At Iver Village Infant School we recognise that there are lots of different ways to teach reading. We use a combination of different strategies and resources to deliver high-quality experiences to achieve the best results for our children.
What is phonics?
Phonics is a method for teaching reading and writing by developing learners' phonemic awareness—the ability to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes— to teach the correspondence between these sounds and the spelling patterns (graphemes) that represent them.
The goal of phonics is to enable beginning readers to decode new written words by sounding them out, or in phonics terms, blending the sound-spelling patterns.
At Iver Village Infant school all the children have a daily phonics session. In Nursery and Reception, we start our phonics teaching with Jolly Phonics.
What is Jolly Phonics?
Jolly Phonics is a fun and child-centred approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics. With actions for each of the 42 letter sounds, the multi-sensory method is very motivating for children and teachers, who can see their students achieve. The letter sounds are split into seven groups as shown below. The sounds are taught in a specific order (not alphabetically). This enables children to begin building words as early as possible.
How does Jolly Phonics work?
Using a synthetic phonics approach, Jolly Phonics teaches children the five key skills for reading and writing. It provides a thorough foundation for teaching literacy
The five skills taught in Jolly Phonics
Children are taught the 42 main letter sounds. This includes alphabet sounds as well as digraphs such as sh, th, ai and ue.
Using different multi-sensory methods, children learn how to form and write the letters.
Children are taught how to blend the sounds to read and write new words.
Listening to the sounds in words gives children the best start for improving spelling.
Tricky words have irregular spellings and children learn these separately.
What are Letters and Sounds?
Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
There are six over lapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the letters and sounds guidance.
|Phase||Phonic Knowledge and Skills|
|Phase One (Nursery/Reception)||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.|
|Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks||Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.|
|Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks||The remaining seven letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th 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.|
|Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 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.|
|Phase Five (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.|
|Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)||Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.|
Year 1 phonics screening check
The phonics screening check is a new, statutory assessment for all children in Year 1, designed to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. The check takes place in June of the academic year on 1-1 bases with the child’s teacher.
What are High-Frequency Words?
High-frequency words are quite simply those words which occur most frequently in written material, for example, "and", "the", "as" and "it". They are often words that have little meaning on their own, but they do contribute a great deal to the meaning of a sentence. Some of the high-frequency words can be sounded out using basic phonic rules, e.g. "it" is an easy word to read using phonics. However, many of the high-frequency words are not phonically regular and are therefore hard to read in the early stages. These words are sometimes called tricky words, sight words or camera words. In addition to being difficult to sound out, most of the high-frequency words have a rather abstract meaning which is hard to explain to a child. It's easy to learn words like "cat" and "house" because they can easily be related to a real object or a picture, but how do you represent the word "the" or "of"?
Why learn the High-Frequency Words?
Researchers reckon that learning just 13 of the most frequently used words will enable children to read 25% of any text (OK, that 25% wouldn't make much sense on its own, but it's a very good start).Learning 100 high-frequency words gives a beginner reader access to 50% of virtually any text, whether a children's book or a newspaper report.When you couple immediate recognition of the high-frequency sight words with a good knowledge of basic phonics, that's when a child's reading can take off.