What is phonics?
A method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning to associate letters or letter groups with the sounds they represent. There are 44 main sounds in the English Language. Each sound is represented by a grapheme (the written representation of a sound).
At St James we follow Essential Letters and Sounds Programme (ELS).
The aim of ELS is ‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.
Children begin learning Phonics at the very beginning of Reception and it is explicitly taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.
Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff, with a partner during paired reading and as a class.
The key principles of ELS are based upon:
- The delivery of whole- class, high-quality first teaching with well-structured daily lesson plans.
- The use of consistent terminology by teachers, children and parents.
- The use of consistent resources that support effective teaching.
- Repetition and reinforcement of learning.
- Regular and manageable assessment to ensure that all children ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’.
During Phonics lessons we also teach children to read and write ‘tricky words’ also known as ‘sight words.’ These are words that you cannot sound out, children are expected to practice and remember how to read and write these words.
Supporting Reading at Home:
Children will only read books that are entirely decodable, this means that they should be able to read these books as they already know the code contained within the book.
• We only use pure sounds when decoding words (no ‘uh’ after the sound)
• We want children to practise reading their book 4 times across the week working on these skills:
Decode – sounding out and blending to read the word.
Fluency – reading words with less obvious decoding.
Expression – using intonation and expression to bring the text to life!
We must use pure sounds when we are pronouncing the sounds and supporting children in reading words. If we mispronounce these sounds, we will make reading harder for our children. Please watch the videos below for how to accurately pronounce these sounds.
Phase 2 Sound Pronunciation
Phase 3 Sound Pronunciation
Phase 5 Sound Pronunciation
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