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.
How do we teach phonics?
In school we follow the Letters and Sounds programme. Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills which consists of six phases.
Discreet phonics sessions are taught daily and are fun and multi-sensory to appeal to the different learning styles.
Reading at Ethelbert Road
In KS1 and KS2, Children will have opportunities to read frequently during whole class English lessons. This may involve reading together as a class from the board or reading/sharing a range of texts.
In Reception, towards the end of the school year, children participate in shared/group reading activities to prepare them for guided reading in KS1.
Each week the children will work with the class teacher in a small group to access a text. This text is aimed at a slightly higher level than they are able to read independently, but with the support of the class teacher, children are able to access the text and extend their reading ability and comprehension.
In EYFS and KS1 children read independently (often with an adult) on a frequent basis. In key stage 2, children who need more individual support will receive help on a one to one or small group basis.
In Key Stage One and EYFS, children access banded reading books, which includes a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.
At the start of the school year, your child’s class teacher will have informed you about classroom routines for each class with regards to reading books/reading homework activities.
We emphasise the need for parents to take an active role in their child’s education, supporting the developing reader and encouraging open lines of communication through reading diaries and planners.