Phonics teaching is a vital part of our curriculum. At Whingate Primary School, we aim to teach children reading skills and provide a good foundation in spelling from the earliest opportunity. We understand that some children will need Phonics teaching input not just in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. We have worked hard to implement and train all staff in delivering Phonics and have two Key Stage 2 groups that access Phonics daily also.
Phonics teaching involves introducing the children to the phonemes (letter sounds) and learning the skills of blending and segmenting words to read and write. At Whingate, we follow the scheme ‘Letters and Sounds’.
Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects. Each aspect contains three strands: Tuning in to sounds (auditory discrimination), Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing) and Talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension).
In Phase 2, letters and their sounds are introduced one at a time. A set of letters is taught each week, in the following sequence:
Set 1: s, a, t, p
Set 2: i, n, m, d
Set 3: g, o, c, k
Set 4: ck, e, u, r
Set 5: h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss
As soon as each set of phonemes are introduced, children will be encouraged to use their knowledge of the letter sounds to blend and sound out words to read. They will also start learning to segment words to write them.
In Phase 3, twenty-five new phonemes are introduced including the trickier digraphs (two letters that make one sound) and trigraphs (three letters that make one sound).
Set 6: j, v, w, x
Set 7: y, z, zz, qu
Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng
Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er
During Phase 2/3, the following tricky words will be introduced. These words cannot be segmented/decoded but need to be sight read to help the children progress in their reading and become more fluent.
In Phase 4, the main aim is to consolidate the children's knowledge and to help them learn to read and spell words which have adjacent consonants, such as trap, string and milk.
In Phase Five, children will learn alternative pronunciations for graphemes they have learnt in Phase 3. For example the 'ai' and 'ay' graphemes.
At Phase 6, children should be able to spell words phonemically although not always correctly. In Phase Six the main aim is for children to become more fluent readers and more accurate spellers.