Phonics is carefully planned, taught and assessed at New Park Primary School using the Letters and Sounds scheme. Every child’s progress is tracked and monitored to ensure learning is focused and correctly matched to their needs. Through short, daily sessions our children learn effective strategies to help them read and spell words.
The following information is designed to provide you with a clearer understanding of phonics, helping you to support your child through using the same terminology and methods used at school.
Phoneme - The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English Phonemes can be put together to make words.
Grapheme - A way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. igh or 4 letters e.g ough.
GPC - This is short for Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence. Knowing a GPC means being able to match a sound to the correct letters and vice versa.
Digraph - A grapheme containing two letters that makes just one sound (phoneme). Trigraph - A grapheme containing three letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).
Oral Blending - This involves hearing phonemes and being able to merge them together to make a word. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to blend written words.
Blending- This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word. This is the basis of reading.
Oral Segmenting - This is the process of hearing a whole word and then splitting it up into the phonemes that make it. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to segment words to spell them.
Segmenting - This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order. This is the basis of spelling.
Phase 1 - Subject Knowledge
Phase 1 is absolutely vital. It is the one phase that shouldn't come to an end. These skills should continue to be developed throughout KS1 and KS2. Phase 1 develops children’s abilities to listen to, make, explore and talk about sounds.
Phase 2 - Subject Knowledge
GPCs need to be introduced in systematic way.
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 s ss
It is very important that you pronounce these phonemes clearly and correctly using a pure sound. If you don't, children will find it very difficult to blend them together.
Phase 3 - Subject Knowledge
Phase 3 continues in the same way as Phase 2 and introduces more GPCs. By the end of Phase 3 the children will know one way of writing down each of the 44 phonemes.
Set 6 - j v w x
Set 7 - y z zz qu
Consonant digraphs - ch sh th ng
Vowel digraphs (and trigraphs) ai ee igh oa oo ar or ur ow oi ear air ure er
The children continue to make CVC words. A CVC word is a word with a consonant phoneme, a vowel phoneme and then a consonant phoneme - it is not referring to letters. Therefore hot, bed, boat and ship are all CVC words but cow and toy are not.
Phase 4 - Subject Knowledge
The main challenge in this phase is to help children to blend and segment words with adjacent consonants e.g. truck, help. In these words both consonants can be heard when you say the word aloud, making them different from a digraph where there are two letters that make just one sound.
Year 1 and Year 2 Phonics
After phase four is complete, we follow a medium term planning document created by the Liverpool English Team from the local authority. This document replaces phases 5 and 6 of the Letters and Sounds scheme. As well as new learning, there is a key focus of consolidation to ensure that children have the opportunities to practise and embed their phonic knowledge, so that they can apply these skills in their independent reading and writing.