Phonics

What is Phonics? 
 
Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.
 
 
National Literacy Trust 2021
How is Phonics taught at Berry Hill Primary School? 
 
We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021. We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.
Phonics Terminology
 
Phoneme-  is the smallest unit of sound. The word cat for example has three phonemes c-a-t, and the word chair has two phonemes ch-air. 
 
Grapheme- is the written form of a phoneme. 
 
Digraph- is two letters that together make one sound. There are consonant digraphs like 'sh' and 'th' and there are vowel digraphs like 'ai' and 'oi'. 
 
Trigraph- is three letters that together make one sound such as 'igh' and 'ear'. 
 
Split Digraphs- is when a digraph has been split and a consonant has been put in the middle of the  two letters. There are five of these to learn. They are 'a_e', 'e_e', 'i_e', 'o_e' and 'u_e' 
 
Common Exception Words - these are words which do not follow the phonics rules and therefore are not decodable. 
 
 
In Year 1 through Phase 5 children learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check. In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps. For further details please see the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression below. 
To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.
Wednesday 9th March 2021
 
This evening we held a Phonics Parent Workshop for parents of children in Reception and Year One.  If you were unable to attend this event or would like a copy of the slides please find them below. 
Phonics Screening Check 
 
The Phonics Screening Check was introduced in 2011. it is a national check of children's phonics knowledge which all  Year One children are required to complete.  The check normally takes place during the latter part of the Summer term. 
 
A Parent Information Workshop is usually held during the Spring Term to provide parents  with more information and practical activities to support their child.  
 
 
Phonics in action........
Useful Links
 
Phonics Play- This is a website which we often use in class. Although some of the games require a subscription, lots of great games can be accessed without.  https://www.phonicsplay.co.uk
 
BBC Bitesize- This website has lots of great videos and animations linked to the sounds taught within Phases Two and Three. https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zcqqtfr
 
ICT Games- Another website that has lots of fun free phonics games and also one which we use in class. https://www.ictgames.com/mobilePage/literacy.html 
 
Letters and Sounds- This website has lots of information, printable resources and games. https://letters-and-sounds.com