What does a typical phonics session look like?
Phonics is a discreet 20 minute session built into your child's day and taught as a whole class.
A session typically has four parts:
- Review/ Revisit - in which the children recall phonemes and graphemes they've already learnt.
- Teach - new knowledge is introduced here maybe a new grapheme/phoneme correspondence or skills such as segmenting and blending.
- Practise- a chance to practise what has just been learnt.
- Apply - link the skill or GPC taught to reading or writing - usually in sentences, play a game like silly sentences for example
Of course the application doesn't stop at the end of a phonics session, the newly learnt letters and sounds are applied your child's reading and writing throughout each day.
Helping at home
Don't panic! Phonics is new to many parents and you may find it quite different to how you yourself learnt to read and write. At Stanton Community Primary we are here to help, your child's class teacher is your first source of information, as is your child! As Phonics Leader I am always happy to help build your confidence in this area, just let me know what you need help with!
The link below pronounces each phoneme you child will learn correctly. Note the 'pure sound' no -uh is added to the sound. We say /s/ not /suh/, /t/ not /tuh/ adding the -uh makes it tricky for children to blend sounds smoothly and accurately when reading.
Reading regularly with your child is so beneficial, it is a great opportunity for them to apply what they have learnt in phonics.
Let your child write! Encourage them to sound out words themselves and write down the graphemes they know match that sound. The words will most probably not be spelled correctly but they will be readble by us and themselves. One of my favourite examples of this was a shopping list written in play it consisted of apl, orinj, milc, eg, tee, shugar and choklit. Maybe your child only writes the initial sound or a few sounds in each word, celebrate this, it is a great starting point! Spelling correctly comes later in their schooling, but quite often they start noticing how words are written in their reading books.
In the Foundation stage children do learn the alphabet, but ultimately the focus of phonics is on the sounds not the letter names.
Children love long words and in phonics we often use words that parents are unfamiliar with! Some of the ones I get asked about frequently are explained below:
phoneme - A single sound that can be made by one or more letters e.g. s, k, z, oo, ph, igh.
grapheme - Written letters or a group of letters which represent one single sound (phoneme) e.g. a, l, sh, air, ck.
digraph- two letters that when they are together produce one sound such as ch, ai, ng. These can be further described as consonant digraphs - ch, sh, th, vowel digraphs - oi, ee, ur and split digraphs- two letters, which work as a pair to make one sound, but are separated within the word e.g. a-e, e-e, i-e,o-e, u-e. For example cake or pine.
trigraph- three letters that make one sound when they are together e.g. igh, ear, air.
blend/ing - saying the individual sounds that make up a word and then merging or blending the sounds together to say the word – used when reading.
Segmenting- the opposite of blending! Splitting a word up into individual sounds. This is a skill used in writing.
CVC - consonant-vowel-consonant word such as cat, dog, ship (sh is one sound), you may also see VC. CVCC, and CCVC.
GPC- grapheme phoneme correspondence- the matching of a grapheme to its phoneme. Often referred to as the letter and its sound in lay terms.
High frequency words and tricky words
In the English language some words are used lots like the, said, he, she, went. Some of these can be broken segmented, such as went, but others for example 'said' and 'he' cannot. It is the ones that cannot be phonetically decoded we call tricky words and the children just have to get to know these for reading and for writing. Children in year 1 and 2 received a list of the first 100 and the second 200 in your Parent information pack in September. These words are also taught in the phonics sessions, and a few will be in each reading book sent home.