When children begin to read they are starting a long and exciting journey which will culminate in them being able to decode and interpret text in its many and varied forms.
From the beginning of the Foundation Stage, children are taught to identify and read sounds and blend them together to make words. These are sent home for them to practise along with reading books.
The English language has 44 sounds (phonemes) in total, which the children are introduced to in a systematic way. Alongside the sounds, keywords are taught. These are words that occur frequently in the English language which cannot be decoded phonetically.
Once the children have reached a degree of fluency as readers, they can then focus on interpreting and understanding the texts that they read. The teaching of phonics at Holy Trinity Primary School is based on a phonics scheme called Letters and Sounds.
In Reception and Year One an interactive resource called Phonics Play is used to reinforce sound knowledge through levelled games.
What do we teach and how?
Children will learn phonics throughout their time in school. Initially they will learn to blend sounds for reading and then they will go on to segment (break down a word into its constituent sounds) for spelling.
All children will have a timetabled phonics lesson (15 – 20 minutes) for at least four days a week and there will be opportunities for phonics consolidation on the fifth day. Additionally children in the Reception class have phonics input throughout the day in a range of whole class and small group games.
During the lesson one new sound will be taught and previously introduced sounds will be revisited. The sound is then applied in word and sentence level work.
Some children may also have personalised phonics intervention sessions should the need arise.
During their phonics input, the children will work within a group of similar ability.
Their progress will be checked once a term and the groups adjusted where necessary.