What is phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.
Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read.
Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.
Phonics involves matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters. For example, the sound k can be spelled as c, k, ck or ch.
Teaching children to blend the sounds of letters together helps them decode unfamiliar or unknown words by sounding them out. For example, when a child is taught the sounds for the letters t, p, a and s, they can start to build up the words: “tap”, “taps”, “pat”, “pats” and “sat”.
(National Literacy Trust)
At Coten End, we follow the Letters and Sounds progression and incorporate some aspects of the Jolly Phonics scheme which has actions to accompany each sound.
Please see below for some useful information and documents regarding the teaching of phonics.
What Are Phonics Phases?
Phases are the way the Letters and Sounds programme 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.
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.
The remaining 7 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.
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.
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.
What are “Tricky words”?
Tricky Words or Common Exception Words are words that cannot be ‘sounded-out’ but need to be learned by heart. Each phonic phase has tricky words which the children are taught. They don’t fit into the usual spelling patterns and in order to read simple sentences, it is necessary for children to know some words that have unusual or untaught spellings.