Phonics

How we teach phonics through our letters and sounds programme at Atam Academy.

This programme is complemented by incorporating Read, Write, Inc strategies also.

 

Phonics (Letters & Sounds)

Letters and Sounds is the resource we use at Atam Academy to support the systematic teaching of phonics. Children begin the Letters and Sounds programme from Nursery, through to Reception year and continue across Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2). Every child between Reception and Year 2 has a 15-20 minute phonics session every morning.

The Letters and Sounds programme is separated into six Phases.

Sources of Information

The Oxford Owl website has some excellent information for parents. There are useful videos as well as a really helpful player that allows you to hear each letter sound.

Phonics Glossary

 blending

       Blending is the skill of joining sounds together to read words. Children are taught to say the separate sounds in a word and

       to then blend them together to decode the word.

 digraph

       A digraph is a sound that is represented by two letters e.g. the sound 'a' in rain is represented by the digraph 'ai'.

grapheme

       A grapheme is a visual representation of a sound e.g. a letter or a group of letters.

       Some sounds are represented by a single letter whilst others are represented by more than one letter.

 phoneme

A phoneme is a unit of sound e.g. the word 'cat' contains three phonemes; c - a - t.

 segmenting

Segmenting is the opposite of blending. Children are taught to segment a word into its separate sounds in order to spell it.

 split digraph

A split digraph is a digraph that is separated by other letters e.g. the sound 'a' in the word take is represented by the split

digraph a-e.

Phase 1 Teaching Overview

Phase 1 is the very start. It is all about listening to sounds and learning to discriminate between different sounds. The Phase focuses on sounds in everyday life rather than sounds in words. Phase 1 lays the essential foundations for all the learning that follows. If a child cannot identify individual sounds in the everyday world and differentiate between them e.g. a car horn and a boiling kettle, then they will struggle to begin hearing the separate sounds that make up words. 

Letters are not introduced until Phase 2.

Phase 2 Teaching Overview

In Phase 2 children are taught 19 letters grouped into 5 sets. One set will generally be taught in one week.

 Set 1

s / a / t / p 

 Set 2

 i / n / m / d

 Set 3

 g / o / c / k

 Set 4

ck / e / u / r 

 Set 5

 h / b / f, ff / l, ll / ss

 

Children are encouraged to begin 'blending' sounds into words straight away. Therefore, having been taught only Set 1, children can make (and read) words like at, sat & pat.

Nonsense words, such as 'tas' are also acceptable as they allow children to explore sounds freely. Mis-spelt words (which are phonetically correct) are also allowable e.g. pas. In time, children will be shown the correct spelling. Remember, the initial focus is on reading; blending separate sounds into words. 

As children learn all the Sets in Phase 2, they will be able to read an increasing number of words. The 'Reading Word List', in the resources section opposite, sets out the range of words which can be read once each additional Set has been taught.

'Double consonants' (ff / ss / ll) are taught early. This illustrates to children that sometimes more than one letter can represent a single sound. In the case of these letters it is the same sound as the single letter represents. In Phase 3 children are taught that this is not always the case.

The grapheme 'ck' is taught in Phase 2 as it features in many of the early words that children learn e.g. back, neck and sack.

Phase 3 Teaching Overview

In this Phase a further 25 letters and graphemes are taught. The final two sets of letters are taught first.

 Set 6

 j / v / w / x

 Set 7

 y / z, zz / qu

Once Sets 6 & 7 have been taught children learn about graphemes where more than one letter represents one sound e.g. the grapheme 'ai' represents one sound in the word 'rain'. 

ch

(as in chip)

sh

(as in shop)

th*

(as in thin)

th*

(as in then)

ng

(as in ring)

ai

(as in rain)

ee

(as in feet)

 igh

(as in night)

 oo**

(as in book)

 oo**

(as in boot)

 ar

(as in farm)

 or

(as in for)

 ur

(as in hurt)

 ow

(as in cow)

 oi

(as in coin)

 ear

(as in dear)

 air

(as in fair)

 ure

(as in sure)

 er

(as in her)

 

*The grapheme 'th' represents more than one sound. You may need to listen carefully to hear the difference.

**The grapheme 'oo' also represents more than one sound.

Phase 4 Teaching Overview

In Phase 4 words are often referred to in relation to how many vowels and consonants they contain.

CVC Words

The word 'cod' is a CVC word (consonant / vowel / consonant). Other CVC words include: sad, net & him.

CCVC Words

The word 'crab' is a CCVC word (consonant / consonant / vowel / consonant). Other CCVC words include: trim, flat & step.

CVCC Words

The word 'help' is a CVCC word (consonant / vowel / consonant / consonant). Other CVCC words include: fist, mend and test.

As children progress through Phase 4 they become more confident and skilled in reading and spelling words with a greater number of letters and graphemes.

Phase 5 Teaching Overview

 a-e

(as in came)

 au

(as in Paul)

 aw

(as in saw)

 ay

(as in day)

 e-e

(as in these)

 ea

(as in sea)

 ew

(as in stew)

 ew

(as in chew)

 ey

(as in money)

 i-e

(as in like)

 ir

(as in girl)

 o-e

(as in bone)

 oe

(as in toe)

ou

(as in out) 

oy

(as in boy)

ph

(as in Phil)

 u-e

(as in June)

 u-e

(as in huge)

ue

(as in clue)

 ue

(as in due)

 wh

(as in when)