- At St Lawrence our core phonics programme is Letters and Sounds (DfE, 2006).
- Letters and Sounds is a systematic (clear progression) synthetic (blend sounds to read words) phonics (SSP) programme with phases 1 – 5.
- Phase 1 (tuning into sounds and the sounds of English language) is taught in Nursery and Reception and continues through KS1.
- Phases 2 – 4 are taught to all children in Reception.
- Phase 5 is taught in Year 1.
- Phase 5 is revised and consolidated in Year 2 alongside the spelling requirements of the National Curriculum (NC).
- Pure sounds (correct pronunciation of sounds) must be used to teach phonics and all adults in school will use pure sounds. Please watch the following video, which shows how each sound is accurately pronounced. These pronunciations are used by us in school to teach and should be used by you at home whenever you are practising sounds and reading with your child. (embed this link) https://youtu.be/BqhXUW_v-1s
What is Letters and Sounds?
At St Lawrence Primary School we teach phonics through the Letters and Sounds programme. In Nursery and Reception children are initially taught to listen carefully to different kinds of sounds, moving on to tuning in to the sounds of English language. This forms the foundation for learning phonics for reading, writing and spelling.
From the beginning of Reception children learn how the 44 sounds in English language can be represented by letters of the alphabet in a clear progression, from simple to more complex. Beginning with simple, commonly occurring sounds represented by one letter, children learn how to read and write simple CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words, such as ‘run’ and ‘cat’. Alongside learning how letters represent sounds, children learn the skills of blending sounds from left to right to read words and saying words slowly to segment the word and write down the sounds they can hear to spell.
By the end of Reception children have learnt one representation for all of the 44 sounds in English and this includes many sounds that are represented by two or three letters e.g. ‘ai’ as in ‘rain’, ‘ch’ as in ‘chip’ and ‘igh’ as in ‘sigh’. They have learnt the concept that a sound may be represented by more than one letter. They have also learnt the key skills of blending and segmenting CCVC and CVCC words, such as ‘stop’ and ‘went’.
In Year 1 children learn the many alternative ways that sounds can be represented in English: there are more than 140 ways that the 26 letters of the English alphabet can be combined to represent sounds. For example, ‘ee’ as in ‘see’, ‘ea’ as in ‘read’, ‘e’ as in ‘he’ and ‘ie’ as in ‘chief’. They have also learnt that many combinations of letters can represent more than one sound, for example, how ‘ea’ makes a different sound in ‘mean’ and ‘deaf’.
Daily phonics lessons ensure that children practise their skills intensively, so that they can achieve the automaticity required for fluent reading and spelling. At the end of Year 1 children take the phonics screening check, where they read both words and non-words (‘alien’ words), which establishes how well they have learnt the alphabetic principle.
Phonics lessons are lively and interactive and after children have learnt the sounds they can apply their knowledge of letters and sounds to read decodable books. Phonics lessons at St Lawrence are planned and delivered using a scheme called ‘Story Time Phonics.’ This scheme introduces each sound through a high quality text. We have found that this approach to be successful in instilling a love of story in the children during their phonic lessons. Children use this programme to work through the Phases of Letters and Sounds as appropriate in Reception and Years 1 and 2. Children in Year 1 take part in the Phonics Screening.