How We Teach Phonics

Synthetic Phonics
Synthetic Phonics is the synthesis of blending the units of sounds (putting them together).
Children will learn to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This will help the children to read and spell words.
Phoneme—This is the smallest unit of sound. This is what you hear. There are about 44 phonemes and they can be put together to make words.
Grapheme—This is the written representation of a collection of sounds eg: sh, fl tch.
At Great Whelnetham we teach Jolly Phonics in the Foundation stage. It is a fun, fast session with actions linked to the sounds to help the children remember and recognise the sounds. We also use ‘Floppy’s Phonics ‘and ‘Letters and Sounds’ and the latter focuses on teaching the sounds in phases. Phase 1 - 3- Reception, Phases 3-5 - Year 1, Phases 4- 5 - Year 2, Phase 6-Year 2/ 3.
We have daily Phonics sessions and once phonemes have been introduced we move the children on to matching the phonemes to graphemes to blend and segment words.
We also introduce :
Digraph—2 letters that make a single sound—sh, th.
Trigraph—3 letters making 1 sound—air, igh
Split digraphs—2 letters that are not next to each other that make a long vowel sound a-e in cake, o-e in home.
There are lots of opportunities to consolidate and apply the different skills and children will all develop these skills at different paces.
Blending is when the children see a word, say the sounds and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is.
This skill is essential for reading. h-a-t hat Watch the video on our website to hear the correct enunciation of each sound.
Segmenting is when the children say a word and then break it down into the phonemes that make up the word. This skill is essential for spelling.
Tricky words. These are words that cannot be sounded out easily and therefore the children have to be taught to read them by sight—was, where.
How You Can Help Your Child at Home
Reading regularly with your child is the best way for them to learn how to read and how to include reading in their life. It can be extremely rewarding watching their progress as they become more confident. Here are some tips on how to make it work:
  • Try reading a little and often—not when your child is tired. Try and set aside some quiet, quality time to read with your child.
  • Don’t make a battle out of reading. Look at the pictures together and enjoy the story with your child.
  • Blending—encourage your child to sound out phonetic words and have a go at blending them together. Sometimes they need to sound them out a few times before they hear the word.
  • Tricky words—Point out that it is a tricky word and talk about what the letters are and how you say the word.
  • Shared reading can mean you model read a page and then your child reads the next. This sets a model for them to copy your style.
  • Ask open questions to develop language and comprehension skills — ‘I wonder what you think will happen next?’ ‘Can you remember what happened?’ ‘Why do you think that happened?’
Year 1 Phonics Test
Every Year 1 child takes this screening test during the same week in June. It ensures that all children are carefully monitored to see if they require extra support.
The children are asked to sound out a word and blend them together. There is a mix of real words and pseudo words.
Results are reported back to parents and county and if they do not reach the ‘required level’, support is put in place. For those who don't reach the required standard, there is a second test in Year 2.
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