What is phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:
- recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
- identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as ‘sh’ or ‘oa’; and
- blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7.
Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment. Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia.
Did you know . . .
A phoneme is the sound a letter or a group of letters make (there are 44). A grapheme is what the phoneme looks like (it could be represented in more than one way e.g. ai ey ay). A digraph is when two letters come together to make a phoneme (‘oa’ as in boat). A trigraph is when three letters come together to make one phoneme (‘igh’ as in high). A split digraph is when a vowel digraph is split by a consonant letter (e.g. ‘ae’ in make). Segmenting consists of breaking words down into phonemes to spell. Blending consists of building words from phonemes to read.
How do we teach phonics at St Ignatius?
Please find below information regarding our new phonics scheme - Little Wandle
Little Wandle Power point for Parents
Why learning to read is so important:
- Reading is essential for all subject areas and improves life chances.
- Positive attitudes to reading and choosing to read have academic, social and emotional benefits for children.
How children learn to read:
- Phonics is the only route to decoding.
- Learning to say the phonic sounds.
- By blending phonic sounds to read words.
- Increasing the child’s fluency in reading sounds, words and books.
Reading fully decodable books:
- Children must read books consistent with their phonic knowledge.
- It is essential not to use other strategies to work out words (including guessing words, deducing meaning from pictures, grammar, context clues or whole word recognition).
- Books must be fully decodable and follow the Little Wandle scheme
- Children need to read books in a progressive sequence until they can decode unfamiliar words confidently.
The role of Parents’ and Carers’:
- Have a positive impact on their child’s reading.
- Should model the importance of reading practice to develop fluency.
- Children take home books they have read at school to re-read at home to build fluency.
- There are two different types of books that pupils bring home: reading practice and books to share for pleasure.
- Reading at home encourages a love of books, along with developing vocabulary and discussion.
- Parents should use voices, expression, discuss unfamiliar vocabulary, talk about the pictures, and predict what might happen next.
- Give positive yet informative feedback in the home reading diary at least 3 times a week
Supporting your child with reading:
Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home.
There are two types of reading book that your child may bring home:
1) A reading practice book- This will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently.
2) A sharing book- Your child will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together.
Reading practice book
This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading.
Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.
In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together.
Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!
Programme Overview- Reception and Year 1
Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 1
Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 2
Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Spring 1
How we teach blending
Quick guide to Alien words
How we teach tricky words
Resources for Parents- Little Wandle
Handwriting and Pronunciation
Phonics Screening Check
The National Phonics Screening Check is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonics knowledge. It helps school confirm whether your child has made the expected progress and helps teachers identify which children need extra help with phonic decoding. It is for Year 1 children and it takes place in the Summer term. The check contains a mix of real words and ‘non-words’ (or ‘nonsense words’). The purpose of including nonsense words is to check that the child knows the sounds and can blend them together to read the words. They will be new to all pupils, so there won’t be a bias to those with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. Children who have not met the standard in Year 1 will retake the check in Year 2.
New Phonics policy for Little Wandle coming soon......
At St Ignatius every child in KS2 takes part in a discrete daily reading lesson (9:00-9:40am). The children focus on a different reading strategy each day (e.g inference or summarising) and use reading stems to respond to text. The children read in mixed ability pairs and after some modelling from the teacher they work through texts using and responding using the stems. Children complete a ‘selfie’ each lesson, writing down a good example of a stem.
Reading at St Ignatius
Every child from Reception to Year 6 has a reading record. The expectation is that children read at home at least five times a week. The reading records should be signed by parents. In Key Stage 2 the reading records are brought in each day. At St. Ignatius we value the importance of reading regularly at home.
Half-Termly Parent Reading Mornings
Each half term we invite parents in for our ‘Parents’ Reading Morning’. The classroom is open from 8:45- 9:15 am and parents can come in and read with or to their children. This is a great way to encourage a culture of reading at home and school and we have always had such a great response from our parents during these mornings.
At St Ignatius we encourage paired/buddy reading across key stages/year groups. We also have strong links with local secondary schools whose pupils come and read with the children on a weekly basis.