Letters and Sounds Letters and Sounds

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					                                   Letters and Sounds
                         Information for Parents - October 2011

Phonics at a glance =     Skills of segmentation                        Knowledge of the
                               and blending                             alphabetic code.
Technical vocabulary:
Segmenting – breaking up words into their individual sounds so that we can spell a word
Blending - putting individual sounds together so that we can read a word
A phoneme - the smallest unit of sound in a word
              A grapheme - the letter or letters that represent the phoneme.

                                The grapheme could be 1 letter, 2 letters or more! Sometimes
                                we put sound buttons under the graphemes to make it clearer
                                at           rain           high

Saying the phonemes using the shortest possible sound helps children to understand phonics
more quickly – if you want to hear the correct pronunciation speak to your child’s teacher.
You need to be careful not to add an u sound to the end of the other letter sounds.

Phonics consists of :
 Identifying sounds in spoken words
 Recognising the common spellings of each phoneme.
 Blending phonemes into words for reading.
 Segmenting words into phonemes for spelling.

Phonics and reading skills are now taught in 6 distinct phases. These phases are set out in the
‘Letters and Sounds’ document.
Phase 1 (Nursery/Pre-school):
 Showing an awareness of rhyme and alliteration (words that start with the same sounds)
 Distinguishing between sounds in the environment and phonemes
 Exploring and experimenting with sounds and words
 Beginning to orally blend and segment phonemes
Phase 2 (Reception 6 weeks)
Learning graphemes                               Using these common consonants and vowels.
 Set 1       -      s, a, t, p,                 Blending them to read reading and segmenting
 Set 2       -      l, n, m, d,                   them to spell simple 3 phoneme words
 Set 3       -      g, o, c, k,                 Understanding that words are constructed
 Set 4       -      ck, e, u, r,                  from phonemes and that phonemes are
 Set 5       -      h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss,       represented by graphemes.
Phase 3 (Reception 12 weeks)
Learning one grapheme for each of the 43 phonemes we have in English
 Set 6 -     j, v, w, x
 Set 7 -     y, z, zz, qu                   Using these graphemes.
 Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng          Blending them to read and segmenting them to
 Long vowel graphemes: ear, air, ure,          spelling simple 3 phoneme (cvc) words
er, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo   Recognising and reading ‘tricky words’
                                                    (eg what, my, the, are)

Phase 4 ( Reception/Year 1 up to 6wks )
This is a consolidation unit. There are no new graphemes to learn. Reading and spelling of
   tricky words continues.
Segmenting adjacent consonants in words and applying this in spelling.
Blending adjacent consonants in words and applying this skill when reading unfamiliar texts.

                                                   Reading phonetically decodable two-syllable and
Phase 5 (throughout Year 1)
                                                    three-syllable words (eg hop-scotch, computer).
 Graphemes: ay, ou, ie, ea, oy,
                                                   Using alternative ways of pronouncing and
ir, ue, aw, wh, ph, ew, oe, au,
                                                    spelling the graphemes corresponding to the
a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e
                                                    long vowel phonemes.
 Alternative graphemes for: i, o, c,
                                                   Spelling complex words using phonetically
g, u, ow, ie, ea, er, a, y, ch, ou
                                                    plausible attempts.

Phase 6 (Year 2 throughout)
 Recognising phonic irregularities and becoming more secure with less common grapheme –
   phoneme correspondences.
 Applying phonic skills and knowledge to recognise and spell an increasing number of
   complex words.

How it works:
 Children have a daily phonics session of around 25 mins.
 The children always work within the phase that is appropriate to their level of
 They are assessed regularly and groupings are changed accordingly.
 Staff rotate around the groups.

Useful web sites
   • click on KS1 activities
   • literacy based games
   • a range
       of games from phase 2- 6
   • Super advice, information and games
       to play with your child.

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