Phonics and Reading
At Leverton Primary School we teach phonics using ‘Letters and Sounds’ and we use The Oxford Reading Tree Reading Scheme.
The Oxford Owl website has lots of useful information and links for parents to help with their child’s reading at home, including a free eBook Library. You can access the website from the link below:
What is phonics?
Phonics is the system of ‘blending’ sounds together to read, and ‘segmenting’ sounds to spell. They are both complimentary and interlinking skills that are taught together. You may hear your children use some vocabulary that you are not familiar with that they have learnt in their phonics lessons.
Is the smallest unit of sound that we use in the English language. A phoneme can be made up of one letter as in the alphabet sounds – s, a, t, p, i, n etc, or two letters (a digraph) as in sh, ch, th, ay, ar, or three letters (trigraphs) as in air, ear, ure. Phonemes can not be broken down into separate sounds.
Is the way we spell a phoneme. A phoneme may have only one grapheme,for example ‘b’. Or may have several different spellings –for example or can be spelt ‘or’ in torn, ‘aw’ in claw, ‘au’ in naughty or ‘ore’ in more. The children will initially be introduced to one common grapheme for each phoneme, but as they progress through the school they will taught the less common spelling alternatives and encouraged to try and choose the correct grapheme for a particular word they are trying to spell.
Are made up of two or three phonemes blended together quite quickly as we learn to read. Examples are sc, sm, bl, pr, str
Short Vowel Sounds
Are the vowels saying their sound as ‘a’ in c a t.
Long Vowel Sounds
Are the vowels saying their name as ‘ay’ in day, ‘oa’ in boat or ‘igh’ in night.
How do we teach Phonics at Leverton Primary School?
Phonics lessons are taught daily in every class from nursery to year 2 for approximately 20 minutes.
In the main we follow the Letters and Sounds programme but we combine it with some other techniques that our experienced staff have adopted over the years. Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
There are six overlapping phases. Below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for Practitioners and Teachers. For more detailed information, visit the Letters and Sounds website.
Phonic Knowledge and Skills
Phase One (Nursery/Reception)
Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks
Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks
The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks
No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)
Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)
Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.
Recommended: the Synthetic Phonics Toolkit
Reading booklet for online and app
PDF Download ‘Reading booklet for online and app’
Recommended Reading Lists