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Ravenshead C of E Primary School

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Phonics

English is taught daily with work appropriately differentiated to match all abilities. We aim to nurture in the children a love of literature and language and the confidence to continue reading and writing throughout their lives.

 

With parental support, we want our children to:

  • speak clearly and confidently in any situation.
  • listen actively and respond appropriately, developing knowledge and opinion.
  • read fluently for both pleasure and information.
  • write clearly and with confidence in any given genre.
  • use spelling rules, phonics and grammar accurately.
  • be able to proofread their own work and make amendments and improvements.

 

 

What is phonics?

There has been a big shift in the past few years in how we teach reading in school.  This is having a huge impact and helping many children learn to read and spell.  Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read.  Phonics runs alongside other teaching methods to help children develop vital reading skills and give them a real love of reading – hopefully for life.

 

What is the phonics screening check?

Please click on the link below to watch the short video presentation made by the school explaining about the phonics screening check.

Phoneme?  Grapheme?  

Words are made up from small units of sound (phonemes) and phonics teaches children to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word.  This helps them learn to read and spell words.

In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:

 

  • GPCs (grapheme phoneme correspondences) - children are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. 
  • Blending - children are taught to blend sounds together by merging the individual sounds together until they can hear what the word is.  This is a vital reading skill.
  • Segmenting - this is the opposite of blending!  Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up.  This is a vital spelling skill.

 

Why is phonics so tricky?

The English language is very complicated!  England has been invaded so many times throughout its history and each set of invaders brought new words and new sounds with them.  As a result, English only has around 44 phonemes but there are around 120 graphemes or ways of writing down those 44 phonemes.  Plus, we only have 26 letters in the alphabet so some graphemes are made up from more than one letter. ch  th  oo ay  (these are digraphs – graphemes with two letters).  There are other graphemes that are trigraphs (made up of 3 letters) and a very few made from 4 letters.  Some graphemes can represent more than one phoneme, ie, ch can make different sounds, chip, school,chef.

 

Learning to read is like cracking a code so teaching phonics is a way of teaching children to crack the code.  As reading is the key to learning it is important that we teach phonics clearly and systematically learning easy bits first then progressing to trickier bits!

 

At Ravenshead C of E Primary School, reading and phonics are taught in accordance with the National Curriculum and the Revised Literacy Framework using the Letters and Sounds phonic scheme.  Reading is taught using Big Cat Phonics as a basis (www.collins.co.uk/pages/primary-english-collins-big-cat-phonics) but the children will also access a wide range of other books to develop their reading.   We are passionate about teaching children to read. Reading enriches children's vocabulary, their writing and their spelling. They have access to the wider curriculum and their self-esteem is enhanced because they realise they are succeeding.

 

Each child’s reading journey begins in EYFS where phonics is introduced during a daily phonics session.  As children progress through school and their phonetic awareness develops, a wider range of reading books are introduced.

 

During the children's first few years in school, the children are heard read on an individual/paired basis.  As the children move through into Keystage 2, here is a regular focus on reading during the English session.  Children will be taught the key skills of reading as part of these lessons.

 

We encourage the children to read daily at home, please write in their reading records if you have heard them read.  Children that read three times each week at home will earn a raffle ticket that will be entered into the termly reading raffle for their Keystage.  The winning ticket will receive a prize of their choice up to the value of £25.

 

How will I know how to pronounce the phonic sounds?

This short video will help you to pronounce each phonic sound correctly.

How to say the phonic sounds

Still image for this video

How we Teach Reading at Ravenshead C of E Primary School (Decodable Books)

Phonics Policy

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