We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021.
We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey.
Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4.
They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.
In Year 1 we may revisit phases taught in Reception followed by Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words.
By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.
In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.
To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.
At Gatton Primary School we promote a 'phonics first' approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child's current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading.
In these crucial early stages of reading we use a range of books that compliments Unlocking Letters and Sounds to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow.
Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.
Here are some of the words and phrases you may hear from your child and what they mean:
Phoneme- the individual unit of sound in a word. The English language contains 44 different sounds.
Grapheme- the letter or group of letters that visually represents the phoneme (sound).
Digraph- 2 letters which represent 1 sound, for example: ck, ch, sh, th, ng
Trigraph- 3 letters representing 1 sound, for example: ear, air, ure, igh
Blending- merging the individual sounds (phonemes) to say a word. For example: c-a-t, cat or th-i-n, thin.
Segmenting- the skill of recognising the individual sounds (phonemes) needed to spell and write a word.
De-code- work out and read a word.
Vowel- short vowel sounds: a, e, i, o, u long vowel sounds: ai, ee, igh, ow, oo
Vowels- a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e e.g. name, time (also called split digraphs)
High Frequency Words- words which occur most often in English some of which cannot be sounded out phonically. Your child will learn these in sequence and you may see them abbreviated as HFW or called ‘tricky’ or ‘key’ words.
Tricky words- these are words which don’t follow phonic rules. Your child will be unable to use their phonic skills to sound them out and blend so they will need to learn to recognise the word and say it (whole word recognition). For example: said, have, was, any, once.
Punctuation- full stops, commas, speech marks, apostrophes, question marks and exclamation marks. As your child gets better at de-coding words they will begin to recognise and use punctuation mark clues in their reading.
Please keep checking the Phonics blog to access key information and videos.
Our Phonics Policy can be found on our policies page.