What is Phonics?
Children begin to learn phonics (sounds) in Early Years both Nursery and Reception. Once children begin learning sounds, these sounds are used to read and spell words. Children can then see the purpose of learning sounds. For this reason, the first initial sounds that are taught are ‘s’, ‘a’, ‘t’, ‘p’, ‘i’, ‘n’. These can immediately be blended for reading to make simple CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant) e.g. sat, pin. Children then develop segmenting for writing skills; breaking the word into sounds to spell it out.
Phonics at Ellenborough and Ewanrigg
At Ellenborough & Ewanrigg, our Phonics sessions are taught for 20 minutes every morning using PhonicsPlay in line with the letters and sounds framework. Children across the school from Nursery to Year 2 are grouped in phases based on their ability to recognise letters and the sounds that they make. Therefore, each group could be made up of between 4-10 children from any class, the only precursor being that they are working at the same phonetic level.
The sessions are taught by a member of staff. Teachers, HLTAs and Teaching Assistants each have a phonics group for which they are responsible. The phases range from one to six and the children are assessed regularly and children are moved between phases accordingly. As children move across the phases they are taught to read, spell and to apply this in their reading and writing. They are also taught tricky words and how to recognise these by sight. Children read books which are matched, by leaders, to the sounds that children are learning. As their knowledge increases, the children learn more about the English language looking at spelling conventions and work meanings, particularly in phase 6.