The teaching of phonics begins in Nursery and is then built upon in Reception. In Reception and Key Stage 1 we have daily phonics lessons which are taught to the children in short, fast-paced sessions and the children are split into groups according to their ability. This allows us to cater for the needs of all children and ensures each child gets the right medicine and does not fall behind. We plan using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document (Department for Education, 2007) which is split into 6 phases of learning. By the end of Year 2, the majority of children will have completed all the phases. To enable phonics to be taught in a fun, interactive way, which is memorable for the children, we also use resources from Read, Write, Inc. (a scheme created by Ruth Miskin). The graphemes are introduced using flash cards with engaging pictures, rhymes and actions which help the children remember each new phoneme and grapheme. There may be some children in Key Stage Two who still need to complete phase 6 phonics, if this is the case they are taught in small groups until they are confident within phase 6.
In Year 1 (sometime in June) the children are assessed on their ability to use phonics using the Phonics Screening which is a national assessment completed by all Year 1 children. During the screening the children are required to read 40 words, some of which are real words and some are nonsense words. The children use their knowledge of the graphemes to read these words. The children receive a pass or fail and over recent years the pass mark has been 32/40 but this can change. If the children do not pass, they then resit the screening in Year 2. The screening is completed by the Year 1 class teachers and is very relaxed, with the children simply thinking they are reading some words with their teacher.
The sounds the children learn during each phase of phonics are below for your use as well as the tricky words that the children will learn to sight read (within a couple of seconds, with no sounding out) in each phase. The reading books that the children are reading from the book scheme in school and at home are closely matched to the phase the children are working on.