The foundations for reading and writing at Bressingham Primary School are taught daily in phonics lessons, but also applied across the curriculum. This enables us to extend phonics teaching and learning beyond ‘dedicated phonics time’ to ensure learning is applied in a relevant context, reinforced and becomes ‘sticky knowledge’.
What is phonics?
Phonics is designed to help teach children to read and spell by teaching the skills of segmenting and blending, the alphabetic code and an understanding of how this is used in reading and spelling. To simplify, it is sounding out a word and blending the sounds back together to read the whole word. When writing, it is hearing the sounds in a word and writing them down to spell it correctly.
Phonics is taught daily in Reception and Year 1 using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. This is a systematic synthetic phonics programme, validated by the Department for Education.
Spoken English uses about 42 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). The alphabet contains only 26 letters, but we use it to make all the graphemes that represent the phonemes of English. In other words, a sound can be represented by a letter (e.g. ‘s’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘th’ or ‘igh’) Once children begin learning letters, they are used as quickly as possible in reading and spelling words. For this reason, the first six letters taught are ‘s’, ‘a’, ‘t’, ‘p’, ‘i’, ‘n’. These can immediately be used to make a number of words such as ‘sat’, ‘pin’, ‘pat’, ‘tap’, ‘nap’. Following this, children continue learning sounds and the letters that represent them in a particular order. Our reading books are organised into the same order, so the children can practise reading the sounds and words they are learning in lessons.
The following links provide further information and resources to support your child at home.
Below are overview documents from the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised phonics programme. They show the order the sounds and tricky words are taught during Reception and Year 1.
As identified in the ‘Overview’, the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme is organised into phases containing letter sets. The graphemes (letters) are accompanied by images that help the children recall these. These images are available on grapheme mats (below) that the children use in school to support reading and writing.
Children learn phrases that help them remember the correct formation. See the guidance on forming the letters below.
Please note: ‘y’ and ‘w’ will be pronounced in the usual way in Phase 2. Later in the programme children will learn that ‘y’ also makes the ‘ee’ sound.