Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:
recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’; and
blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
At Swaffham VC Infant and Nursery School we follow a programme called Read, Write Inc for phonics. We have adapted it for our school so that it is multi-sensory and engages all children. Teachers plan fun experiences for the children to learn the sounds and blend them into words. These include; sound hunts in the woods, using paints/ chalks, I pads, scary spaghetti and running games (running to the sound). Children are taught a phonics lesson daily in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 and then they are given opportunities to embed these skills across the curriculum.
If your child does not know the expected number of sounds or can blend they may receive extra support called 'intervention' to help them to 'catch up'. You will be notified of this by the class teacher.
In Reception these children will have extra experiences planned through their play based environment.
In KS1, teachers will plan intervention for the children in the afternoons.
In June Year 1 children will take part in a National Phonic Screening Test where they are asked to sound out and blend 40 words. Some of these words are real words and some are alien words. The Government sets a pass mark each year after the children have all completed the tests. If your child doesn't read the recommended number of words in the test in Year 1 they will resit a new test the following year in Year 2. You will receive information on how many words your child read in their end of year report in July.
Click on the links below for more information about how you can help your child with phonics at home.
Reading Leader: Emily McMillen (Deputy Headteacher)
Reading Link Governor: Sue Chittock