Phonics is a method for teaching reading and writing of the English language by developing learners' phonemic awareness. It includes the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate phonemes in order to teach the correspondence between these sounds and the spelling patterns that represent them.
At Moon's Moat First School we use Letters and Sounds to support phonics and the No Nonsense Spelling program to teach spelling patterns.(A spelling page to follow soon.)
What are Phonics Phases?
Phases are the way the Letters and Sounds Program is broken down to teach sounds in a certain order.
At the same time whole words that cannot be broken down easily, (we call “tricky words”) are taught to the children.
Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
(Reception) up to 6 weeks
Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions. It is important that children learn the letter sounds to blend and segment. Watch Mr Thorne's youtube videos here for help.
(Reception) up to 12 weeks
The remaining letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Digraphs and trigraphs such as ch, oo, th, igh and air representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
(Reception) 4 to 6 weeks
No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
(Throughout Year 1)
Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phonics Play is a fantastic website that has many resources like the one above. Click here for the website.
The correct articulation of phonemes is essential for children to be able to segment and blend accurately. Please watch the below video to see how this is done.
What are “Tricky words”?
Tricky words are words that cannot be ‘sounded-out’ but need to be learned by heart. You will find a list of these in your child's reading diary.
What do the Phonics terms mean?
Phoneme: The smallest unit of sound in a word, e.g. c/a/t, sh/o/p, t/ea/ch/er.
Grapheme: A letter or group of letter representing one sound, e.g. sh, igh, t.
Clip Phonemes: when teaching sounds ,always clip them short ‘mmmm’ not ‘muh’
Digraph: Two letters which together make one sound, e.g. sh, ch, ee, ph, oa. (Here we use the letter names to describe them)
Split digraph: Two vowels which work as a pair, split around a consonant, to represent one sound, e.g. a-e as in cake, or i-e as in kite.
Trigraph: three letters which together make one sound but cannot be separated into smaller phonemes, e.g. igh as in light, ear as in heard, air as in chair.
Segmentation: means hearing the individual phonemes within a word – for instance the word ‘crash’ consists of four phonemes: ‘c – r – a – sh’. In order to spell this word, a child must segment it into its component phonemes and choose a grapheme to represent each phoneme.
Blending: means merging the individual phonemes together to pronounce a word. In order to read an unfamiliar word, a child must recognise (‘sound out’) each grapheme, not each letter (e.g. ‘th-i-n’ not ‘t-h-i-n’), and then merge the phonemes together to make the word.
Mnemonics: a device for memorising and recalling something, such as a hand action of a drill to remember the phoneme /d/.
Adjacent consonants: two or three letters with discrete sounds, which are blended together e.g. str, cr, tr, gr. (previously consonant clusters).
Comprehension: understanding of language whether it is spoken or written.
All of our teachers are skilled phonics teachers, so please ask if you like any help or advice. Mrs Moorhouse is the English Lead and is also available to help you and your child.