Phonics is a way of teaching children to read and write. It helps children to hear, understand and use the different sounds that distinguish one word from another.
Understanding phonics also helps writing, as children learn which letters to use, and is seen as important for developing early skills in reading and writing, and introducing a lifelong love of books.
At Great Missenden C of E School we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Through phonics, children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend sounds to read words. The teaching of phonics is of high priority.
At Great Missenden C of E School we use the Department of Education approved document ‘Letters and Sounds’ and Jolly Phonics actions for our teaching of phonics. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be progressive from our Preschool up to Year 2.
Children in our Preschool work on Phase One phonics, which concentrates on developing their speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. As children move into Reception they continue to build on their listening skills and are introduced to Phase 2 which marks the start of systematic phonics work. They have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they revise previous learning, are taught new graphemes/phonemes, practise together and apply what they have learnt.
Through Letters and Sounds, the children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more. Children work through the different phases and as they grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Children can then focus on developing fluency and comprehension throughout the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.
Taking this approach allows us to engage the children, regardless of ability, on a journey where learning phonics has a real purpose. By using phonics we give children the skills and knowledge to develop their reading and writing over time.