How we Teach Phonics
Phonics in Reception and Year 1
At Wilton CE Primary we follow a fully resourced Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme called 'Rocket Phonics', which enables children to learn how to read and write. Teachers use a combination of digital and printed resources, along with a fully matched series of decodable reading books. There is also an online platform, meaning that books and resources can be assigned digitally, to be used at home.
The Rocket Phonics lessons follow a Review, Teach, Practice and Apply format. Lessons last 30 mins and are taught daily. By the end of Reception, children who are working at Age Related Expectations will have been taught all of the sounds and Common Exception Words in Set 1 and they will have completed Practice Books 1, 2 and 3 and they should be reading a yellow or yellow plus coloured book.
By the end of Year 1, children who are working at Age Related Expectations will have been taught all of the sounds and Common Exception Words in Set 2 and they will have completed Practice Books 4, 5 and 6 and they should be reading an Orange coloured book.
Year 2, children working at Age Related Expectations should now know all of alphabetic code, so no new sounds are introduced, but decoding strategies are still revised and referred to frequently, as a means to decode new and unknown words.
By Phase 6, children should be able to read hundreds of words using one of three strategies:
- Reading them automatically
- Decoding them quickly and silently
- Decoding them aloud
Children should now be spelling most words accurately (this is known as 'encoding'), although this usually lags behind reading. They will also learn, among other things:
- Prefixes and suffixes, e.g. ‘in-’ and ‘-ed’
- The past tense
- Memory strategies for high frequency or topic words
- How to use a dictionary
- Where to put the apostrophe in words like ‘I’m’
- Spelling rules
Although formal phonics teaching is usually complete by the end of Year 2, children continue to use their knowledge as they move up the school. ‘The whole aim of phonics teaching is not just to learn the sounds, but to use them as a tool for reading and spelling. ‘Everything leads on to independent reading and writing.
Technical Vocabulary Explained:
- Phoneme: the smallest unit of sound. There are 44 phonemes in English. Phonemes can be put together to make words.
- Grapheme: way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g ough
- Digraph: a grapheme containing two letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).
- Trigraph: a grapheme containing three letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).
- GPC: grapheme-phoneme correspondence
- Blending: Looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word. This is the basis of reading.
- Oral Segmenting: Hearing a whole word and then splitting it up into the phonemes that make it. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to segment words to spell them.
- Segmenting: Hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order. This is the basis of spelling.