What is Phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skillfully. They are taught how to:
• recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
• identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as /sh/ or /oo/; and
• blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7 and begins at Lanesend when the children start Reception. Most children who receive effective teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.
At Lanesend, we follow the Department for Education approved Letters and Sounds Programme for Phonics. By the end of Reception, children are typically secure in Phase Three. By the end of Year One, children are typically secure in Phase Five. When finishing Key Stage One, most children at Lanesend are typically secure in Phase Six. This phase moves away from learning sounds and focuses on spelling rules and patterns. We have been working with Springhill English Hub since 2019 to develop our teaching of Phonics across the school.
Useful Documents and Websites
Letters and Sounds Website
Phonics How to produce pure sounds – Oxford Owl
Year 1 Phonics Screening Check Training Video
Phonics Jargon Buster 2020
What is the Phonics Screening Check?
The Phonics Screening Check is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonics knowledge, which helps to confirm whether your child is making expected progress in reading.
What are ‘non/pseudo-words’?
The check will contain a mix of real words and ‘non-words’ or ‘pseudo-words’ (or ‘nonsense/alien words’). Children will be told before the check that there will be non-words that they will not have seen before. The children will be familiar with this as we already use ‘non-words’ when we teach phonics. Non-words are important to include because words such as ‘vap’ or ‘jound’ are new to all children. Children cannot read the non-words by using their memory or vocabulary; they have to use their decoding skills, which assesses their ability to decode.
After the check
We will tell you about your child’s progress in phonics and how they have done in the screening check in the last half-term of Year 1. If your child has found the check difficult, we will tell you what support we have put in place to help them improve and how you can continue to help them at home.
Children who have not met the National standard score in Year 1 will retake the check in Year 2. All children are individuals and develop at different rates.
Previous Phonics Screening Checks
Below are some previous checks that you can download and practise with your child: