More information About Phonics

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More information About Phonics

Hello, my name is Miss McBride. I am a class teacher at Holy Rosary, as well as the Reading lead at school. Here is some more information about Phonics and how you can help your child at home. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via the school office and I am happy to call you back. 

What is Phonics?

Words are made up from small units of sound called ‘phonemes’. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words.

In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:

Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences. This simply means that they are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p

Children are taught to blend initial sounds. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are then able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is e.g. m-a-t = mat.

Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending e.g. when they see the word sat – they segment it and say s-a-t – then blend it together = sat. Children are able to say a word and then break it down into the phonemes that it is made up of. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.

  • GPC
  • Blending
  • Segmenting

What Phonics scheme do we use?

As a school we base our phonics teaching on the Read Wrtie Inc. phonics lessons with some modification. Read Write Inc. provides a structured and systematic approach to teaching phonics. It is used by more than a quarter of the UK’s primary schools and is designed to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers. Children in Foundation Stage and KS1 take part in a 30 minutes Phonics lesson everyday.

  • First the children are taught one way of representing the 44 main sounds and then go on to learn the alternative spelling.
  • Read Write Inc. introduces the simple Speed Sounds (one sound, one grapheme) with Speed Sounds Set 1 and Set 2. They then learn more ways of writing the same sounds with the complex Speed Sounds Set 3 (e.g. they will be taught the sound ‘ay’ as in ‘play’ and they will then look at the sound ‘a-e’ as in ‘cake’ which is the same sound, different spelling)
  • Once children know the first set of Speed Sounds, they are ready to read the first Storybooks.
Here are all the speed sounds from set 1-3

We do not use the letter names with your children at this stage – ONLY the pure sounds. Click on the link below to explain what we mean by ‘pure sounds’.

  • Read Write Inc. Phonics/Speed Sounds is systematic and structured.
  • The programme meets the demands of the new national curriculum – This provides your children with the best chance of success in the national tests including the Phonics Screening Check administered in Year 1.
  • Assessment is rigorous and effective – Small group interventions ensure that no child is left behind.
  • Your children are appropriately supported – the resources match your child’s learning in class and they can share them with you at home.
  • Your child’s home reading book will be matched to their Phonics ability and regulary reviewed. 
  • Children in FS and KS1 who make the slowest progress in Phonics or who are working ‘well below’ the expectation recieve one-to-one tutoring with a Teaching assistant. 
  • Children in Year 3 who need additional support with their Phonics, also recieve one-to-one tutoring.

As well as learning set 1-3 sounds, the chiden also learn ‘red words’ (words that cannot be sounded out) These can be found below.

Frequently asked questions …

How will I know how well my child is doing?

We will always let you know how well your child is doing, however you can also ask about this at parents evening.

We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We use the information to decide what phonics group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at a similar phonics level as him or her. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. Your child will have small group support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up.

In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done, and especially if we have any worries at all.


How long will it take to learn to read well?

By the end of Year 1, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In year 2, we work on building up their fluency and speed when reading, as this supports their comprehension skills. In Year 3 we concentrate even more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. This happens when the teacher reads to the children and also when the children read their own story book.

Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?

It matters A LOT if your child misses school. The way we teach children to read is very well organised and fast paced. We teach a new phonics sound each day, therefore if your child misses one or two days, they will then have gaps in their learning. 


What if he or she finds it difficult to learn to read?

We want children to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them. We will find out very quickly if your child is finding reading difficult. First, we move children to a different group, so that we can make sure that they have learnt what they need to know. If they still struggle, we give them extra support.

If we have any serious worries about your child’s reading, we will talk to you about this.

Some children take a bit longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word, e.g. c-a-t to make the word ‘cat’. At our Phonics meetings, we will explain how you can help your child to do this.

What if my child turns out to be dyslexic?

The way we teach reading is especially helpful for children who might be dyslexic. This is because we use a very well-organised programme that has a strong focus on phonics. This is very important for children who find learning to read difficult. If you are worried about your child, please come and talk to us.

My child has difficulty pronouncing some sounds. Will this stop him learning to read through phonics?

This isn’t a problem for learning to read as long as we know what sound the child is trying to say. This is not something to worry about. Many children have a few sounds that they can hear clearly but find it difficult to say, particularly the l-sound, r-sound, w-sound, th-sound, s-sound, sh-sound and j-sound. Often they say a t-sound for the c-sound; “tttssh” for the s-sound; “w” for the r-sound and “r” for the l-sound. You can help your child by encouraging him or her to look at your mouth when you say the sound. Whatever you do, do not make your child feel a failure. They can easily learn to read, even if they find one or two sounds difficult to say.Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. We are here to help.


Phonics screening check

During the month of June, all of our YEAR 1 children will be taking part in the Phonics Screening Check.

If a child does not meet the expected standard in Year 1, they will recieve additional support with their Phonics decoding and they will re-sit the check in Year 2 (June).

If they still do not meet the expected standard in Year 2, they will continue to recieve additional support in Year 3, until they are secure with their Phonic knowledge.