • Regular practise of sound cards
  • Regular practise of reading and spelling tricky words
  • Regular practise of blending/segmenting using sound cards
  • 10 minutes of reading every night
  • Begin to encourage fluency when reading (Sounding out words in head)

Practise and Play at Home

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/levels/z3g4d2p

A whole host of different subjects and things to discover.

https://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/resources

Free phase 3, 4 and 5 phonic games.

https://www.phonicsbloom.com

Full phonic games across all phases.

Glossary of Phonic Terminology

It sounds simple, but it can be incredibly daunting when you are faced with technical vocabulary like split digraphs, phonemes or graphemes! Below, we breakdown key terms into a handy glossary to help you aid your child at home. 

Adjacent consonants

Two or three consonants next to each other that represent different sounds. For example, bl in black. Notice here that bl makes the two different sounds b and l, whereas ck makes the single sound ck

Blending

Blending involves merging the sounds in a word together in order to pronounce it. This is important for reading. For example, j-a-m blended together reads the word jam

Consonant

The letters of the alphabet (apart from the vowels a, e, i, o and u). 

Consonant digraph

A digraph that is made up of two consonants (sh in shop).

CVC words

An abbreviation for consonant-vowel-consonant. This is a simple way of indicating the order of the graphemes in words. For example, it (VC), cat (CVC), bench (CVCC).

Digraph

A grapheme made up of two letters that makes one sound (sh in fish).

Grapheme

A grapheme is simply a way of writing down a phoneme. A grapheme can be one letter (s), two letters (ir), three letters (igh) or four letters in length (ough).

Grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs)

Knowing your GPCs means being able to hear a phoneme and knowing what grapheme to use to represent it. This is helpful for spelling.

Conversely, it also means seeing a grapheme and knowing the phoneme that relates to it, which is important for reading. 

Phoneme

The smallest unit of sound in a word. There are around 44 phonemes in English and they are represented by graphemes in writing. Phonemes are usually shown as symbols between two forward slashes. For example, /b/or /ch/

Segmenting

Segmenting involves breaking up a word that you hear into its sounds. This helps with spelling because if you know what graphemes represent the sounds in the word, you can write it!

For example, the word jam is segmented into the sounds j-a-m

Split digraph

A digraph that is split between a consonant (a-e in make). A split digraph usually changes the sound of the first vowel. For example, compare the pronunciation between hug and huge.

Tricky words

Words that are commonly used in English, but they have complex spelling patterns which make them difficult to read and write. For example, said, of and was

Trigraph

A grapheme made up of three letters that makes one sound (igh in high).

Vowel

The letters a, e, i, o and u.

Vowel digraph

A digraph that is made up of two vowels (ea in sea).

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