What is Phonics?
Phonics teaching is a fundamental part of how children learn to read and write and begins as soon as children join our school in Reception.
Phonics is a method through which pupils are taught how to read and write. Through phonics reading, they will learn how to make connections between sounds and the symbols that we use to represent them. All children in KS1 have daily phonics lessons for 20 minutes. The children are taught in small groups by teachers and learning support staff based on their area of need. As the children progress through the curriculum they build up the knowledge and skills necessary for reading, spelling and writing. The children are assessed regularly to check their progress. At the end of Year 1 they are tested using the national phonics screening programme.
What scheme do we follow?
In 2021, schools were asked by the DfE to adopt an approved synthetic phonics teaching programme to support their teaching of Phonics. At Compton All Saints’, we have adopted the Twinkl Phonics Scheme which is a fully comprehensive, synthetic phonics teaching programme designed to be used with children from nursery to year 2. It is delivered through the stories and adventures of Kit, Sam and the Twinkl Phonics family. The scheme builds and develops the skills and understanding children need to become effective and independent readers and writers.
Reading at home
Each week your child will be set a Twinkl Phonics Book from the Rhino Readers collection. This is accessible on line via a link we send you. These books will directly relate the sounds your child has been learning so far and support their learning that week. It is important to read these regularly at home to help them embed their new learning.
Additionally, children will come home with a physical book. This will follow a banded book system and it should be read together to share the enjoyment of reading. There will be words in there that have phonemes your child may not have learnt yet, and they will need help to sound out.
We recognise that access to technology to read the Twinkl Phonics books may present problems. If this is the case, please make contact with the school to discuss.
Twinkl terminology glossary
Phonics: Using the sounds made by individual letters and groups of letters to read words.
Decoding: Using your phonic knowledge to sound out and read words.
Grapheme: A written letter or group of letters, like ‘s’, ‘a’, or ‘air’. Some graphemes are single letters like ‘a’; others are digraphs like ‘ai’.
Digraph: Two letters that make one sound together, like ‘sh’, ‘ai’, ‘oo’.
Phoneme: The sound a letter or group of letters make – e.g. the word ‘mat’ has three phonemes, ‘m’, ‘a’ and ‘t’. The word ‘through’ is longer, but it also has three phonemes, ‘th’, ‘r’ and the ‘oo’ sound in ‘ough’.
Sounding out: Using your phonic knowledge to help you say each sound within a word, e.g. ‘r-e-d’ or ‘s-au-ce-p-a-n’.
Blending: Running the sounds in the word together to read the whole word, e.g. ‘r-e-d, red’, ‘s-au-ce-p-a-n, saucepan’.
High-frequency words (also known as ‘common exception words’): The very important, very common words that we use a lot, but which aren’t always decodable using phonics. This includes crucial words like ‘the’, ‘one’, ‘where’, etc. Children are taught to recognise these words on sight – a few of these words are introduced and learnt at a time.