What is Phonics?
Synthetic phonics is a way of teaching children to read. It teaches children how sounds are represented by written letters. Children are taught to read words by blending these sounds together to make words. For example, they will be taught that the letters ‘m-a-t’ blend together to make ‘mat’.
In Key Stage 1, we follow Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS). The ELS programme is a fast paced and interactive approach to teaching reading through systematic synthetic phonics. The ELS programme begins in Reception and continues into Year 1. Throughout Year 2, children continue to develop and apply the skills from this programme by learning spelling patterns and rules.
Reception and Year 1 children will take part in daily phonics sessions which are fast paced and interactive. Lessons contain four key elements: Review, Teach, Practise and Apply.
After Year 1, children who require more phonics input continue this in intervention groups.
Each week, your child will bring home a decodable 'Phonics Book' which we expect to be read a minimum of three times across the week. These books will be closely matched to the sounds that your child is learning in class and will give them an opportunity to practise and apply their new phonic knowledge. Your child should be able to independently decode (sound out) and blend the words in these books, however it is vital that they are reading to and adult to ensure that any mistakes and misconceptions are addressed.
If your child has read their book three times and you are looking to extend them, you could try asking them questions about what they have read, or you could ask them to find some of the phonemes they are studying in the story. Alternatively you could visit your local library or read books from home, looking for the sounds from their phonics book of the week.
Alongside their phonics book, your child will also be bringing home a library book for you to read with them. These books are to encourage and develop a love of reading and may be more challenging than your child's ability. We encourage you to read and share these books with your child to help promote an enjoyment of reading. You could take turns to read pages, listen to your child read, or read the whole story to them.
Helping Your Child with Phonics