The school strictly adheres to Letters and Sounds and follows the recommended planning and lesson structure. To supplement Letters and Sounds, Jolly Phonics is also used, where appropriate, to facilitate phonics learning through a kinaesthetic approach.
What is phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:
• Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
• Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’; and
• Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
Phoneme - The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English (it depends on different accents). 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. tch or 4 letters e.g ough.
GPC - This is short for Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence. Knowing a GPC means being able to match a phoneme to a grapheme 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).
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.
Segmenting - This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes (sound talk/sounding out) 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.
What is the phonics screening check?
The phonics screening check is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonics knowledge. It helps your school confirm whether your child has made the expected progress.
The phonics screening check will take place in June each year and you will be notified of the precise date nearer the time.
How does the check work?
• Your child will sit with a teacher he or she knows and be asked to read 40 words aloud.
• Your child may have read some of the words before, while others will be completely new.
• The check normally takes just a few minutes to complete and there is no time limit. If your child is struggling, the teacher will stop the check. The check is carefully designed not to be stressful for your child.
What are ‘non-words’?
The check will contain a mix of real words and ‘non-words’ (or ‘nonsense words’). Your child will be told before the check that there will be non-words that he or she will not have seen before. Many children will be familiar with this because many schools already use ‘non-words’ when they teach phonics.
Non-words are important to include because words such as ‘vap’ or ‘jound’ are new to all children. Children cannot read the non-words by using their memory or vocabulary; they have to use their decoding skills. This is a fair way to assess their ability to decode.
WE USE LETTERS AND SOUNDS PHONICS PROGRAMME AT HOLY CROSS.