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Phonics

Phonics

 

Overview

 

At Forres our phonics teaching complements the progression laid out within the DfE approved Twinkl Letters and Sounds guidance. This handbook outlines the structure and expectations of phonics teaching at Forres primary school.  A consistent approach to phonics across the school is essential for progression; for example; lesson structure and terminology should be the same to minimise confusion and maximise learning opportunities.

 

What is Synthetic phonics?

 

Synthetic phonics is method of teaching reading and writing in which words are broken down into their smallest unit of sound (Phonemes). Children learn to connect a written letter (grapheme)with each phoneme. Children are then taught to blend phonemes together in to words for reading.  Written words are then broken down (segmented) in to units of sounds (phonemes) for writing.

 

This approach continuously builds on prior learning and at Forres we ensure consistency across the whole school to ensure maximum impact.

 

Phoneme

Smallest unit of sound.

Grapheme

A written symbol of a phoneme.  This could be one letter or a group of letters (i, ie, igh, i_e).

Grapheme – Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs)

The connection between sounds and the letter(s) that represent that sound.

Blending

Combining phonemes (sounds) together for reading.

Segmenting

The process of breaking down words into individual phonemes (sounds) for writing.

Tricky (Common Exception) Words.

Words that cannot be sounded out / decoded easily at the child’s current phonetic level.  Emergent readers may find them difficult to read as they yet to learn some of the graphemes / spelling rules.

Digraph

Two letters that together make one sound (ai).

Trigraph

Three letters that together make one sound (igh).

Mnemonics

(Memory aids)

An illustration that is used to support children’s recognition of GPCs

 

How are letters and sound (GPCs) taught at Forres?

 

Phonemes (sound) are introduced at the same time as its corresponding grapheme (written symbol).  This is referred to as a grapheme-phoneme correspondence (GPC).

 

There are 44 phonemes in the English language.  This includes the 26 letters of the alphabet.  Each phoneme is introduced systematically through a discrete teaching programme.  Children will be introduced to new phonemes each week, with each session revisiting and reviewing previously taught phonemes to secure understanding.  Lessons are engaging and varied using stories, mnemonics, actions, letter formation rhymes and songs, linking to auditory, visual and kinaesthetic stimuli to support the needs of all learners.

 

 

When children are taught a ‘letter’, they learn how to;

  • identify the grapheme (written symbol) from others;
  • recognise and articulate the phoneme linked to that grapheme;
  • be able to recall the grapheme when given its phoneme.
  • write the letter/grapheme;
  • name the grapheme by its actual letter name (letters from the alphabet);
  • be able to recall the grapheme and phoneme when given the letter name.

 

Does it really matter how phonemes are pronounced?

In order to minimise confusion when blending it is important that children are taught to articulate sounds clearly (as pure sounds). Pure sounds refers to the way phonemes are pronounced, it is important that articulation is clear and does not include an extra ‘uh’at the end of each letter, known as a schwa.  Children that pronounce phonemes in, for example, sat (suh – a – tuh) can find blending and segmenting difficult.

  • /s/ is pronounced as ‘sss’ instead of ‘suh’.
  • /t/ is pronounced as a short, bouncy sound created by touching the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth (behind front teeth).

 

What is blending?

Blending is the process in which phonemes are merged and said together in order to read. For example; /c/ /a/ /t/.  At Forres we use phonics fingers, dots and dashes and phoneme frames to support children to identify individual sounds and then to blend to read.

Children will initially focus on blending CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant) for some time to secure understanding.  Examples of CVC words are: cat, cot, rip, leg, mat, nod etc. From this the children will begin to learn consonant clusters such as; st, mp, lk, cl.  Example of words using these consonant clusters are: stop, lamp, milk, clap.

 

What is segmenting?

Segmenting is the process in which a word is broken down in to individual phonemes in order to write/spell a word.  When segmenting to spell a word, children will choose a grapheme from the level in which they are working.  Particularly in the early stages of learning you may notice some phonetically plausible attempts at spelling a word.  These attempts should not be discouraged.

For example a child working at Level 3 may spell sh-ai-p.

 

 

Tricky (Common Exception) Words

There are some words in the English language that are not phonetically decodable.  For example, ‘to’, ‘said’ and ‘the’.  As these words occur frequently it is necessary to introduce them as ‘tricky’ (common exception) words. Introducing these words as a group that do not follow the usual phonics rules it enables children to access a broader range of sentences for both reading and writing.   These words are initially introduced as reading sight vocabulary and later as spelling words.  It important for children to regularly practise these words in order to learn them as sight vocabulary and for rapid recall.

 

Level 2

to, the, no, go, I

Level 3

he, she, we, me, be, was, my, you, they, here, all, are

Level 4

said, so, have, like, come, some, were, there, little, one, do, when, out, what

Level 5

(Weeks 1 – 10)

could, should, would, want, oh, their, Mr, Mrs, love, your, people, looked, called, asked, water, where, who, why, thought, through

Level 5

(Weeks 11 – 20)

work, house, many, laughed, because, different, any, eye, friend, also, once, please, live, coming, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, brother, more, before

Level 5

(Weeks 21 – 30)

January, February, April, July, Scissors, castle, beautiful, treasure, door, floor, bought, favourite, Autumn, gone, know, colour, other, does, talk, two

 

Structure of a phonics lesson

At Forres, discrete phonics lessons are taught every day following the same five part structure. Lessons are structured in the same way to provide consistency and to maximise learning opportunities.  Our lessons complement the progression laid out within the DfE approved Twinkl Letters and Sounds guidance.

  • Revisit and Review - Review GPCs and tricky words that have already been taught.
  • Teach - Teach new GPC (or tricky word).  Blend and segment words using the new GPC.
  • Practise - Practise new GPC / tricky words.
  • Apply - Read or write a caption or sentence using 'new' GPC and tricky words.
  • Assess - Assess / check children's learning.

 

Progression

Twinkl/Forres Level

When each level is introduced (it is important to remember that this is a guide, some levels may take longer or need revisiting.

Level 1

Nursery/preschool

Level 2

Reception

Level 3

Reception

Level 4

Reception

Level 5

Year 1

Level 6

Year 2

 

 

Level 2

The aim of Level 2 is to:

 

  • teach the first 19 most commonly used letters and the sounds they make.
  • move children from oral blending and segmenting to blending and segmenting letters and words.
  • learn letter names.
  • begin to learn some of the ‘tricky’ words for reading.

 

Before starting Level 2, children:

 

  • will have experienced arrange of songs, stories, rhymes and listening activities.
  • can identify difference in sounds they hear.
  • may be able to hear and identify simple rhyming words.

 

By the end of Level 2, children will be able to;

 

  • identify and say the phoneme of any shown Level 2 grapheme.
  • identify and show the grapheme for any Level 2 phoneme they hear.
  • segment and blend orally CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words.
  • blend and segment VC words such as ‘if’ and ‘on’ for reading and spelling.
  • identify and read the tricky words: to, the, no, go, I.

 

In Level 2 children will be taught the first 23 GPCs and 5 tricky words for reading.  During Level 3 children will then learn to spell these tricky words.

 

Week

Taught GPCs

Tricky words for reading.

1

s, a, t, p

 

2

i, n, m, d

 

3

g, o, c, k

 

4

ck, e, u, r

to, the

5

h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss

no, go, I

6

Recap of all Level 2 sounds.

 

 

 

Level 3

 

The aim of Level 3 is to:

 

  • to teach another 25 graphemes which include consonant and vowel digraphs and trigraphs.  Children will be able to represent 42 phonemes with a grapheme.
  • continue to blend and segment CVC words.
  • apply skills of blending and segmenting to read and spell simple two syllable words, sentences and captions.
  • learn letter names.

 

 

Before starting Level 3, children can:

 

  • recognise Level 2 GPCs.
  • blend and segment CVC words orally.
  • blend and segment to read and spell VC words.
  • read Level 2 tricky words.

 

By the end of Level 3, children will be able to:

 

  • say the phoneme for all or most of the Level 2 and 3 graphemes.
  • identify all or most of the Level 2 and 3 graphemes when given the phoneme.
  • blend and read CVC words using Level 2 and 3 graphemes.
  • segment and make/write phonetically plausible spellings of CVC words using Level 2 and 3 graphemes.
  • read Level 3 tricky words.
  • spell Level 2 tricky words.

 

 

Week

Taught GPCs

Tricky words for reading

Tricky words for spelling

1

j, v, w, x

All Level 2 tricky words

 

2

y, z, zz, qu, ch

he, she

the, to

3

sh, th, th, ng

we, me, be

 

4

ai, ee, igh, oa

was

no, go, I

5

oo, oo, ar, or

my

 

6

ur, ow, oi, ear

you

 

7

air, ure, er

they

 

 

8

All Level 3 GPCs

here

 

9

All Level 3 GPCs

all, are

 

10

Trigraphs and consonant digraphs

was, my (recap)

 

11

Recap j, v, w, x and vowel digraphs

we, they (recap)

 

12

All Level 3 GPCs

All Level 3 tricky words

the, to, no, go, I

 

Level 4

The adjacent consonants taught at this Level are often referred to as ‘blends and clusters’.

 

 

The aim of Level 4 is to:

 

  • consolidate prior learning of graphemes for reading and spelling in particular digraphs and trigraphs.
  • introduce words that contain adjacent consonants – CVCC, CCVC, CCVCC, CCCVC, CVCCC, CCCVCC, CCVCCC.
  • learn polysyllabic words.
  • continue to read and spell additional tricky words.

 

 

Before starting Level 4, children will be able to:

 

  • recognise Level 2 and 3 GPCs.
  • blend and read CVC words.
  • segment and make a phonetically plausible attempt at spelling single syllable CVC words.
  • read Level 3 tricky words.
  • spell Level 2 tricky words.

 

By the end of Level 4, children will be able to:

 

  • say the phoneme when shown any Level 2 or 3 grapheme.
  • identify and show any Level 2 or 3 grapheme when given the phoneme.
  • blend and read words that have adjacent consonants.
  • read Level 4 tricky words.
  • spell Level 2 and 3 tricky words.

 

 

Week

Taught GPCs

Tricky words for reading

Tricky words for spelling

1

CVCC words

said, so

he, be, we, she, me

2

CVCC words

have, like, come, some

was, you

3

Adjacent Consonants

were, there, little, one

they, are, all

4

Adjacent Consonants

do, when, out, what

my, here

During this Level, children will also consolidate Level 3 GPCs.

 

Level 5

 

The aim of Level 5 is to:

 

  • learn alternative graphemes for known phonemes.
  • learn alternative pronunciations of known graphemes.
  • introduced to split vowel digraphs.
  • introduce suffixes and prefixes.
  • learn to read and spell other tricky / common exception words.

 

Before starting Level 5 children will be able to:

 

  • identify and recognise Level 2 and 3 GPCs.
  • blend to read and segment to spell words that contain adjacent consonants.
  • read Level 4 tricky words.
  • spell Level 2 and 3 tricky words.

 

By the end of Level 5, children will be able to;

 

  • say the phoneme when shown a grapheme of those previously taught.
  • be able to write the grapheme of the phoneme given.
  • apply phonetic knowledge to read and spell unfamiliar words/ and decodable two and three syllable words.
  • be able to read all taught tricky / common exception words.
  • be able to spell all Level 2, 3 and 4 tricky / common exception words.
  • be able to use alternative ways of pronouncing and representing the long vowel phonemes.
  

 

Week

Taught GPCs

Common exception words for reading

Common exception words for spelling

1

‘ay’ saying /ai/

could, should

said, so

2

‘oy’ saying /oi/

would, want

have, like

3

‘ie’ saying /igh/

oh, their

some, come

4

‘ea’ saying /ee/

Mr, Mrs

were, there

5

‘a_e’ saying /ai/

love, your

little, one

6

‘i_e’ saying /igh/

‘o_e’ saying /oa/

people, looked

do, when

7

‘u_e’ saying (y) /oo/ and /oo/

‘e_e’ saying /ee/

called, asked

what, could

8

‘ou’ saying /ow/

water, where

should, would

9

Long vowel sounds

who, why

want, their

10

‘ch’ saying /c/

‘ch’ saying /sh/

thought, through

Mr, Mrs

11

‘ir’ saying /ur/

work, house

love, your

12

‘ue’ saying (y) /oo/ and /oo/

many, laughed

people, looked

13

‘ew’ saying (y) /oo/ and /oo/

because, different

asked, called

14

‘y’ saying /ee/

any, eye

water, where.

15

‘aw/au’ saying /or/

friend, also

who, why

16

‘ow/oe’ saying /oa/

once, please

thought, through

17

‘wh’ saying /w/

live, coming

work, house

18

‘c’ saying /s/

‘g’ saying /j/

Monday, Tuesday

many, laughed

19

‘ph’ saying /f/

Wednesday, brother

because, different

20

‘ea’ saying /e/

more, before

any, eye

21

‘ie’ saying /ee/

January, February

friend, also

22

Adding –ed (root word unchanged)

April, July

once, please

23

Adding –s and -es

scissors, castle

live, coming

24

Adding –er and est (adj)

beautiful, treasure

Monday, Tuesday

25

‘tch’ saying /ch/

door, floor

Wednesday, brother

26

Adding –ing and –er (verbs)

bought, favourite

more, before

27

‘are/ear’ saying /air/

Autumn, gone

January, February

28

‘ve’ saying /v/

know, colour

April, July

29

‘ore’ saying /or/

other, does

scissors, castle

30

Adding un-

talk, two

beautiful, treasure

  

 

Grouping Children

 

Children will progress through the phonics scheme at different rates. It is important that children are placed in groups to work at the level that is suitable to their learning needs. Children should always be secure in their prior learning before new learning is put in place.

 

Children should be grouped and taught alongside others who are working at the same level.  This will have been identified by regular assessment.  Grouping may need to take place across the key stage or year group in order to meet the needs of the children. 

 

Fully decodable texts

In order to apply phonetic knowledge it is important that children have the opportunity to read texts that are fully decodable to the level in which they are working.  Text should not be too easy or beyond their phonic level. Decodable books and texts should only contain the sounds and tricky words that they know to boost fluency and confidence.

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    
  
 
  
 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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