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Phonics & Reading Schemes

Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child develops a love of reading and learns to read as quickly as possible

All children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 have daily fifteen minute phonics sessions, beginning with simple sounds and building up to more complex sound combinations. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children to learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters through fun activities and games.

The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.

The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.

The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.

*Please see below for further useful information regarding Phonics teaching within school and ideas for activities to do at home .

         

 

Year 1 Phonics Check Information

                        

What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?

The phonics screening check will be taken individually by all children in Year 1 during the week of 13th June 2016. It is designed to give teachers and parents  information on how your child is progressing in phonics. It will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill.

What is in the phonics screening check?

There are two sections in this 40-word check and it will assess phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1. Your child will read up to four words per page for their teacher and they will probably do the check in one sitting of about 5-10 minutes.

What sort of check is it and is it compulsory?

It is a school-based check to make sure that your child receives any additional support promptly, should they need it. It is not a stressful situation as the teacher will be well-equipped to listen and understand your child’s level of skills.

There will be a few practice words first to make sure your child understands the activity.

What will it check?

It will check that your child can:

  • Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words.
  • Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
  • Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as pseudo words.

What are nonsense or pseudo words and why are they included?

These are words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb. Pseudo words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decode a word using phonics skills and not their memory.

The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien and they will be asked to tell their teacher what sort of  alien it is by reading the word. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have. Crucially, it does not provide any clues, so your child just has to be able to decode it. Children generally find nonsense amusing so they will probably enjoy reading these words.

Is there a pass mark?

The check is not about passing or failing but checking appropriate progress is being made. If children do not reach the required standard, then the teacher will be in touch to discuss plans and offer additional, tailored support to ensure that your child can catch up. Children progress at different speeds so not reaching the threshold score does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem. Your child will re-sit the check the following summer term.

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What should I do if my child is struggling to decode a word?

  • Say each sound in the word from left to right.
  • Blend the sounds by pointing to each letter, i.e. /b/ in bat, or letter group, i.e. /igh/ in sigh, as you say the sound, then run your finger under the whole word as you say it/Fred Fingers
  • Work at your child’s pace.
  • Always be positive and give lots of praise and encouragement.

 

Phonics Glossary

What is a phoneme?

It is the smallest unit of sound and a piece of terminology that children like to use and should be taught.  At first it will equate with a letter sound but later on will include the digraphs.  For example `rain’ has three phonemes, / r  / ai  / n.

What is a grapheme?

A grapheme is a letter or a number of letters that represent a sound (phoneme) in a word. Another way to explain it is to say that a grapheme is a letter or letters that spell a sound in a word. E.g. /ee/,/ ea/, /ey/ all make the same phoneme but are spelt differently.

What is a digraph?

This is when two or more letters come together to make a phoneme. /oa/ makes the sound in boat.

What is blending?

Blending is the process that is involved in bringing the sounds together to make a word or a syllable and is how /c/  /a/  /t/  becomes cat.

To learn to read well children must be able to smoothly blend sounds together. Blending sounds fluidly helps to improve fluency when reading. Blending is more difficult to do with longer words so learning how to blend accurately from an early age is imperative.

Showing your child how to blend is important. Model how to ‘blend ’ sounds smoothly together without stopping at each individual sound.

What is segmenting?

Segmenting is a skill used in spelling. In order to spell the word cat, it is necessary to segment the word into its constituent sounds; c-a-t.

Children often understand segmenting as chopping a word. Before writing a word young children need time to think about it, say the word several times, ‘chop’ the word and then write it. Once children have written the same word several times they won’t need to use these four steps as frequently. 

Children will enjoy spelling if it feels like fun and if they feel good about themselves as spellers. We need, therefore, to be playful and positive in our approach – noticing and praising what children can do as well as helping them to correct their mistakes.

What are tricky words?

Tricky words are words that cannot be ‘sounded-out’ but need to be learned by heart. They don’t fit into the usual spelling patterns. Examples of these words are attached under each phase. In order to read simple sentences, it is necessary for children to know some words that have unusual or untaught spellings. It should be noted that, when teaching these words, it is important to always start with sounds already known in the word, then focus on the 'tricky' part.

What are high frequency words?

High frequency (common) are words that recur frequently in much of the written material young children read and that they need when they write.

What are CVC words?

CVC stands for consonant- vowel- consonant, so and word such as map, cat is CVC. In phase 4 we talk about CCVC words such as clip, stop.

 

What can I do at home?

A great way to engage children at home with phonics is to play games. Sound buttons, Matching pairs, snap, buried treasure, yes/no game can all be ways to help teach your children.

If you have a computer at home then below is a list of websites that have fun interactive games for children to play.

Useful website letters and sounds games:

•http://www.letters-and-sounds.com

•http://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/

•http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/wordsandpictures/

•http://www.ictgames.com/phonemeFlop_v4.html

•http://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/welcome/home/reading-owl/fun-ideas

•http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1/literacy/phonics/play/popup.shtml

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions

Kelly Bosher

Deputy Headteacher  

 

 

 Oxford Reading Tree

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The UK's number one reading programme has taught millions of children to read... and to love to read. With systematic phonics at its heart, Oxford Reading Tree's well-loved characters, breadth and unrivalled support give you everything your children need to become confident and motivated readers – and the new National Curriculum loves it too!

 

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