What is Phonics?

A method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning to associate letters or letter groups with the sounds they represent.

There are 44 main sounds in the English Language. Each sound is represented by a grapheme (the written representation of a sound).

Which Phonics Programme do we use?

Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen phonics programme. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words. Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers.

Terminology used by everyone (even the children!) during Phonics

The smallest single identifiable sound in a word. For example, in the word 'cat' there are three phonemes c/a/t.

The written representation of a sound.

Two letters making one sound. For example, /sh/ in the word 'shop'.

Three letters making one sound. For example, /igh/ in the word 'night'.

Split digraph:
Two vowel letters split but are split by one or more consonants. For example, /a-e/ in the word 'cake'.

How do we teach phonics?

We use a simple, consistent approach to teaching phonics.
• Your child will experience the same classroom routines within each lesson which reduces cognitive load and maximises the chances of success.
• All children are supported within the lesson to use their new phonic knowledge independently.
• In every single ELS lesson, your child will make the direct application to reading.
• Daily Phonics sessions- these start from the beginning of Reception.
• Phonics throughout the day to review new sounds & graphemes taught
• Lots of opportunities for oral blending- c/oa/t
• Main focus is on word recognition. However, new vocabulary is also given and explained in every lesson.
• Opportunities for writing- new grapheme, words and sentences.

How can you support your child?
• Reading a bedtime story every night to your child improves their outcomes.
• Children are only reading from books that are entirely decodable.
• We only use pure sounds when decoding words (no ‘uh’ after the sound)
• We want them to practise reading their book 4 times across the week working on these skills:

•  We must use pure sounds when we are pronouncing the sounds and supporting children in reading words.
•  If we mispronounce these sounds we will make reading harder for our children.
•  There are videos for this on our school website where you can hear the correct pronunciation of the sounds. Click this link to find them.