What is phonics?
You might be wondering how you can help your child learn to read at home or perhaps you are interested in knowing a bit more about what they are learning at school.
Most parents of young children were taught to read using a different strategy to the one used today, which is why it can be hard to know what to do for the best. This guide provides some information and advice about the current reading strategy in schools.
The way children are taught to read these days is called phonics or most recently, letters and sounds. There are some other useful words you might want to know like phoneme (the sound of each letter) and grapheme (what each letter looks like) Please see the phonics glossary for more information.
What differs now from when most of us were children is the very short sounds that letters make. It is important to keep the sounds short, so that when children are blending (which means putting sounds together to make words) they can hear the word that they are sounding out.
Here is the order in which the letters are taught and the phases:
Phase 1 (This is covered in Nursery and is also recapped in Reception)
Phase 2 (covered in Reception)
Learning which letter makes which sound (one taught per week)
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
Phase 3 (covered in Reception and Year 1 if a review is required)
Set 6: j v w x
Set 7: y z zz qu
ch sh th ng ai ee igh oa oo ar or ur ow oi ear air ure er
Phase 4 (covered in Reception and reviewed in Year 1)
No new graphemes
Practising all the graphemes and blending them together to make words.
Phase 5: (covered in Year 1) New graphemes:
ay (day) ou (out) ie (tie) ea (east) oy (boy) ir (girl) ue (blue) aw (saw) wh (when) ph (photo) ew (new) oe (toe) au (Paul)
Split digraphs (where the sound is split by another letter)
a-e (make) e-e (these) i-e (like) o-e (home) u-e (rule)
New pronunciations for known letters:
i (fin, find) o (hot, cold) c ( cat, cent) g (got, giant) u (but, put ( in south of England), ow (cow, blow) ie (tie, field) ea (eat, bread)
er (farmer, her) a (hat, what) y (yes, by, very) ch (chin, school, chef) ou (out, shoulder, could, you)
Phase 6: (covered in Year 2):
The children are not learning to read but are now reading to learn. They are becoming confident and fluent readers. This phase looks at spelling patterns.
We hold a Phonics workshop evening in the Autumn Term which our early years and KS1 parents are invited to attend. Please look out for the date on our school calendar and weekly newsletters.