A guide to how phonics will help your child to read and spell

 

 

 

 

Letters and Sounds is a fun and interactive way to support children in learning how to read and write. Initially, for the children to learn their sounds we use a programme called Letters and Sounds, which represents each sound with an action helping children to remember both more easily.

 

The alphabet contains only 26 letters. Spoken English uses about  44  sounds (phonemes).  These  phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). In other words, a sound can be represented by a letter (e.g. ‘s’ or ‘h’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘th’ or ‘ear’).

Once children begin learning sounds, they are used quickly to read and spell words.   This leaflet provides an overview of the teaching of letters and sounds at The Coastal Federation, to help you support your child.

 

 

There are six phases of letters and sounds taught from Pre-school to Year 2.  Phase 1 begins in Pre-school, phases 2, 3 and 4 are taught in Reception and consolidated in Year 1. Children are then taught phase 5 in Year 1 and phase 6 in Year 2.

 

 

What do all the technical words mean?

What is a phoneme?

It is the smallest unit of sound and a piece of terminology that children like to use and should be taught.  At first it will equate  with  a  letter  sound  but  later  on  will  include  the digraphs.  For example `rain’ has three phonemes, /r / ai /  n.

 

What is a grapheme?

A grapheme is a letter or a number of letters that represent a sound (phoneme) in a word. Another way to explain it is to say that a grapheme is a letter or letters that spell a sound in a word. E.g. /ee/,/ ea/, /ey/ all make the same phoneme but are spelt differently.

 

What is a digraph?

This is when two or more letters come together to make a phoneme. /oa/ makes the sound in boat.

What is blending?

Blending is the process that is involved in bringing the sounds together to make a word or a syllable and is how /c/  /a/  /t/ becomes cat.  To learn to read well children must be able to smoothly blend sounds  together.  Blending sounds  fluidly  helps  to  improve fluency when reading. Blending is more difficult to do with longer words so learning how to blend accurately from an early age is imperative. Showing your child how to blend is important. Model how to ‘push’  sounds  smoothly  together  without  stopping  at  each individual sound.

 

What is segmenting?

Segmenting is a skill used in spelling. In order to spell the word  cat,  it  is  necessary  to  segment  the  word  into  its constituent sounds; c-a-t. Children often understand segmenting as ‘chopping’ a word. Before  writing  a  word  young  children  need  time  to  think about it, say the word several times, ‘chop’ the word and then write it. Once children have written the same word several times they won’t need to use these four steps as frequently. Children will enjoy spelling if it feels like fun and if they feel good about themselves as spellers. We need, therefore, to be playful and positive in our approach – noticing and praising what children can do as well as helping them to correct their mistakes.

 

 

What are exception words?

Exception words  are words  that  cannot  be  ‘sounded-out’  but need to be learned by heart. They don’t fit into the usual spelling  patterns.  Examples  of  these  words  are  attached under each phase. In order to read simple sentences, it is necessary for children to know some words that have unusual or untaught spellings. It should be noted that, when teaching these words, it is important to always start with sounds already known in the word, then focus on the 'exception' part.

 

 

What are high frequency words?

High frequency (common) are words that recur frequently in much of the written material young children read and that they need when they write.

 

What are CVC words?

CVC stands for consonant- vowel- consonant, so a word such as map, cat is CVC. In phase 4 we talk about CCVC words such as clip, stop.

Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds 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 attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.

 

 

 

Phase 2

 

In Phase 2, letters and their sounds are introduced one at a time.  A set of letters is taught each week, in the following sequence:

 

Set1: s,a,t,p

Set2: i,n,m,d

Set3: g,o,c,k

Set4: ck,e,u,r

Set5: h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss

 

The children will begin to learn to blend and segment to begin reading and spelling. This will begin with simple words.

 

exception words introduced in Phase2

 

the

to

I

go

into

no

Phase 3

By the time they reach Phase 3, children will already be able to blend and segment words containing the 19 letters taught in Phase 2.

 

Over the twelve weeks which Phase 3 is expected to last, twenty-five new graphemes are introduced (one at a time).

 

Set 6: j, v, w, x

Set 7: y, z, zz, qu

Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng

Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air,ure, er

 

Exception words introduced in Phase 3:

 

 

we

me

be

was

no

go

my

you

they

her

all

are

 

 

 

Phase 4

 

By Phase 4 children will be able to represent each of 42 phonemes with a grapheme.   They will blend phonemes to read CCVC and CVCC words and segment these words for spelling.   They will also be able to read two syllable words that are simple.   They will be able to read all the exception words learnt so far and will be able to spell some of them.

 

This phase consolidates all the children have learnt in the previous phases.

exception words introduced in Phase 4:

 

said

so

she

he

have

like

some

come

were

there

little

one

they

all

are

do

when

out

what

my

her

 

 

 

 

 

By this point children would be expected to be reading CVC words at speed along with the exception words from the previous phases.    It  is  important  that  children  are  taught  that blending is only used when a word is unfamiliar.

 

 

 

Phase 5

 

 

Children will be taught new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these graphemes and graphemes they already know.   They will begin to learn to choose the appropriate grapheme when spelling.   The children will be automatically decoding a large number of words for reading by this point.

 

exception words introduced in Phase 5:

oh

their

people

Mr

Mrs

looked

called

asked

 

 

 

 

water

where

who

again

thought

through

work

mouse

many

laughed

because

different

any

eyes

friends

once

please

 

 

 

New graphemes for reading:

ay day

oy boy

wh when

a-e make

ou out

ir  girl

ph photo

e-e these

ie tie

ue  blue

ew new

i-e like

ea eat

aw saw

oe  toe

o-e home

 

 

au  Paul

u-e rule

 

 

During this phase children will begin reading words fluently and no longer be blending and segmenting familiar words. The real focus throughout the phase is to not only learn the new graphemes for reading but also to learn to read words with alternative pronunciations.   Children also will need to learn alternative spellings for each phoneme.

 

 

 

 

 

Phase 6

 

In phase 6 children will be reading longer and less familiar texts independently and fluently.   It is crucial that at this point children are now reading to learn and reading for pleasure.

 

 

Children  should  be  able  to  read  the  300  high  frequency words.  At this point it is important that comprehension strategies are developed so that children clarify meaning, ask and answer questions about the texts they are reading, construct mental images during reading and summarise what they have read.

In spelling children are introduced to the adding of suffixes and how to  spell  longer words. Throughout  the  phase children are encouraged to develop strategies for learning spellings.

 

Strategy

Explanation

Syllables

To learn a word by listening to how many syllables there are so it can be broken into

smaller bits. (e.g. Sep-tem-ber)

Base Words

To learn a word by finding its base word. (e.g. jumping- base word jump +ing

Analogy

To learn a word use a word that is already

learnt. (e.g. could, would, should)

Mnemonics

To learn a word by making up a sentence to help  remember  them.  (e.g.  could  –  OU Lucky  Duck;  people  eat  orange  peel  like

elephants

Homophones

Homophones are  words  that  sound  the same but  have  different spellings/meanings. For example sail/sale,

see/sea.

What can I do at home?

A great way to engage children at home with phonics is to play games. Matching pairs, snap, sorting words or letters can all be ways to help teach your children.

If  you  have a  computer  at  home  then  below  is  a  list  of websites  that have fun interactive games  for children to play.

Useful websites -  letters and sounds games:

 http://mrthorne.com/

http://www.letters-and-sounds.com

http://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/wordsandpictures/

http://www.ictgames.com/phonemeFlop_v4.html

http://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/welcome/home/reading-owl/fun-ideas

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1/literacy/phonics/play/popup.shtml

We hope you have found this leaflet useful and please ask

your class teacher if you have further questions.