Phonics

Here at Sladefield Infant School we follow and the Letters and Sounds program.  This is a detailed and systematic program for teaching phonic skills, with the aim of children becoming fluent readers by age of seven years old. There are six overall phases in Letters and Sounds. Children have daily Phonics lessons, where they are taught in small groups according to which phase they are currently working at. They are assessed regularly so that they can move onto the next phase when they are ready. 

Here is a  summary of each Phonics phase:

Phase One
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
For this phase, children will be learning 23 phonemes.  They will be blending sounds together to make words.  They will also be learning to segment words into their separate sounds in order to spell the word. Children will also be beginning to read simple captions. 
 
Phase Three
By the time they reach Phase 3, children will already be able to blend and segment words containing the 19 letters taught in Phase 2.  In Phase 3, twenty-five new graphemes are introduced (one at a time).
 
Phase Four
When children start Phase Four of the Letters and Sounds Phonics program, they will know a grapheme for each of the 42 phonemes. They will be able to blend phonemes to read CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words and segment in order to spell them.  Children will also have begun reading straightforward two-syllable words and simple captions, as well as reading and spelling some 'Tricky Words'.
 
Phase Five
Children entering Phase Five will already be able to read and spell words with adjacent consonants, such as: trap, string and flask. They will also be able to read and spell some polysyllabic words.  In Phase Five, children will learn more graphemes and phonemes. For example, they already know 'ai' as in 'rain', but now they will be introduced to 'ay' as in 'day' and 'a-e' as in 'make'.  Alternative pronunciations for graphemes will also be introduced, e.g. 'ea' in 'tea', 'head' and 'break'.
 
Phase Six
At the start of Phase Six of Letters and Sounds, children will have already learnt the most frequently occurring grapheme–phoneme correspondences (GPCs) in the English language. They will be able to read many familiar words automatically. When they come across unfamiliar words, they will, in many cases, be able to decode them quickly and quietly using their well-developed sounding and blending skills. With more complex unfamiliar words, they will often be able to decode them by sounding them out.
To supplement the Letters & Sounds provision, we also utilise a variety of songs.  These include 'Song of Sounds' and 'Tricky Words' songs, which are used in Letters and Sounds lessons.
 
The 'Song of Sounds'  songs are used so that the children can use the rhyming structure to support their learning.
 
The 'Tricky Words' songs are used to support children in their learning of 'Tricky Words' that are taught in Phases 2-5.
 
Videos of both types of song can be found below.
Phonics Glossary of Terms
 
To support you in understanding Phonics, please refer to the glossary below:
 
Blending 
The process of using phonics for reading.  Children identify and blend the phonemes in order to make a word, e.g.  c-a-t, blended together makes cat.
Consonant digraph Two consonants which make one sound, e.g. sh, ch, th, ph.
CVC, CCVCC  The abbreviations used for consonant-vowel-consonant and consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant-consonant words, used to describe the order of sounds.  E.g. cat, ship and sheep are all CVC words. Black and prize could be described as CCVC words.
Diagraph Two letters which together make one sound. There are different types of digraph – vowel, consonant and split.
Grapheme
A letter or group of letters representing one sound (phoneme) e.g. ck, igh, t, sh.
Phoneme The smallest unit of sound in a word.
Segmenting The process of using phonics for writing. Children listen to the whole word and break it down into the constituent phonemes, choosing an appropriate constituent phonemes, choosing an appropriate grapheme to represent each phoneme.  For example chip can be segmented as ch-i-p.
Split diagraph Two letters, which work as a pair to make one sound, but are separated within the word.  For example, a-e as in make or late; i-e as in size or write.
Synthesising The process of using phonics for reading. Children identify and synthesise/blend the phonemes in order to make a word.  For example s-n-a-p, blended together, reads snap.
Trigraph  Three letters which together make one sound.  For example dge, igh.Trigraph 
Vowel diagraph   A digraph in which at least one of the letters is a vowel.  For example ea, ay, ai, ar.
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Tricky Words Video
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Song Of Sounds Video
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Our video of Mr Ur-Rehman which demonstrates the Phonic sounds made by letters of the alphabet.