Phonics and Early Reading statement
At Bassett Green Primary School, we prioritise the teaching of Phonics and Early Reading. It is vitally important that children have a secure understanding of the letter sounds and spelling system of English. At Bassett Green we aim to provide children with the skills necessary to be able to read confidently and access information throughout the curriculum to ensure that they reach their potential.
We develop phonic skills through a systematic approach, in daily lessons, which are differentiated according to children’s phonic awareness and development. We follow ‘Letters and Sounds’ and use actions and rhymes to support children’s memory. ‘Letters and Sounds’ teaches sounds in an order which allows them to quickly begin to put sounds together to decode words. Our sessions are pacey and last 20 minutes. They follow the structure revisit, teach, practise and apply.
Alongside teaching skills such as blending (putting sounds together to read words) and segmenting (breaking words down to spell them), the children are taught ‘tricky words’. These are words that cannot be sounded out, such as ‘was’ or ‘me’.
In Year R, children begin by learning Phase 1, which focuses on:
- General sound discrimination – environmental sounds
- General sound discrimination - instrumental sounds
- General sound discrimination – body percussion
- Rhythm and rhyme
- Voice sounds
- Oral blending and segmenting
It is important that children are able to listen for and identify initial, middle and final sounds, as this will help them to successfully blend sounds to read words.
We then move on to teaching first letter sounds in manageable groups, based on the Letters and Sounds programme. Children are taught to read and write words using these sounds. By the end of Year R, we aim for all children to be secure with Phase 3 and the children to be learning Phase 4.
In Phase 4, no new graphemes are introduced. The main aim of this phase is to consolidate the children’s knowledge and to help them read and spell words that have adjacent consonants. We introduce children to the following blends, which support them in reading and writing words.
In Year 1, children continue with daily phonics lessons, following the Letters and Sounds programme. Once they are secure with Phase 3 and 4 they move onto Phase 5.
Alternative Spellings for Phonemes
c(ion, ious, ial)
In Year 2, children continue to follow the Letters and Sounds programme. The main focus is on supporting children’s fluency and accuracy in spelling through the teaching of Phase 6. Phase 6 introduces new spelling rules and conventions, especially those concerning the addition of prefixes and suffixes to change the meaning or purpose of a word.
Phase 6 covers:
- Irregular verbs
- Past/present tense
Phase 6 suffixes:
Phase 6 prefixes:
Phase 6 aims to develop children’s spelling by introducing the following strategies:
Words your child might use when talking about phonics:
Phonemes are the smallest unit of speech sounds, which make up a word.
If you change a phoneme in a word, you would change its meaning. For example, there are three phonemes in the word sit /s/-/i/-/t/. If you change the phoneme /s/ for /f/, you have a new word, fit. If you change the phoneme /t/ in fit for a /sh/, you have a new word, fish - /f/-/i/-/sh/.
Graphemes are the written representation of sounds – the letters.
A grapheme containing 2 letters that makes just one sound, eg /sh/ in shop or /ch/ in chip.
A grapheme containing 3 letters that makes just one sound, eg /air/ in pair or /igh/ in night.
A grapheme containing 2 letters but are separated by another sound, eg ‘ae’ in make is separated by the sound /k/ so it is split /a-e/.
The process of putting individual sounds together to read a word, eg sh–o-p, shop.
The process of breaking a word into individual sounds to spell a word.
Teachers might use these under words to indicate whether the sound is a single letter sound (dot) or a digraph/trigraph (line) to help children to blend the sounds correctly in the word, eg shop.