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The Queen's C of E
Primary School

Phonics Zone

At The Queen’s school we teach core phonics skills from Reception onwards. Jolly phonics and Letters and Sounds programmes support teaching.  Phonics is taught daily in EYFS and Year One and as part of focused spelling sessions in Year Two.

The Jolly Phonics approach uses kinaesthetic actions and stories to help the children to remember, recall and apply their learning. 

The letters and sounds programme provides a clear structure as your child progresses through each phase.    

Our aim is to give your child a sound understanding of phonics to enable them to become confident readers and writers as well as to prepare them for The Phonics Screening test completed in Year One.

We have created a step by step guide to our approach to teaching phonics and each phase of learning with strategies for you to use to best support your child at home.

Please refer to your child’s weekly sheet (in Reception) or homework (in Years One and Two) as a guide to where your child is in their phonics phase of learning and keep to pace with their learning. Progress is discussed during parents evening consultations.    

What is phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read and spell quickly and skillfully. It is the first strategy taught to help children learn to read and runs alongside other teaching methods (e.g. Guided Reading). Phonics enables children to develop key decoding skills that will lead them to gain a real love of reading.

During phonics lessons your child will be taught to:

  • recognise the sound that each individual letter represents
  • identify the sounds that different combinations of letters represent (e.g. ‘ch’ or ‘ai’)
  • ¨blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word

Words are made from small units of sounds called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the units of sound that make up each word. 

For more information please follow the link to a Department of Education information for parents.

To find out more about phonics please see the videos explaining:

  • Phonics phases
  • Segmenting and blending  
  • Tricky words
  • Phonics Screening check

The documents below outline:

  • List of example words for each sound taught
  • List of tricky words

Glossary of Terms

In phonics lessons children are taught using the following terms.

Phoneme – The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English (this can depend on your accent!). Phonemes can be put together to make a word.

Grapheme – This is a way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made from 1 letter e.g. p. 2 letters e.g. sh 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g. ough.

Digraph – a grapheme containing 2 letters that makes 1 sound (phoneme) e.g. ch

Trigraph – a grapheme containing 3 letters that makes 1 sound (phoneme) e.g. igh

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 each sound 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 act 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.

CVC word- This is a word with a consonant, vowel, consonant e.g. hot