The teaching of phonics happens on a daily basis in EYFS and Key Stage One continuing in Key Stage 2 through the spelling programme and where necessary as part of interventions.
In EYFS sessions are led by the class teacher and then as the year progresses the children may be supported in break out groups if there are identified gaps in pupil's learning. Each daily session lasts approximately 15-20 minutes and includes a variety of practical, pictorial and written activities.
Key Stage One sessions are daily and 20 minutes in length. The children are split into a Year 1 group and a Year 2 group; this allows staff to focus on grammar, punctuation and spelling in year 2 towards the beginning of the Spring term. Children also have a 10 minute phonics input every afternoon within their class to revisit and work through specific phonemes.
Letters and Sounds
Letters and Sounds is a systematic approach for teaching children to read using phonics. It is split into phases, from starting to learn about sounds at nursery to becoming fluent readers around the age 7. Traditionally, children were taught letter names like ay, bee, sea from the start. However, letter names do not always represent their pronunciation – examples include double u or em – and this might confuse children when they try to pronounce words made up of these letters. The phonic approach encourages children to directly link letters (graphemes) to sounds (phonemes), and to teach children pure sounds like ah, b, k when encountering the alphabet. So, children learn how to put sounds represented by letters or letter groups (like ch or igh) together to read words in a more straightforward way.
Children will learn letter-sound correspondences in different phases and there are a few “tricky words” introduced at each phase as well. These words are common and useful for early reading and writing, but children cannot decode them following the phonic rules taught up to that point.
Phonics Teaching Sequence
All phonics lessons follow the structure below:
During the first two weeks in September all pupils in Year One complete a baseline Letters and Sounds assessment based on Phase 2,3 and 5. This is then used to determine the provision needed to support the progress of all pupils. More formal assessments are then introduced from November and take place regularly until the summer term; these take the format of a previous Phonics Screening Check paper.