What is phonics?
Phonics is one method of teaching children how to read and write. Phonics is all about sounds. There are 44 sounds in the English language, which we put together to form words. Some are represented by one letter, like ‘t’, and some by two or more, like ‘ck’ in duck and ‘air’ in chair. Children are taught the sounds first, then how to match them to letters, and finally how to use the letter sounds for reading and spelling. Synthetic phonics refers to ‘synthesising’, or blending, the sounds to read words. It is based on the idea that children should sound out unknown words and not rely on their context.
As a school we have adopted Bug Club Phonics which is a DfE approved systematic synthetic phonics programme which is centered around an accessible and inclusive teaching approach. In Reception and Year 1 children are taught phonics daily through whole class and additional small group lessons. Our Long and Medium Term Phonics Plans set out the detailed systematic programme we follow.
Reading at Home:
All pupils are expected to read regularly; both in school and at home and are provided with ‘home’ reading books each week. We encourage daily reading but expect a minimum of 3 reads per week. All children who are learning phonics up to Phase 5 in Key Stage One are issued with a phonics matched book which is taken from the Bug Club Scheme. This book is closely paired with the phonemes that they know/ are learning and should be read at least 3 times before being changed to encourage fluency. Once children are secure in phase 5, and are becoming increasingly fluent as readers, they may have two ‘home’ reading books; including an appropriate phonics matched book (taken form the Book Club Scheme) and a book form our School Reading Scheme. The purpose of this is to provide children with a wider range and style of texts and to encourage them to explore and develop preferences and interests as readers at an appropriate level. Once pupils are reading fluently, and have mastered the elements of phase 5, they continue to progress through the School Reading Scheme and the focus moves to comprehension of what has been read. As children continue to demonstrate proficiency as readers, they may become ‘free-readers’ which gives them greater independence to choose their own reading materials. This is usually select pupils in Upper Key Stage 2 and whilst referred to as ‘free’ readers, staff continue to track the reading materials and make recommendations in order to broaden and enrich their reading diet.
If you would like any support or advice with supporting reading at home, please speak to your child's class teacher.