Teaching Phonics at Thorveton C of E Primary School

From the Early Years Foundation Stage onwards, children are encouraged to steadily develop their phonics knowledge through daily practice. At the early stages, they are supported to link letters and sounds in the order that they occur in words, and to name and sound out the letters of the alphabet. They do this through adult led teaching which is consolidated by freely chosen activities that are child initiated during periods of free and structured play.

Children benefit enormously from exposure to books at this early age, especially those that fire their imagination and interest. Enjoying and sharing books leads to children seeing them as a source of pleasure and interest and this motivates them to value reading. You can also help enrich their experience by sharing songs and enjoying rhymes together.

At Phase Two, children learn to recognise the early letter sounds and start blending and segmenting letters. They also start to learn to recognise some of the high frequency “tricky” words that they cannot sound out. At home, you can support this phase by playing simple games with your children to help them to learn and remember the words that are being introduced at school.

Soon children move into Phase Three by which time they know around nineteen letters of the alphabet and can read, blend and segment many simple CVC (Consonant, Vowel, Consonant) words. At this phase they learn another 25 graphemes, mostly two letter sounds (e.g. oa).

By Phase Four, children have some experience in reading simple two-syllable words and captions. They will know the letter names and be able to read some of the tricky words for themselves. During this phase they consolidate their knowledge – spend time reading alongside them; let them enjoy saying the words that they recognise and fill in the gaps without fuss if some words challenge them.

Throughout Year One, children broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these where relevant. Children start to gain confidence in recognising words and enjoy spelling some words correctly in their own writing. At home, it is really helpful to provide opportunities for children to write for a purpose – let them make shopping lists, write messages on greetings cards and write notes to family and friends.

By the beginning of Phase Six, as they enter Year Two, children should be able to read many words - some automatically if they are very familiar. Their spellings may seem unconventional at times but should be phonemically accurate; this is fine as spelling usually lags behind reading as it is much harder to master. Most children will become fluent readers during this phase and increasingly accurate spellers.

At this stage, many children will be reading longer and less familiar texts independently and with increasing fluency. The shift from learning to read to reading to learn takes place and children start to enjoy reading for information and for pleasure. As children find that they can decode words quickly and independently, they will read more and more. At home, keep encouraging them to read aloud to you as well as encouraging them to sometimes spend time reading silently to themselves. As children become fluent readers it is really helpful to broaden their exposure to the written word. Join the local library and make regular visits with them and let them choose a book or a comic as a special treat sometimes!

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Exe Valley Federation
Cheriton Fitzpaine Primary School

Cheriton Fitzpaine,
Crediton,
Devon EX17 4AN

01363 866456
Newton St Cyres Primary School

Station Road
Newton St Cyres
Exeter
EX5 5DL

01392 851267
Thorverton C of E Primary School

School Lane,
Exeter,
Devon EX5 5NR

01392 860374
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